The Ultimate Insiders’ Guide to Canada


From the Yukon to Newfoundland, 13 Canadians take us to their favourite spots.

Maika Harper

Actress, Mohawk Girls and Kim’s Convenience
Hometown: Iqaluit
Home base: Toronto

Rannva Design, Nunavut —

 Many Inuit have an amauti made by someone in their family, but Rannva Simonsen’s seal fur parkas are on another level. She uses traditional material, but the cuts of the jackets are feminine and fitted, with elaborate trimmings – they accentuate a body in all the right ways. People don’t expect style to be a priority in the North, but indigenous fashion is a big thing, especially when it comes to jackets.

July 6, 2017
A canoe along the shoreline.

Chloe Dragon Smith

Co–chair of the Canadian Parks Council’s The Nature Playbook, a guide that helps young Canadians connect with nature
Hometown and home base: Yellowknife

Ingraham Trail, Northwest Territories —

 This 70–kilometre road, or driving trail, leads east out of Yellowknife, with day hikes, picnic areas, canoe routes and campgrounds accessible from it. My favourite spot off the trail is Hidden Lake Territorial Park. It’s a gorgeous clear lake with little islands and lots of great camping spots.

Trees and wildlife in the Yukon landscape.
   Photo: Jake Paleczny

Stephen Kozmeniuk

Grammy Award–winning producer, songwriter and multi–instrumentalist
Hometown: Whitehorse
Home base: Toronto

Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Yukon —

 The Preserve is more casual than a zoo, and it’s a great place to see Yukon animals in their natural habitat – moose, elk, arctic foxes, wolverines and bison. You can walk the circuit, or there’s a bus that’ll take you around. I went many times as a kid, and I have a little boy now who thought the bison and eagles were pretty cool when we went.

Rows of seating inside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
   Photo: Vancouver Symphony Society

Santa Ono

President and Vice–Chancellor, University of British Columbia
Hometown and home base: Vancouver

Orpheum Theatre, British Columbia —

 My wife and I try to see as many shows as we can at this beautiful theatre. My favourite was the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Harry Potter Film Concert Series; the orchestra performed the soundtrack while the movie played on a screen above, and both kids and adults in the audience were in costumes.

Racks of cream-filled and icing topped donuts.
   Photo: Kathleen Cooper

Jen Kish

Team Canada rugby sevens player
Hometown and home base: Edmonton

The Donut Mill, Alberta —

 If I’m driving from Edmonton to Calgary or the Rockies, I have to stop at this doughnut shop on the west side of Gasoline Alley, just south of Red Deer. They have a massive selection that you don’t see at other places – a whole wall with flavours like Apple Pie and Rolo. Even if you don’t like cream–filled varieties, the Orange Creamsicle, with orange and vanilla whipped cream, is a must–try.

Afghan cuisine like chicken tikka and the lamb dishes.

Zarqa Nawaz

Creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie and author of Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
Hometown: Brampton, ON
Home base: Regina

Afghan Cuisine, Saskatchewan —

 Like a lot of amazing ethnic restaurants, this one is tucked away in an unassuming strip mall. I love the chicken tikka and the lamb dishes – everything is the right amount of spicy. And the Napoleon cake, a light and airy pastry with whipped cream, is a great way to end a meal. My husband and I eat here often, and we like to take out–of–town friends.

The outside of a music venue in a corner building.

Peter Tielmann

President and CEO, EQ3
Hometown: Bonn, Germany
Home base: Winnipeg

Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club, Manitoba —

 This small roots–and–blues live–music venue is the kind of place you have to know about. It’s got a dive–bar feel, but it’s always packed with people from all walks of life. Once, former governor general Michaëlle Jean was in town and we were in meetings during the day. Then at night, a friend and I went to the High and Lonesome Club for a drink and there she was, with a friend, listening to the music.

A Caribbean restaurant that serves stew chicken and addictive curried chickpea pockets called doubles.
   Photo: Avinash Bujhawan

Cameron Bailey

Artistic director, Toronto International Film Festival
Hometowns: London and Rock Dundo, Barbados
Home base: Toronto

Drupati’s Roti & Doubles, Ontario —

 On Sundays, people descend on this suburban Caribbean restaurant from churches, all–night parties and downtown neighbourhoods to feast on stew chicken and addictive curried chickpea pockets called doubles. There are multiple locations in the GTA, but I go to the one in Scarborough to savour those spiced mouthfuls.

Dining tables inside a private club with chandeliers.
   Photo: Cindy La

Vanessa Pilon

TV host, Switch tes fripe
Hometown and home base: Montreal

Bar George, Quebec —

 When you step into this grand former home of a Scottish baron, you feel like a member of the 19th–century bourgeoisie. It used to be a private club, so it’s great that this spectacular heritage building is now open to the public, serving British fare inspired by the original owner, like Earl Grey smoked salmon with crumpets.

View from the air of the Eel River and surrounding shore.
   Photo: canadabrian/Alamy

Candy Palmater

Comedian and broadcaster
Hometown: Point La Nim, NB
Home base: Toronto

Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick —

 The mix of French, English, white and indigenous is more intermeshed in the North Shore region than I’ve seen elsewhere. It’s also home to one of the world’s longest natural sand–bars. When I visit, I have a bonfire on the beach and then I take a dip, because New Brunswickers can handle cold water.

Landscape photos on the walls inside a gallery.
   Photo: Chris Crockwell, courtesy of Carvel & Helm; art: Ned Pratt

Jeremy Charles

Head chef, Raymonds
Hometown and home base: St. John’s

Christina Parker Gallery, Newfoundland and Labrador —

 One of the largest commercial galleries in eastern Canada overlooks the Narrows (the entrance to St. John’s harbour). It’s white and modern, but doesn’t have that elite, big–city feeling. They represent many Newfoundland artists and I’ve purchased over 20 of their pieces for my restaurants – a guest even went to buy a photo by Scott Walden, who documents Newfoundland’s Canadian Legions, after seeing it at Raymonds.

Jeff Dahn

Battery scientist, recipient of the Herzberg Gold Medal
Hometown: Lunenburg, NS
Home base: Halifax

The Armview Restaurant & Lounge, Nova Scotia —

 This classic diner overlooks the Northwest Arm and the Armdale Roundabout, a famous traffic circle in downtown Halifax. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city and it’s a real meeting place for locals, who come for the seafood, like the delicious fresh haddock that comes baked, pan–seared or poached.

Stuart Duncan

CEO, Icejam mobile games
Hometown: Cambridge, ON
Home base: Charlottetown

Back Alley Music, Prince Edward Island —

 I go to dig through the new–arrivals bins at this vinyl store a couple times a month. It has that dusty–old–record–shop feel to it, and they’ve got lots of rare finds. My best purchase was an original pressing of Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick.