Canada is often known for being the sane neighbour, or simply, “not America”. More importantly, it is known for its natural beauty, absurd winters, and historical monuments.
For visitors to Canada, it’s nice to know that the country’s well equipped with uniquely-Canadian souvenirs. Common Canadian souvenirs such as keychains, hats, and t-shirts usually compose of the Canadian flag, or have the maple leaf somehow incorporated. In short, these types of souvenirs are ubiquitous, so don’t worry about missing out on any.
But if you have truly enjoyed Canada and are looking for authentic Canadian souvenirs, you will definitely have to look beyond maple syrup! Such souvenirs are often related to the indigenous culture or have some significant meaning in Canadian culture. If you’re willing to take that leap of faith, then here are 20 souvenirs to bring home from Canada.
1. Beaver-themed souvenirs
Perhaps beavers aren’t the very first thing on your souvenir list, but Canada is actually represented by a wide range of animal figures, with beavers being one of them.
In most souvenir shops, you will often come across the traditional souvenirs but with beavers decorated on them. Some beaver themed souvenirs include coasters, shot glasses, stuffed beavers, t-shirts, key chains, and more.
These souvenirs are great to buy in abundance as they are cheap and of great quality! Plus, they make fun gifts for younger people!
2. Moose-themed souvenirs
Like the beaver, the moose is also a prominent symbol in Canada. While you can purchase various souvenirs with a moose designed on them, a more authentic gift to bring home is the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) moose.
An RCMP souvenir is a great representation of Canada’s national police simultaneously portraying one of the country’s most loved creatures.
Of course, this souvenir can be purchased in the form of other animals that are famous in Canada, such as the beaver and goose, but the RCMP moose is no different.
3. Hockey sticks
Given that Canada’s national sport is hockey, a hockey stick should most definitely be on top of your list. Moreover, hockey stick souvenirs are usually smaller than the original size, allowing you to easily carry them back home. If you’re lucky, you can find a hockey stick souvenir of your favorite team.
It might be an unusual souvenir for foreigners, but Canadians take pride in this sport, which make it a great souvenir to remember Canada.
4. Coffee or mugs from Tim Hortons
Canada’s Starbucks, although some may argue that Tim Hortons is much better. If you have visited Canada, then there is no way you left without trying the beloved coffee.
Luckily, Tim Hortons offers various coffees to take home, including the original blend, french vanilla, and even hot cocoa, which though not caffeine, still classifies as a masterpiece. You can even purchase mugs and thermoses in various sizes as souvenirs.
All in all, these are great for when you’re feeling nostalgic about the drink you had on a cool evening in Toronto, because you can easily whip up a French vanilla in your Tim Hortons mug.
If there is one souvenir you should bring home to remember Canada’s absurd winters, it’s a good pair of mittens. These souvenirs appear in different styles, such as representing hockey teams, or simply traditional Canadian designs.
Note that they’re usually quite small and might not fit! However, these Canadian souvenirs make nice decoration pieces.
Dreamcatchers are a must-buy souvenir from Canada. Aside from its bead and feather aesthetic, it is a very sacred symbol in First Nation culture. The dreamcatcher is placed on the bed to filter the good dreams from the bad. It is often regarded as a maternal memento because First Nation women used it to protect their children during their journeys.
As for souvenirs, you can find them as keychains, jewelry, and even as a tattoo to take home from Canada!
7. Miniature canoes
Like the dreamcatcher, the canoe holds great significance in indigenous culture. It was a prominent form of transport for trade, travel and fishing. Today, you can use it for leisure or you can just watch canoe racing in most areas of Canada. Of course, the life-sized canoe might not be practical to take home, but Canada does offer mini canoes as decoration pieces or gift items.
8. License plates
A license plate isn’t an unusual souvenir to bring home, and one from Canada should definitely be on your list. This souvenir can be tricky to find, but if you do come across them, you’ll see a variety! There are plates of different cities with their respective monuments and attractions, which make it difficult to pick just one.
A license plate makes a great decoration piece and of course, a unique Canadian souvenir to remember a particular city.
9. Bear-themed souvenirs
You’ve probably guessed by now that Canada takes pride in its animals. Beavers, moose, and geese are all prominent figures in Canada’s wildlife, as are bears.
Amongst the various souvenirs of animals, you will often come across bear merchandise. Like the beaver and moose, bear souvenirs come in shirts, stuffed animals, mugs, magnets, coasters and so much more. Animal themed souvenirs are usually presented together so a token of a bear is hard to miss!
10. Totem poles
Totem poles are another great representation of indigenous history. Although they differ amongst communities, they are designed to represent First Nation’s history, events, and people. This often makes the poles quite tall. It is decorated with colorful images of people, animals, hybrids, supernatural creatures, and significant symbols.
Some totem poles tell a story, but the majority play a critical role in indigenous communities. These souvenirs come in various sizes to your liking.
11. Water from Niagra Falls
If you’re visiting Niagra Falls, then don’t worry about finding a shortage of souvenirs to remember your trip. Aside from the usual items, almost anything can classify as a souvenir, such as the yellow coats worn on the boat, or a picture at the Falls.
