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If you've heard of the "100-mile diet", then you will already appreciate the push towards local, sustainable, tasty food that has seized Canada in the past decade. The diet was coined back in 2007, a way to ensure that everything you eat is sourced from within a 100-mile radius. It's been hugely popular, and it's indicative of the push in Canada towards native, seasonal produce that is cooked well, and appreciated for what it is.
Canadians love their food. They love it to be local, they love it to be delicious. And as you tour the country you'll find every province is approaching sustainable cuisine in its own way. Here are some stand-outs.
The 100-mile diet in British Columbia
BC locals Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon were the first to coin the idea of the 100-mile diet, and the movement has spread not just across the province, but across Canada. Those who live in British Columbia are blessed with excellent produce grown or harvested in their immediate area: the rivers and seas are filled with seafood, there's high-quality craft beer and wine made in BC, and the soil around Whistler in particular produces some of the best fruits and vegetables around.
Don't miss: Vancouver food identity Eric Pateman runs Edible Canada, a bistro on Granville Island that focuses on fresh, sustainable, local cuisine.
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Urban farming in Alberta
The people of Alberta didn't wait for the sustainable food movement to come to them: they started doing it themselves. Urban farming has become increasingly popular in Calgary and Edmonton, with the likes of Dirt Boys helping set up micro-farms in the inner city. Visitors can tap into this love of local produce by visiting a farmers' market – sites like the Calgary Farmers' Market, the Crossroads Market and the Hillhurst Sunnyside Market provide access to excellent produce.
Don't miss: River Café in Calgary was one of the city's first restaurants to embrace local, seasonal cuisine, and it continues to lead the way.
Farm Fresh Food Hub in Manitoba
To understand the obsession with fresh local produce in Winnipeg, you only have to visit the Farm Fresh Food Hub, a community-run farmers' market. Producers from the local area sell everything from bread to eggs, quinoa to berries. The appreciation for the locavore life spills over into Winnipeg's restaurant scene too, with the likes of Elements, Brazen Hall, ERA Bistro and VG Restaurant featuring produce sourced from the Winnipeg area.
Don't miss: Housed in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, ERA Bistro focuses on high-quality, organic, free-trade and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Look at that beautiful brunch spread! Here at ERA Bistro, we use fresh, locally sourced, Certified Fair Trade, and sustainable ingredients 🍎🌯😋 . . . . #meetmeattheforks #travelmb #eatlocal #atCMHR #finditdowntown #winnipeg #fairtrade #onthetable #wpgeats #farmtofork #Winnipegfoods #organic #fresh #allthingswinnipeg #onlyinthepeg #restaurant #food
Local cuisine in Ontario
Toronto, one of the world's most multicultural cities, has always had a dynamic food scene, but that culture has been accentuated recently by a move towards sustainably sourced ingredients. Ontario is known for its meat and dairy products, as well as locally made beer and wine, and diners will find these on an increasing array of restaurant menus led by the likes of Harvest Kitchen, Union, Woods Restaurant, and Ruby Watchco.
Don't miss: Celebrity chef Lynn Crawford's comfort-food restaurant Ruby Watchco has become a favourite thanks to its focus on market-sourced meat and veg.
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Sustainable fine-dining in Quebec
The Quebecois have always been into food: French settlers brought their culinary traditions with them, and a fusion of those styles with contemporary Canadian tastes has cemented the province as a gastronomic leader. Lately, however, the focus has swung to organic local ingredients, produced on small-scale local farms rather than being trucked in from afar. Farmers' markets have popped up throughout Quebec, and fine-dining restaurants such as Legende par la Taniere in Quebec City, and Joe Beef in Montreal, have begun featuring locally grown, organic produce.
Don't miss: Joe Beef is a leader in fine-dining cuisine with a locavore focus: most of the restaurant's vegetables are grown on site, and meat is sourced from local organic farms.
Locavore eating in Nova Scotia
It's no hardship being a locavore in Nova Scotia – this ocean-bound province produces some of the world's best seafood, which means you can feast on lobsters, scallops, oysters and fish, and stick to a sustainable, local diet. Nova Scotian chefs are making the most of this maritime bounty, while also accessing ingredients from small-scale farming projects that specialise in sustainably raised livestock, and organic fruit and vegetables.
Don't miss: Perhaps Nova Scotia's finest locavore eatery is the 12-seat Bite House restaurant, where all ingredients are either sourced from small independent farmers, foraged, or grown on-site.
Local oysters in Prince Edward Island
There's plenty of great local produce available on Prince Edward Island: excellent potatoes, as well as apples, berries, mushrooms and tomatoes. However, the island is known principally for its seafood, and in particular for its oysters. Malpeque oysters, farmed in Malpeque Bay, are the province's best known, and they're sold in restaurants and bars across the island.
Don't miss: Plenty of PEI restaurants serve local oysters, though probably the most famous is Carr's Oyster Bar in the town of Breadalbane.
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