Contrary to popular belief, Canadians have a huge variety of fresh food items and a quickly-growing population of vegans! With tons of places to stay, vegan companies and vegan products.
Canada has truly embraced the growth of the vegan population. It has been estimated that more than 3 million Canadian residents have made the switch to a vegan lifestyle, that's around 10% of the nations total population! Popular chain restaurants all over the country are creating plant-based options on their traditional menus, and fully vegan restaurants are popping up like wildflowers in order to cater to the unique dietary needs of this quickly growing group.
Grocery stores across the country are well-stocked with imitation meats, cheeses and pre-packaged products that are suitable for the hungry vegan traveller. You never have to worry about going hungry when you are out exploring this vast country. Stock up on some of the tastiest foods, hop into a car and be prepared to have the time of your life!
Depending on which city you are in, you will most likely be able to find a fully vegan restaurant, or quite a few of them. Vegan specific restaurants have been popping up like wild-flowers and we couldn't be happier! Spend some time going on a vegan food tour through Toronto, Ottawa or Vancouver. Or stop by in a smaller town for a completely new atmosphere and a different swing on the food. A quick google search will tell you all about the vegan restaurants in the city you are visiting.
When in doubt stick to some specific cuisines, we always find that Indian food restaurants will have tons of vegan dishes even if they aren't advertised as so. Mexican is another good option, bean burritos are easy to hunt down, and there may be other menu items that can be made without dairy. Many Thai restaurants will have curries and noodle bowls available that are suitable to the starving vegan to devour. You can also find some pretty delicious spring rolls and soups.
Fast food restaurants are quickly realizing the importance of catering to the veggie population. Tons of chains found all over the country will offer some sort of vegan menu item. We have you covered with our favourite choices!
A&W - This is a go to fast food restaurant. They serve the traditional fast food burgers and fries. Up until recently, vegans would never dare step foot into this omnivorous, deep-fried chain restaurant, but with the launch of a new burger, A&W has drawn in a new crowd. The Beyond Meat burger consists of an entirely plant-based patty, and is just as juicy and delicious as it's beef-made cousin. Order one of these with a side of fries if you are wanting to try a truly savoury meal. * Make sure to order it without mayo!
For breakfast why not try A&W's all new breakfast sandwich with vegan sausage. Just ask for it without egg.
Pita Pit - This is our absolute favourite fast-food joint in Canada! The spicy black bean pita and the falafel pitas are hands down the most delicious food items we've come across! With heaps of veggies to choose from as toppings, you'll never have the same pita twice!
Harvey's/Swiss Chalet - This isn't en entirely vegan restaurant, but it certainly has a killer veggie burger! Customize it with amazing toppings like banana peppers, guacamole and black beans!
Subway - A popular choice for the famous "footlong" sub-style sandwich. These sandwiches are completely customizable, and every Subway restaurant has a big selection of fresh veggies, and vegan friendly buns. In bigger cities you will be able to find the Veggie Patty option, but in more remote options you'll have to stick to the classic Veggie Delight (without cheese).
Pizza Nova - This chain pizza joint is found all across the country and is well-stocked with faux cheese! grab yourself a classic pizza, and add on the dairy-free cheese and some veggies for a classic and quick Canadian pizza night!
Panera Bread - You will always find a vegan option at Panera Bread, the most famous veggie dish is the Black Bean soup. This soup is filling and oh so flavourful. Definitely worth stopping by for! Along with the soup there are a variety of other menu items that are suitable for anyone eating a plant-based diet, give the Soba Noodle Bowl a try!
Chipotle - A favourite for all Canadians is Chipotle. This is a health(ier) fast food option and is frequently found in food courts across the country. This Mexican inspired restaurant will have you full of beans, burritos and tacos! Don't be afraid to add a little spice!
Taco Bell - Taco Bell was probably one of the first fast-food restaurants to offer vegan and vegetarian menu options. The classic black bean burrito is a hit amongst the vegan population in Canada. Give it a try, and make sure to skip the cheese and sour cream!
Red Robin - This restaurant is widespread throughout the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. They offer a lot of really fancy and interesting burgers and meat dishes, but hidden in their menu you will find the mouthwatering Garden Burger and the Veggie Fajita, horray!
TIP: If you're looking for plant-based restaurants in a particular town or city, be sure to check out Happy Cow, they list vegan, vegetarian and veg-option restaurants in any city in the world!! If you notice that a restaurant you love isn't on the list you can add it for others!
Most every grocery store you visit will have a section specifically full of vegan-friendly foods. Some easy to find items are as follows:
Plant-based milk - This is probably the most common vegan item. In every store you will find quite the variety in the refrigerated section, as well as additional stock in the aisles. You can find almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk and many others. Common brands are Silk and Almond Breeze. Chocolate - Who doesn't love chocolate? There are several options for the dairy-free consumer including ChocoSol Traders, Zimt Chocolates, Giddy Yoyo, Soul Chocolate, Camino, Pascha Chocolate, Theobroma Chocolat, Zazubean,
Dairy-free cheeses - The brand Daiya is one of the most popular. For other brands its best to read the ingredients list as I have come across a few that do contain milk products.
