Food is front and centre when it comes to any good birthday party, so with the country celebrating its sesquicentennial, there’s no better excuse to seek out some topnotch True North fare.
Several spots around town are creating quintessentially Canadian specials in honour of the big day. (Some will be offering Canadiana-inspired cuisine on Canada Day or over the July 1 weekend only; others will keep the menus going all summer.) Here are a few highlights geared to hungry Canucks.
The best burgers call for two hands and many napkins. Requiring an oral profile not seen since Jaws, the East Coast/West Coast burger at YEW Seafood and Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver by executive chef Weimar Gomez consists of a fillet of wild B.C. salmon (the species will change throughout the month of July) and a maple-syrup-glazed lobster tail. Those are layered with Canadian back bacon along with avocado, lettuce, and tomato in a freshly baked brioche bun. The gorgeous beast comes with ketchup chips, natch—these ones waffle-style, made in-house, and served in a metal basket.
The poutine burger at the Peak of Vancouver at Grouse Mountain includes a seven-ounce Angus-beef patty stacked with a crispy potato pancake and cheddar cheese curds from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters. That’s all covered in a beef demi-glace and served with lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. It should hit the spot in between axe-throwing and an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest human maple leaf.
Poutine shows up again in the 1867 burger at the Dubh Linn Gate, this ultra-Canadian mouthful complete with maple-glazed beef, cheese curds, onion gravy, and bacon.
Tea for 150
A journey across Canada by rail inspires the Canada 150 Afternoon Tea at Notch8 Restaurant and Bar at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. It begins with maple panna cotta, wild-berry scones, and Oka scones served with saskatoon-berry compote and birch-syrup whipped cream. Then there’s a stampede “corn dog” (made with wagyu beef and blue-corn grits), maple foie-gras tourtière, lobster roll, Montreal smoked-meat sandwich, and more, as well as sweets such as a Nanaimo bar, a butter tart, a beaver tail, and chocolate-dipped mini doughnuts with bacon, cinnamon sugar, and salted-caramel-and-vanilla cream. (There’s a mini version of the tea for pintsize patriots, too.)
TWG Tea Salon and Boutique will be pouring a specially crafted red-tea blend called Jubilee with notes of maple syrup and cranberry. The full Jubilee tea set features miso-maple sablefish and a wagyu slider with maple beef and bacon. You’ll also find tourtière, salmon, a maple éclair, and more.
O sweet Canada
Maple syrup is as Canadian as RCMP officers on horseback and the beloved, iconic beaver. Pastry chef Thierry Busset of Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe is whipping up indulgent hazelnut macarons layered with maple buttercream; if you need a bigger bite, he has crafted a cake consisting of hazelnut dacquoise, maple ganache with whole toasted hazelnuts, maple cream, and dark-chocolate mousse.
If celebrating over seafood is your speed, indulge in a fish feast at Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio. The Canada 150 features the Ancora Glacier—an elegant seafood tower stacked with ceviche, seafood tartare, a selection of sashimi, freshly shucked oysters, Peruvian mussel escabeche (the shellfish served with a smoky vinegar-based Latin American sauce made with peppers and onion), and crab causa (potato terrine topped with the shellfish). Designed for two to share, the dish is served with a chilled bottle of Dom Pérignon.
Salmon jerky is a satisfying snack, but it’s a whole other experience when it acts as a garnish in a special cocktail: the Canada 150 Coastal Wave at Hy’s Steakhouse features Wayward bourbon-barrel-aged gin, Punt e Mes, Benedictine, and orange bitters. (The resto also has a Canada 150 happy-hour menu that features, among other items, candied West Coast salmon.)
It’s too bad the country wasn’t born a few months earlier; a snow-white birthday would be fittingly Canadian. But we’ll take the summertime celebrations if it means we get to spark up the grill. Timber executive chef Chris Whittaker will be cooking up bison in the restaurant’s courtyard when he’s not playing road hockey on adjacent Jervis Street. (The inaugural Timber Ball Hockey Tournament will raise funds for the Britannia after-school hockey program, with staffers from Timber, Forage, Bomber Brewing, and others taking part; Lighthouse Brewing is also donating 10 percent of its 150 Heritage Maple Ale sales that day to the program.)
Barbecued beef ribs with maple barbecue sauce are on the menu at Homer Street Café, which also serves its Meatwave on the last Friday of every month. The pre–Canada Day event will feature barbecued pork ribs, beef brisket, rotisserie pork belly, baked chickpeas, watermelon pickles, and more—and that’s all for one.
The Great Canadian BBQ at the Westin Bayshore’s new H2 Rotisserie and Bar’s pretty poolside patio offers tenderloin steak, prawn-and-scallop skewers, salmon, or beef burger with sides and a Nanaimo bar or butter tart to finish.