British Columbia: The birthplace of the Nanaimo Bar (and a few other things)

With plenty of family who live in British Columbia, we know that people from this beautiful province like to argue “West coast, best coast!” to anyone who will listen, and it’s easy to see why!

A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

You can hardly go anywhere in the province without having at least a distant backdrop of Mountains, there’s skiing, hiking, camping, and general outdoor fun to be had everywhere, cities like Vancouver and Victoria have a vibe all to their own, even parts of BC are covered in temperate rain forest (we’re looking at you, Tofino!). All that, and we haven’t even mentioned the islands yet.

What’s Good, B.C.?

The diverse landscapes and climates of British Columbia allows for a wide variety of incredible cuisine.


 Being situated right along the Pacific Ocean, there is seafood galore. We’re talking pacific salmon, king crab, oysters, shrimp… you name it, they’ve got it!

Victoria Creams

If you want a taste of B.C. history, look no further than Victoria Creams.  The story of these luscious chocolates began in the back of Charles Rogers’ grocery store in Victoria in 1885.  Apparently Charles had a hidden talent, because very quickly he realized that the chocolates were more popular than anything else he sold in the store, so he converted to a chocolate shop instead (who needs groceries when you have chocolate anyways?)  The company’s flagship store is now a heritage building so even if you’re not into chocolate (we know there are a few of you crazies running around out there) but you’re a history buff, it is worth it to stop by the shop, which is now in it’s 132nd year of business.  Feel free to pick up a box or two of chocolates for us while you’re there.

Nanaimo Bars

canada tourism, British Columbia Tourism, Nanaimo Bar, British Columbia Food, Canada 150

For all you poor souls who have not had the privilege of consuming one of these life-giving treats, we’ll break it down for you.  Layer 1: coconut-graham-chocolate base.  A foundation upon which only true dessert greatness can be built.  Layer 2: Yellow custard a.k.a. velvet sunshine from the gods.  A word to the wise- there are many recipes floating around out there that make the filling from buttercream icing that has been dyed yellow.  While we believe this malpractice should be outlawed, apparently lawmakers in this country have “more important” things to do with their time, so it is up to you to use your better judgement and sniff out the posers.  Layer 3: Chocolate ganache – arguably the most luxurious dessert topping ever invented.  These three layers come together to create a dessert so magical that you may never want to leave Nanaimo (the town in which the bar was invented) once you’ve had one.  And while the first known recipe of the bars was published in 1953, there is a certain amount of folklore surrounding the dessert, so no one truly knows it’s origins.

Salt Spring Island Lamb

 This small island off the coast of mainland B.C. is covered in sheep- so much so that it has become somewhat of a joke.  While there are many different theories as to why these sheep taste so much better than sheep from other parts of the world, no one actually knows what the real reason is.  Apparently the Queen herself is a huge fan though, need we say more?

Spot Prawns

With a short 6 to 8 week-long season every spring, these sweet large shrimp are one of those limited-time only, high-demand foods. Get ‘em while they’re fresh!

Wild Blueberries

These berries are much tinier than the varieties you typically see on the grocery store shelves but what they lack in size they more than make up for in flavour.  The wild blueberries from this province are well-known all across Canada for their flavour and juiciness.  .

Okanagan Valley Wines

Last but not least- what would a delicious meal be without a good glass of wine to wash it all down?  The Okanagan is like the BC version of California’s Sonoma Valley. Leave some extra room in your suitcase for their crisp whites and medium-bodied, flavourful reds (or don’t, you’ll probably drink them before you leave anyways!).

Party like a West-Coaster

This is usually the part of the post where we give you the run-down on food festivals in the day’s feature province, but honestly guys there are so many that try as we might, we could not possibly narrow it down for you.  So instead, the following link leads you to a fantastic site that allows you to search festivals by city or region, so you can plan your trip accordingly.  Go ahead and let your taste buds run wild, friends!

With it’s temperate climate, panoramic mountain views and abundance of amazing food, if there’s only one province in Canada that you’re going to visit, you may want to consider British Columbia as your destination of choice.  Even two Ontario girls can’t argue with that!


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