Not only is it a privilege to travel from coast to coast across one of the greatest countries in the World, Canada, but to get to do it on a yearly basis with “Stars on Ice” is truly an honour. Starting in the Maritimes where the sea breeze blows a chill wind over Halifax, where people have an appetite for life and the crowd at a figure skating show is truly electrifying; all the way to quaint Victoria, the cast’s favourite stop on tour, where the sun is always shining (at least when we are there!) and the clean and charming ambiance is contagious.
Since I’ve done this tour many times, I have started mapping out my favourite veg places across this great country. I love to challenge myself and find a new veg place in every city I go to! Sometimes I’m successful, other times not so much, but it’s always a fun challenge! I have seen some great restaurants and cafes and tasted some spectacular food across Canada, but the thing that always strikes me the most is how great the people are. The vegan family is always willing to help one another, from offering me free food, to store owners answering my questions even while they are away on vacation in Florida, to even bringing me food at the venue even when their restaurant doesn’t offer a delivery service!
Here is a breakdown of some great places to eat throughout Canada if you want to try some great veg food. (Some places are vegan, some vegetarian and some just offer vegan or vegetarian options on their menus). I have provided links to each place so you can check them out in more detail (click on the linked title)!
This vegan restaurant opens early (9:30) which was a great bonus for me as I am an early morning go-getter. They have great service and a wide ranging menu. I opted for the Breakfast Bowl (I loved it when I got this in January during Nationals in Halifax so I had to try it one more time). It’s made with seitan bacon, potatoes, sautéed vegetables and their homemade dragon sauce. Their smoothies are also very refreshing and I downed a green smoothie quite quickly!
This is one of my favourite finds in Halifax. It is a restaurant just down the road from the rink and it serves creative dishes made from as much local ingredients as possible. It also has meals on the menu labelled as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. The service is always cheerful and speedy and during the National Championships in January they were giving 10% off to anyone with a credential for the event (Bonus!). I love their nachos, although whenever I asked for extra cheese, I still found the cheese extremely sparse. Their vegan lentil burger was delicious and it’s served on a nice thin bun, so the bread doesn’t overtake the beauty of the burger. I got the chickpea salad to go as I was planning on eating it for lunch the next day, but it sat nicely for two days in my fridge because I forgot about it, but it still tasted fresh and zesty when I finally remembered it was there!
The vegan/vegetarian find is in a cute little neighbourhood that I had never visited in Ottawa, Westboro. It is trendy and hip and I loved walking around as I waited for my take-out to be ready. My husband and I split the poutine and it was lovely. The mushroom gravy was thick and the abundance of cheese made this “cheese” lover very happy. I loved the poutine, but I think Bruno might have even loved it more then me! I also enjoyed the Warrior Bowl, which included most of my favourite foods: avocado, chickpeas, quinoa and greens. It got even better when I realized how amazing their dynamite sauce was! The restaurant was full so our take away took a long time, but I went across the street to a local pet store and got some goodies for my dog and cat back home.
This is a hidden gem in the Kensington Market. It’s what I’d consider Toronto’s most amazing vegan bakery (and they have quite a few!). I took a nice walk there one evening hoping to find some goodies to bring to the show the next day and share with all the other skaters. I know they make a creative cornflake cookie, delightful cupcakes, a mean gingerbread carrot muffin (which I have featured in my recipe section!) and many other scrumptious treats and my mouth was watering as I walked to the bakery. Sadly, it was 7:00 PM and the store was getting ready to close and I didn’t think this plan through very well. All that was left was their butter tarts. I had never tried their butter tarts so I tried to stay positive about this and I bought a few of them and ventured back to my hotel. I meant to share them with the cast, but by the time I was back at the hotel 2 butter tarts had gone missing! (Into my tummy of course!)
I have been meaning to try Doug’s Public Kitchen for years. I have heard that Doug is one of the best vegan chefs in Toronto and I love that he uses organic and local ingredients as he tries to create unique and healthy vegan dishes. My friend Lucas brought Kaitlyn and I to the restaurant before Toronto’s show and we were lucky enough to meet Doug and taste so many of his creations. He brought us endless food, including mac and cheese, raw pizza on buckwheat and sunflower seed crust and a chickpea melt on sprouted toast. Doug’s food and presentation is what I’d consider “All-Star Plant-Based”.
