Canada offers up unique experiences that you won’t find in any guidebook — you just have to know where to find them. To help you explore like a local, we’ve asked friends from across the country to share their top spots and experiences from the cities they call home. Bundled by interest or passion, consider this your local’s guide to traveling through the country’s vibrant cities and boundless wilderness.

 

Thanks to Scott Bakken, Tamara Elliott, and Kael Rebick for their local tips.

Canada’s diverse population and lively metropolitan culture lends itself to a thriving open-air market and food truck scene. Locally-grown produce and culinary delights accent streets and avenues all over the country.

Calgary Farmer’s Market - Calgary

Backbone of the local food scene

The sheer number and variety of farmers and vendors at Calgary’s Farmer’s Market is something to behold. The year-round, four-days-a week culinary promenade is Calgary’s best bet for fresh, local food. Located in the city’s southeast, the market is all about vendors who “make it, bake it, or grow it” themselves. Locals wander the maze of aisles for produce, protein, and wine – or simply grab a bite from famous area bakeries like Jelly Modern Doughnuts and Simple Simon Pies.

Caplansky’s Food Truck - Toronto

Your bubby would be so stoked

Caplansky’s took all the goodness of a Jewish deli — lox, brisket, matzo ball soup, knishes, and more — and put it on a truck to drive around serving the very lucky people of Toronto. This truck cooks up the very same delicatessen favorites that made their brick-and-mortar shops famous across Ontario. Whether you’re looking for a quick nosh or a full meal, make sure you set some time aside for a nap afterwards.

Camion au Pied Cochon - Montreal

Famed food on wheels

Au Pied Cochon has taken to the streets to bring their five-star food to the people. Expect lo-fi takes on fan favorites and the choice between sweet or salty. No really, we mean it – this truck has a sweet and salty window. Hit up the salty window for foie gras poutine (ultimate indulgence!). After polishing that off, grab the stuffed donuts at the sweet window.

Love food? Need a date idea? We've got you covered with these awesome date night spots across the country.

Urban Smoke Food Truck - Toronto

Discover Canadian BBQ

You might want to bring a bib to Toronto’s Urban Smoke food truck. The BBQ fusion joint is famous for its brisket poutine (mind blown!) and is our local expert’s go-to show-off spot for out-of-town guests. Urban Smoke cooks up all its savory dishes on a massive smoker hitched to the back of the truck. The menu is stocked with traditional BBQ recipes and inventive new takes on classics. We hear they have napkins. Phew.

Tacofino White Truck - Vancouver

Seaside food brought to the city

Starting on Vancouver Island’s west coast in Tofino, Tacofino (you see the connection now!), serves up their famous fish tacos out of a truck in Downtown Vancouver. Besides the perfectly crispy fish they’re known for, this little truck that could also has other Baja-style items on offer like their Walking Burrito, which features red chorizo and cheese sauce. Everything here is made from scratch and if you’re looking for a sit down meal, you can try one of their brick and mortar locations in Vancouver and Victoria.

Market Collective - Calgary

A delicious blend of art, handcrafted wares, and food

Market Collective brings together an eclectic assortment of makers, artisans, and chefs for seasonal celebrations of local food and craft. With its unconventional edge, Market Collective embodies Calgary’s authentic frontier spirit. And it’s this contagious spirit that locals say make it the best spot to nab totally unique art and gifts. The real perk, though, is the twenty or so food trucks (it’s no joke!) that drop anchor outside the market. Take note if you’re going to be in Calgary in November or December, when the event happens every year.

Kensington Market - Toronto

The United Nations of dining

Toronto is known for its vibrant neighborhoods and cultural diversity. Kensington Market brings it all together with some of the most delicious food in the city. The market boasts an incredible array of international eats, from Mexican taqueria Seven Lives, The Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles, and — get this — Jamaican/Italian fusion spot Rasta Pasta.

Hitchen the Kitchen – St. John's

Foodie firsts

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Newfoundland’s food truck scene has yet to explode, but given how the movement has taken hold across the rest of the country, it’s only a matter of time. And Hitchen the Kitchen is the first step. This fresh food truck mixes tasty favorites with comfort classics, meaning there’s always something that’ll satisfy your lunch cravings. From the owners of Blue on Water, described as local luxury, you know the menu will deliver.

St. Lawrence Market - Toronto

Toronto’s local food Mecca

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St. Lawrence Market is a true fixture of Toronto and family tradition for many locals. National Geographic ranks St. Lawrence as the #1 farmer’s market in the world and you’d have a hard time finding someone who disagrees. The market is housed in the remarkable Gooderham Building and has been operating since 1803. St. Lawrence is not only a great place to enjoy the best local food and must-have Toronto sandwiches, but a true historic landmark.

 

Canada’s incredible diversity and emphasis on eating local means plenty of daily open-air food festivals in every city across the country. Both historic markets and trendy food trucks offer locals and travelers a truly endless list of dining possibilities.

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