We get it: Dad is hard to shop for. This Father’s Day, skip the traditional presents and take him on a foodie adventure he’ll remember forever. From cooking classes to tasting tours to festivals and more, we’ve found the best Canadian food and drink destinations to hit together this summer.
2023 Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship (Tyne Valley, PEI)
2023 marks the 50th annual Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship at the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival. Every year, the event draws seafoodies from across Canada to PEI, where they can watch the country’s best shuckers take to the mainstage to compete for the title of fastest and cleanest oyster shucker in Canada. It takes place over the same weekend (August 5-6) as the Rock the Boat music festival – you can book a VIP pass that includes access to both, with free raw oysters during show intermissions.
Montreal Bagel Making Workshop (Montreal)
Québec baker Will Paquet has mastered the art of Montreal bagel making. His in-person workshops include a lesson about the different ingredients and how they work, a hands-on kneading tutorial and a take-home recipe. You and dad will leave as certified boulangers (bagel makers).
Sea-to-Table Lobster Adventure (Halifax)
For the dads who really love lobster. This fabulous guided adventure will take you on a sea kayaking trip through secluded bays and inlets to the small fishing village of Lower Prospect. There, you and dad will board a working lobster boat to see how the traps are set and hauled, while hearing stories and local lore from the fisherman. Paddle back and enjoy an outdoor chef-hosted dinner of lobster and smoked oysters while the sun sets over the ocean.
Gelato Tour and Tasting (Toronto)
Toronto gelateria Death in Venice offers a 16-course gelato tasting on Saturdays, accompanied by a guided tour of the in-house ‘gelato lab’. Owner Kaya Ogruce will get into the science and history of gelato while you sample unique flavours like Thai Iced Tea, Cheeseboard, Pistachio Baklava and Smoked Chocolate & Bourbon.
Tundra to Table: Inuit Culinary Experience (Nunavut via Quark Expeditions)
Last year, arctic cruise company Quark Expeditions introduced this incredible dining series in collaboration with local Inuit chefs in Nunavut and Greenland. The Tundra to Table experience is available on five different cruise routes through the northwest arctic, and features onboard dinners hosted by local Inuit chefs. Specialties like muskox and Arctic char are prepared with traditional Inuit cooking techniques, while the chefs share lessons about the dishes’ histories and cultural significance.
Live In-Person Sushi Class with Chef Sang Kim (Toronto)
Renowned chef, writer and TV personality Sang Kim has been hosting his wildly-popular sushi-making workshops in Etobicoke since 2008. This experience, booked through Indigo’s gifting platform Thoughtfull, includes a 2-hour lesson with Chef Sang on the art of making traditional sushi. You and your dad will learn to make hosomaki (cucumber rolls) uramaki (California rolls and shrimp tempura rolls) and temaki (spicy tuna hand rolls).
The Saskatoon Farm (Foothills County, Alberta)
Saskatoon berries come into season across the Prairies in late June to early July, perfect timing to go picking with dad. 20 minutes south of Calgary is the family-run Saskatoon Farm, where you can pick your own berries before browsing the on-site farmer’s market and plant store (while sampling fare like the house made Saskatoon ice cream). If you live in a different Saskatoon-bearing area, check for local events scheduled during the short picking season – for example, southern Saskatchewaners should note that this year’s Mortlach Saskatoon Berry Festival is coming up on June 17.
Farm and Forage Experience (Cormack, Newfoundland)
An overnight stay at this Newfoundland bed and breakfast comes with t0urs and experiences designed to teach guests about the history of the land and the local settlers. The foraging tours will take you and your dad into the backwoods of Newfoundland to learn how to identify and enjoy handpicked flavours from wildflowers, berries, mushrooms and even wild game.
Toast to Dad with Collective Arts (Toronto)
Hamilton craft brewery Collective Arts and the 1 Hotel Toronto are hosting a Father’s Day event that will delight any and all beer-loving dads. A curated tasting flight in the hotel’s lush Flora Lounge will allow him to pick out his favourite Collective Arts brews before assembling a take-home box of his favourites.
Farm-to-Table NB (Dieppe, New Brunswick)
Combining a cooking class with a dinner party always makes for a memorable celebration. Farm-to-Table NB hosts a monthly cooking class and seasonal dinner once a month, and the summer lineup is to die for: highlights from the July and August menus include Crispy Garlic & Thyme Boulangère Potatoes, Chocolate Raspberry & Buttermilk Cake and Hibiscus & Ginger Kombucha Mocktails.
Lac La Martre Lodge (Lac La Martre, Northwest Territories)
The fishing season at this remote Northwest Territories fly-in lodge only runs for 12 weeks, but it’s a guaranteed once-in-a-lifetime experience for dads who love to fish. The season begins amid breathtaking scenery in mid-June – under the midnight sun, with nearly 24 hours of daylight a day – and closes out in September, after the height of the Northern Lights viewing season. Days are spent hauling in massive northern pike, lake trout and Arctic grayling, and the fishing guides pride themselves on their open-fire cooking skills – demonstrated during shore lunches with the catches of the day.
A Wok Around Chinatown (Vancouver)
Third-generation Chinese-Canadian Robert Sung knows Vancouver’s Chinatown like the back of his hand – and you and your dad can too. His ‘A Wok Around Chinatown’ tour begins at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, then proceeds through markets and shops to finish with a dim sum lunch. You can also book a tour to learn the ins and outs of the sprawling Granville Island Public Market – a veritable foodie’s paradise.
Well Bread Cooking School (Whitehorse)
The only private cooking school in northern Canada offers different classes and has gained well-deserved widespread acclaim, but Chef Cat McInroy’s mastery of all things sourdough might be what Well Bread is best known for. An expert mixologist, cheesemaker and dietician (among other specialists) also work there, and private classes can be booked at the school or in your home (provided it’s in Whitehorse).
Brewery and the Beast 2023 (Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary)
Brewery and the Beast calls itself “the damn fine festival of meat, beer and music.” If that sounds right up your dad’s alley, there are three editions coming up this season in Western Canada: Vancouver (July 9), Calgary (August 27) and Victoria (September 24). You can expect scores of chefs preparing protein of all kinds over open fires while the local craft beers and ciders flow.
Food Truck Wars (Saskatoon)
This year’s food truck festival in Saskatoon will play host to an impressive variety of mobile eateries, including an Indigenous–Caribbean fusion truck and the Japanese sandwich experts from Winnipeg’s Kyu Grill. You and your dad can vote for your favourites in the fan choice awards, as well as watch the pros critique the fare in two ‘Flavour Competitions,’ judged by a panel of notable local foodies.
Elmwood Spa Father’s Day Package (Toronto)
Because your dad deserves a spa day, and you do too. Toronto’s beloved Elmwood Spa – which is also home to the storied and award-winning Bangkok Garden restaurant, a dining room with scenic patio and a separate juice bar – offers a range of featured Father’s Day services. Pamper dad with a package that includes a facial, massage and three-course lunch (dress code: spa robes).
Udemy Class (Virtual)
Your foodie dad can learn all about his favourite topics from the comfort of his own kitchen with a course from Udemy. They’re offered by individual users on the platform, sharing their expertise in everything spanning food photography to egg farming to cooking heart-healthy, low-sodium Mexican food (mom should approve of that one).