There are endless reasons to celebrate Canada. As we fête the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, it’s time to revel in all things Canadian. In this special Food Issue, we salute the chefs, producers and purveyors who shape this vibrant and dynamic industry. From a culinary perspective, we don’t have a deep-rooted history. Because of this, defining Canadian cuisine has been challenging at best. But as a young country, we are now coming into our own. As our cuisine becomes better understood and our culinary schools continue to produce top-notch chefs and cooks, the kitchens of our restaurants will be proudly helmed by local talent who will influence and ignite a local Canadian sensibility shaped by global influences.
Will tourists ever be motivated to travel to Canada to satiate their appetites for great food? That remains to be seen. But the federal government is working to make that happen. Recently, it requested proposals for making Canada a top destination for tourists seeking world-class culinary experiences, with the intent to make Canada a destination of choice for international visitors looking for world-class culinary experiences.
As part of Canada’s New Tourism Vision, the government will work with the tourism and food industries to develop a national culinary tourism strategy. “Canada has a rich variety of culinary offerings, and there is tremendous potential to grow this niche tourism market,” said Bardish Chagger, leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism. Currently, according to Statistics Canada, approximately one fifth of spending ($3.56 billion) by international travellers in Canada is on food and beverages, with domestic and international spending totalling $15.35 billion.
Whether this spending involves “visiting a restaurant or food festival, culinary experiences are as essential today to a tourist’s experience as climate, geography and accommodations,” says Chagger. “With our wide range of food specialties and a great diversity of international cuisine, Canada has so much to offer. I look forward to working with tourism operators, agricultural producers and culinary industries to spread the word about Canada’s great reputation for being a must-visit for foodies around the world,” said Chagger.
Of course, none of this will be possible if we don’t learn to protect and respect our planet, our food supply and our farming communities and become true stewards of the oceans and lakes so they can remain a repository of treasures from the deep for years to come.