Now, a vegetarian or vegan (Or a hipster or foodie for that matter) can’t go to Toronto without visiting Fresh. I go every year with my parents on Saturday morning after Toronto’s show. They have a small brunch menu, which consists mostly of pancakes, but their juice and smoothies are enjoyable plus they offer their complete menu during brunch so you have more options. I got their full breakfast which consisted of scrambled tofu with spinach, tempeh bacon and toast. We also got quinoa onion rings for the table, but they disappeared very quickly and we needed to get a second bowl of them. I have had their cookbook for years and always want to try making their quinoa onion rings so I have vowed that this summer I’m going to try! Fresh also offers desserts from Sweets from the Earth! This company has been so great to me in the past, even sending a big box of goodies to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for me a few years ago.
This vegan bakery is located in Burlington, but thanks to the help of my friend Lucas, he contacted them and picked up a huge box of cupcakes on his way to watch Hamilton’s show, which they gladly donated to the cast of Stars on Ice. (Yes, I lived most of tour on a sugar high from all these amazing vegan treats I’ve been getting!)
This restaurant and delivery service deserves an A+. I found them online and sent the restaurant an email explaining my situation. We drive into London for the day, do the show in the early afternoon and leave back to Toronto directly after the show. I don’t have time in London to go venturing out and checking out veg finds, so I messaged Plant Matters hoping that they had a delivery service in place and that they could deliver me some lunch and dinner to the venue. The owner called me to let me know that he is in Florida on vacation but they are more then happy to help me. They are a new business and just starting so they offered to send me some food to the venue, to be delivered by someone that worked at the store. I told them that I’d appreciate anything and to surprise me! Not only did they bring me a huge box of food, including a t-shirt, they refused to accept any money for the food or the delivery. They were happy to help me and spread the word about their new enterprise. Huge bonus points from me and their food, which included a smoothie, an Indian spiced wrap, salad and a box of cookies, balls and cinnamon buns (which I shared with the cast, as I needed a break from sweets!) was so delicious and made entirely with clean, whole foods.
This is a trendy little café and bakery that has a few locations around Winnipeg, including one directly beside our hotel. The cast and crew ate here everyday, and many times two or three times a day. They have all day breakfast, which attracts a lot of costumers. Their menu is neatly labelled with vegan options as well as almond and soy milk options. I love when restaurants offer these selections, so I can go with my friends that aren’t vegans to eat and I can still enjoy it! I got the Vegan Mexican Breakfast for 3 days straight! Beans, breakfast patties, spinach, mushrooms and green onions on top of a tortilla wrap and yummy guacamole on the side. It’s worth nothing that the servers were very knowledgeable, as I asked for their homemade spelt toast and she came back 2 minutes later to let me know that the spelt bread has a very small amount of buttermilk powder in it and since I ordered the vegan breakfast she thought she’d let me know that the bread wasn’t entirely vegan. What a gem! I was very thankful to her for letting me know and I enjoyed my Mexican breakfast without toast. They also have a selection of refreshing smoothies which were a big hit with everyone in the mornings.
During my research of Edmonton’s vegan scene (on happycow of course!) I stumbled upon this all-vegan pub! With real pub foods! I was so excited to visit this place and when I told my brother, who lives in Edmonton about it, he said he had been there before and didn’t even know it was vegan! I didn’t eat lunch as I was saving my stomach for this greasy vegan version of pub foods. I don’t normally eat such greasy food, but this was a one-time occasion and I wanted to make sure I tasted everything! We ordered a big starter of nachos, with extra cheese and pulled pork. The pulled pork was made out of potatoes and had some amazing BBQ sauce. The plate was huge but between 3 of us, we ate pretty much all of it. We also ordered a starter of spinach dip to share, but I got my hopes up that the spinach dip would be warm and sadly it wasn’t, so I didn’t care for it so much. I got their lime tacos and my brother got their avocado tacos, and both were great. The curry dish that Jessica, my brother’s girlfriend got was good as well but we were all so full from that huge plate of nachos that we couldn’t finish everything!