But if you want something particularly cool, then you should get a hold of the Niagra Falls water. Several souvenir shops offer little bottles of water from the Niagra Falls. Needless to say, it makes a great souvenir and frankly a bragging right. You can truly tell people that you have some Niagra Falls in your room!
If there is one thing to splurge on when in Canada, it has to be chocolate. The country has arguably some of the best chocolates in the world. There are a plethora of places to make your sweet purchase such as Lindt, Hershey’s, and Laura Secord, which are expensive, but genuinely present chocolate of the highest quality.
As for those who aren’t willing to succumb to just chocolate, they can be directed to Bulk Barn, which offers every sweet item you can imagine in wholesale. Aside from sweets and chocolates, you can purchase baking items, coffee and tea, spices, and more.
The traditional footware is another souvenir you should turn to if you’re still looking for indigenous-themed items. The Mocassin are baseless shoes made of deer or bison skin and are commonly worn by the indigenous community.
It is practical for various activities and glorified for its ability to adapt to various seasons and harsh weather. During the winter, it is paired with snowshoes to help individuals navigate through the thick snow. Such souvenirs are decorated with tassels, laces, and intricate quillwork. However, it is a difficult find and can be on the expensive side.
A prominent symbol you will often come across in Canada are the group of stones neatly aligned in a distinct manner. However, it’s no natural phenomenon or someone trying to be creative; rather, it’s an Inukshuk. This is another important figure in indigenous culture because it was used to inform European settlers that a particular area was occupied by an indigenous civilization.
The setting of the Inukshuk is aesthetically pleasing which is why you can find it in different forms of souvenirs such as mini replicas, handbags, plaques, snow globes and others. Plus they make a unique token to bring home from Canada.
15. Tea towels
If you’re still looking for more uncommon souvenirs to purchase from Canada, then you might as well add some tea towels to your basket.
This souvenir comes in various designs with just enough takeaways from Canadian culture. It’s usually decorated with maple leaves, winter decor, indigenous references, or other elements inspired by Canadian culture.
The tea towels are multi-purpose which makes them a practical souvenir, not to mention their high quality and durability. They are easy to spot in souvenir stores or even common stores for a great price.
The horn is another item that broadly stands out in most souvenir stores. It differs in size and arch, but commonly incorporates indigenous art and symbols or general aspects from Canadian culture. Sometimes the horn can be in the form of a pencil holder which makes it a useful souvenir. Otherwise, this token serves as an impressive display item or even a great gift!
17. Ice Wine
Canada is the largest producer of ice wine. In addition to intensive effort, this drink requires frozen grapes which, unsurprisingly, Canada has a plethora of. As a result, this liquor is more on the sweeter side and hence, frequently paired with desserts. It is also a prominent drink in Niagra Falls, which makes it a great refreshment for after your trip. Taking a bottle of ice wine as a souvenir will be a great way to remember your time at one of the wonders of the world.
Like any other country, Canada has its own fair share of jewelry. The country isn’t limited to a specific fashion; rather, it offers several styles of jewelry, ranging from Boho, indigenous-inspired, handmade, or something of modern Canadian culture. Souvenir stores offer plenty of these jewelry, so don’t worry about missing out on any.
However, if you’re willing to splurge on some items, then you should check out the precious stones. In particular, ammolite is one expensive stone that Canada has to offer. It’s a bold multi-colored gemstone that comes in the form of pendants, rings, earrings, and bracelets. While it truly is a striking gem, it is an expensive souvenir to take home.
19. Poppy pins and tulips
Every year on remembrance day, Canadians unite to mourn the aftermath of World War I. A common gesture is placing a poppy pin on one’s heart to represent this day. It isn’t unusual for people to wear it; in fact, other countries such as the UK have also established this practice.
The use of this flower came to be from the poem “In Flander’s Fields” which talks about soldiers who have suffered through the tragedy. Thus, a poppy pin is a respectful gesture and also a unique souvenir to remember the victims of the war.
Fun fact: The Netherlands sends almost 100,000 buds of tulips annually to Canada to thank them for their support during World War II. The tulip festival occurs every May and is indeed a beautiful experience. Plus, a few tulips make a great souvenir to remember the friendship of both countries.
20. Maple syrup and maple-flavored items
Finally, the long-awaited maple syrup. Needless to say, a trip to Canada is incomplete with purchasing maple syrup, a bonus if it’s in the maple leaf bottle. It is clear that Canada takes pride in its maple leaf as seen consistently on souvenirs and everyday items.
However, there is a lot more to maple syrup. You should definitely purchase a bottle, but there are many other maple-flavored items you can buy that are often ignored but are just as worthy. Maple syrup is frequently incorporated into anything you can imagine, such as candles, candies, donuts, coffee, liquor, cookies, and so much more. Of course, this isn’t to undermine the iconic maple syrup, but just that tourists often miss out on the other valuable maple-flavored items that Canada has to offer!
Overall, Canada has an abundance of souvenirs that are easy to spot and relatively cheap. Understandably, most tourists feel safer purchasing a few magnets, mugs, and other basic souvenirs for their loved ones. As for more serious shoppers or those who have found their heart in Canada, they should definitely look beyond those. With its wildlife, rich indigenous culture, and Canadian history, Canada has so much to offer to the adventurous tourist!