If you are looking for a list of the best Canadian souvenirs and gifts to buy then you are in the right place. There are so many things to buy in Canada that are iconic and representative of the country.
With such a huge country, it is often difficult to determine whether it is iconically Canadian, or more symbolic of the East, the West or somewhere in the middle. This list below has the top Canada souvenirs that represent the country as a whole and a few regional things to buy in Canada depending on which city and which province you plan to visit.
Best Canadian Souvenirs
Canadian Souvenir Maple Syrup
Probably what most people think of as one of the things that represent Canada is maple syrup. Available in gift shops across the country, as well as in airports and grocery stores, grab some to take home as it is one of the best presents from Canada. If you want the best bag for your buck, grab a bottle from Costco! (But make sure you put this Canadian gift in your checked luggage as it is too much liquid for carry on luggage). If you are looking for small bottles, you can often find them while shopping at Winners or Home Sense, and of course, at gift shops, hotel shops, and the airport!
If you do not want to bring home maple syrup you can find many maple-flavored treats. Keep an eye out for cookies and candies as there are many maple ones to choose from!
An Inukshuk is a figure made of mild stones or boulders used as a form of communication throughout Canada’s Arctic. They were traditionally constructed by the Inuit and have become intertwined with representations of Canada. In the Arctic, they are used for practical reasons, such as navigational aids, coordination points, and message centers. They have also been known to be used for spiritual means. These are some of the most common Canadian souvenirs that you will find at almost any gift shop in Canada. The Inukshuk was the basis of the Vancouver Olympic logo and you can find a huge Inukshuk (and plenty of souvenirs) when you arrive in Whistler.
Related: Whistler Souvenirs and Gift Ideas
Beer may not be one of the uniquely Canadian things to buy, but Molson is well known around the world as a great Canadian beer and for its tagline “I Am Canadian” from years gone by. If you happen to collect beer bottles or want a t-shirt from Canada, make it a Molson one! Canadian is also a pretty popular beer to drink while you are in Canada too. If you are unsure of what case of beer to pick up, Canadian is a safe bet!
Local Spirits or Crown Royal or Canadian Club
Spirit drinkers will love a bottle of Crown Royal or Canadian Club as one of the top souvenirs of Canada to take back home. You can get it at the duty-free land crossings or airports before you leave or at any liquor store in the country. We do not sell spirits in grocery stores (few grocery stores even sell wine and each province has its own rules) so make sure you find a liquor store or any bar or restaurant if you want to enjoy it while you are in Canada!
Locally distilled spirits are becoming more and more common in Canada. If you want something you can only get in Canada, grab a bottle of locally made spirits.
Canadian Food and Snacks
There are some things you can only buy in Canada that you should consider taking home from your trip. These include Ketchup chips, Smoked Salmon, Smarties, Nanaimo Bars, Coffee Crisp, Purdy’s Chocolates and Laura Secord Chocolates.
While you are visiting, be sure to enjoy some of the national dishes of Canada such as poutine, freshly caught salmon or smoked salmon, and Saskatoon Berry Pie!
Sports Gear Canadian Souvenirs
Canada may be a tiny country in terms of population, but its population love of sports, especially hockey runs deep. Canadians love to get behind their favorite sports teams and athletes and wearing a hockey jersey is a typically Canadian outfit. It makes a great souvenir from Canada to bring home whether for yourself or someone else. You can choose a local NHL team like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadians, Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks or a Canada hockey jersey representing junior and Olympic athletes.
Indigenous peoples have always made objects of artistic value. If you want to know what to buy in Canada to display in your home or to give as a gift, purchase some authentic Indigenous art. When looking for Indigenous items, ensure you purchase locally made authentic products. This ensures you are supporting local artists rather than importers who have products made internationally and imported. Dreamcatchers are a common Indigenous souvenir that is often made overseas. Always check where the product is made if you are looking for local art from Indigenous peoples. There are lots of artisans and gallery’s all over Canada and plenty of souvenir shops that support one. A popular one is the SLCC in Whistler.
Roots clothing is known for its craftsmanship and functionality. Comfy sweats are also back in style and sweat pants and hoodies are all over retail store windows. I live in their sweatpants when I am at home and there is nothing comfier in my wardrobe. If you are shopping for the best souvenirs of Canada that you can wear for years to come, grab yourself a pair of Roots sweatpants or a sweatshirt or bring one home for someone who loves comfort.
Tim Hortons Mug
If you’re looking for a Canadian icon, look no further than the Timmies. Canadians have loved these coffee shops since 1950 and they are still going strong with their red cups and annual roll up the rim contests! When it comes to what kind of drinker or memorabilia collector wants in Canada Tim Horton’s will be top priority on your list (I mean come on, we know our coffees).
Christmas Ornaments from Canada
Many travelers like to pick up a souvenir ornament from the places they visit. Canada offers plenty of uniquely Canadian ones. Just pop into any of the gift shops you pass by and you should have plenty of choices! If ornaments are not your thing, maybe a keychain?
Bear Claw Salad Tongs
Once you have mixed your salad or your pasta with bear claw salad tongs you will never go back to spoons or forks or tongs or traditional salad spoons. Bear claws are great for mixing right to the bottom of the bowl to ensure you get all the good stuff from the bottom. Grab some locally made ones when you are in Canada.
Canadian Wool Blanket from HBC
The Hudson’s Bay Company, HBC or “the Bay” is a retail department store who’s history lies in the fur trade and has been around since the 1600s. Currently, it is the outfitter for the Canadian Olympic Team and features Canadian gear. Its iconic colored striped blankets and clothing are also popular Canadian souvenirs ideas. Instead of just popping into this anchor department store that you can find in almost every mall, try and find some time on your trip to learn about the Hudson’s Bay Company and how it changed the way Indigenous peoples lived in what is now Canada.
Resources for Visiting Canada
Whether you are planning your trip to Canada, or are already here, these resources should help you, wherever you may be in the country.
Things to Pack when visiting Canada
A good rain jacket is always a good idea, even in the summer. While you are not likely to get wet in July and August, late august almost always sees a wet day, and May, June, and September will also get rain. If you are visiting Vancouver or the West Coast, you can likely get by with rain gear and layers, but if you are visiting the rest of the country, pack your winter gear!
A good power bank to charge phones and other devices is essential for most. After a day of videoing, GPS, and taking photos, the last thing you want is a dead cell phone. These are inexpensive and come in handy during the day. If you are flying to Canada, make sure you keep any power banks in your hand luggage, as security will often remove them from checked bags (I have found that out the hard way before).
A Universal Adapter is going to be handy for International Visitors. Canada uses the same plugs as the USA but if you are coming from somewhere else abroad, grab yourself one before you arrive.
A good guidebook is something I always get when I am researching a new location. Lonely Planet is the usual go-to, but also check out these.
Reusable shopping bags are available to buy everywhere, but if you want to get a compact one before you arrive, it is a good idea. There is a small plastic bag tax in most places and some places do not offer plastic bags at all.
Reusable water bottles are also a good idea. You can buy bottled water anywhere that you can get drinks, but Canada does pride itself on recycling as much as possible, and why shell out wasteful dollars when you can drink the tap water all over the country.
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!