This is my standard vegan stop when I’m in Edmonton, and since we had already had dinner we decided to stop by Clever Rabbit for some of their famous cinnamon buns for dessert. Their website said they closed at 8:30 and since it wasn’t even 8:00 yet we figured we had plenty of time. Sadly, when we arrived, the store had already closed. The sign on their door said they closed at 8;00, not 8:30 and it was only 7:40 but the store was closed up. This frustrated me but I took the chance and asked the ladies cleaning up inside if they had any cinnamon buns left. Much to my surprise, they brought me two fresh and warm cinnamon buns and I took them back to my hotel. I ate half of one that evening, the other half the next day and the second one another day later. Talk about self control!! I will need a dentist appointment when I get home from all the sweets and treats I’ve been eating on the road!!
This is a new café that opened up in Saskatoon and luckily it was about a 5-minute walk from my hotel. I loved the concept and design of the store as well as their inspired menu. I had a hard time picking out what I wanted to try, as the oatmeal espresso bowl was screaming my name! But since I had already had my share of caffeine for the day, I went with the summer rolls with peanut sauce and the very yogini bowl, a falafel dish with cashew walnut tzatziki and brown rice. It was very enjoyable and I’m already looking forward to going back next year to try that oatmeal espresso bowl!
I’m never in Calgary long, we do a matinee show and we arrive right before the show and leave the next morning on to the next city. I rarely have time to explore as much as I’d like to. This year I planned a great dinner with old friends and my friend suggested that I try “The Coup’. I had looked at their website many times and I already knew what I wanted to try! Cajun tempeh sticks, rosemary yam fries and the upstream burger, made with cashews, yam and seeds. To top off the dinner, we all shared a chocolate peanut butter ice cream cookie sandwich. Our server even let us stay long past closing as we nibbled on that ice cream sandwich. Great place and I look forward to going back.
I called ahead and placed an order here and when I arrived 15 minutes later my food was prepared and ready to go. I loved the unique menu here, as all the dishes were named with a mantra. I ordered the “I am awesome” which was a carrot bun with coconut butter, the “I am admirable” which was their daily stew (pasta and veggies) and the “I am grateful” which was cashew cheese kale tacos. I loved how when she gave me my order she told me “Meagan, you are awesome, grateful and admirable”. I also enjoyed the atmosphere, each table had a selection of board games and cards and the owner had her dog there with her. There’s even a sign hanging in the door “We are closed from 3:30-4:30 for sunshine and dog walks”. Right up my alley!
A vegan pizza/pasta place that delivered! I thought I was in heaven. Sadly, it turned into a bit of frustration pretty quickly. I called at around 3:00 to place an order to be delivered to the arena in Vancouver at 6:00. My show was at 7:00 so it gave me time to eat a bit before warming up for the show. At 6:00 I was waiting at the gate for my delivery and by 6:15 it still hadn’t arrived. I knew traffic was bad and it was a Friday, so when I called the restaurant and they told me that she was on her way, I figured it wouldn’t be to much longer. Sadly, by 6:40 she still was not there with my order and she wasn’t answering the phone number that the store had provided me with to contact her. We had to be on the ice for the show at 7:00 and I wasn’t sure what to do. I needed to eat something and I was banking on this being my dinner. I had no choice but to leave my credit card with the security guard at the gate, entrusting her to pay for my food whenever it arrived and to text me to notify me and I’d come, or send someone to go collect it from it. Finally, at 6:50 my food arrived, 50 minutes later then scheduled. I was really unhappy with my service and lack of dinner but as soon as I started eating my caesar salad and meatball and mushroom lasagna I quickly forgave them. The food was amazing! Next time I’ll be sure to go to the store to pick it up though.
This modern foods restaurant in Victoria seems to be a big hit locally, as every time I go there it is full! They have carefully labelled dishes as vegetarian or vegan and a wonderful smoothie and juice bar. On this particular morning it was pretty chilly, so I opted for a warm juice made with apples, ginger, lemon and pear. I loved their sesame kale salad last year when I was there, so I picked that again. The sesame tahini dressing is very good and I tried to recreate it at home and it wasn’t quite the same. Rebar has a great selection of sweets and treats as well, but by this point I didn’t even have a sweet tooth anymore. I’ve had way to much desserts during my vegan adventures on this tour and decided I’ll wait until next time for Rebar’s dessert selection.