Faux meat - These items make it quick and easy to throw something together. You'll be able to find a variety ranging from sausages, sandwich meat, veggie burger patties, and ground 'beef'. The most common brand is Yves. Some grocery stores have a bigger variety than others.
Hummus - Hummus has gained some much needed popularity lately, and can be found in huge amounts in any store you visit. Hummus is great for spreading onto fresh bread, and even for dipping some celery into it.
Tofu - Anywhere you go you'll be able to find some tofu. This is generally a cheap product as well, so if you have access to a kitchen make sure you stock up!
Breads and Buns - This one is a little bit trickier to track down because it depends on what you are looking for and each store tends to carry different brands, but if you read through the ingredients lists, you will be able to find a brand that contains no dairy and eggs. Along with loaves of bread, you can also find bagels, English muffins, and tortilla wraps.
Produce - Canada always has a decent variety of fresh fruits and veggies. Each province will have a different variety, and fruits are very seasonal here.
Pasta & Grains - Walking through the aisles you will come across an entire section of pastas and other grains. Cheap to buy and quick to make these are easy and healthy additions to your cart. The best thing you can find is the pre-made rice packages, these are ready-to-eat and also taste alright without being heated up.
Legumes - From the dried varieties to the canned goods, you'll always be able to find plenty of cheap legumes to fill you up! These can also be found at convenience stores so if you're in a pinch at least you can munch on some beans.
Ice Cream - You will find some vegan Ben & Jerry's at the bigger chain stores! Do not pass up this opportunity for some quality ice cream, it's the best thing to enjoy all year round - yes, Canadians really do enjoy eating ice-cream in snow storms.
These will be your best option for vegan snacks! Stock up on some nuts and seeds, and make yourself a quick trail mix. Grab some cereal, or crackers and you'll be all set for whatever you encounter. Bulk stores are also starting to specalize in vegan brands, and vegan products. You will come across items like protein bars, chocolate, mac and cheese, crackers, cookies, popcorn and candy. Bulk Barn and Bulk Barrel are a few of the bigger chain stores you will find almost anywhere you go.
The vegan lifestyle is about more than just food - although food is arguably one of the best things about it - it's also about living a conscious life, and treating animals right! Not all the companies listed below are Canadian per se, but these companies can be found across the nation and are quickly gaining popularity.
Aritzia - These stores are full of the cutest seasonal clothing you will get your hands on. The company is committed to investing in apparel that has not been tested on animals and is certified cruelty-free! You won't find any wool or furs here, but everything you will find is of the highest quality.
Le Chateau - Anything from business clothing to party dresses, shoes and accessories can be found through the doors of a Le Chateau shop! Find them in malls all over Canada, and feel good knowing that they support ethical products!
Matt & Nat - This is a brand that is proud to be Canadian. They make the cutest bags, shoes and accessories out of new and innovative materials, such as recycles bicycle tires and plastic water bottles. The quality of their products is top notch and highly recommended.
Lush - This is all the rage amongst the vegan community lately! Lush makes cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and a variety of other fun bathroom, body and face essentials! Although not all of their items are vegan, may of them are. This company does not test any products on animals, and they are always looking for ways to give back. You can find lush stores in bigger cities around Canada, and they are most commonly found in shopping centres.
Arcteryx - This Vancouver-based brand specializes in active wear and outerwear. All of their products are made with ethical and durable materials and they have the absolute best warranty which guarantees the quality of all their products. Stop by if you're in Canada lonkg enough to endure the long, cold winters and need to stay nice and cozy outdoors!
Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort - You'll find this quaint resort hidden along the shorelines in the province of Nova Scotia. Enjoy the natural beauty of the area and wake up to a breakfast packed with vegan options. If you plan on hiking the Cabot Trail, then consider this the perfect place to rest your head!
La Maison Dennis - This little cottage getaway is just a short drive from Quebec City! Get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the countryside. Oh, did I mention that they provide a fully vegan menu that's delicious?
Piebird Farm Sanctuary - This is a vegan farmstay in the heart of Northern Ontario. Live amongst rescued farm animals and freshly cooked, completely vegan meals. Learn all about growing vegetables and living life as sustainable as possible, and enjoy the beauty of this property.
Hilton Hotels - This chain of hotels can be found all over the country. Although they aren't specifically vegan, they do have vegan-friendly options available at the breakfast buffet. We have stayed on these properties multiple times and have been able to call in advance to ensure that there was plenty of items available to us. We've gorged on: potatoes, oatmeal, fresh fruit, cereal, and toast at various Hilton properties, they have always been happy to accommodate us.