With the kids out of school and summer in full swing, many Canadians are hearing the call of the great outdoors. And 2017 is the perfect year for it since all National Parks and Historic Sites have free admission as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebration.
Maybe you made your camping or RV reservations months ago. Or perhaps you’re headed to a family cabin or that perfect, last-minute spot. Regardless, you’ll need to bring plenty with you. That includes camping essentials, food, and probably a few luxuries and toys. [If luxury camping is really your thing, also check out our Ultimate Glamping Guide]
For all your camping stock-up needs, London Drugs is here to help with this Ultimate Canadian Camping Shopping List.
What could be more essential than protecting your skin from outdoor dangers? During the day, that means the sun’s harmful UV rays. Start with limiting exposure and wearing a hat. Of course, you should also apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Just in case that’s not enough to prevent a sunburn, pack some after-sun salve with aloe vera.
In the evening and at night, you’ll want to be on guard to prevent insect bites. Keep them at bay with insect repellant, (we have a wide selection of lotions and sprays with varying active ingredients; find the one that’s right for you and your family). There are also nets, clip-ons, and candles that offer additional protection.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at a campsite without a key piece of gear. Chances are you won’t forget your tent, but it’s worth checking to ensure you have enough sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets. It never hurts to pack one or two extras, just in case. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than a very cold night in a tent.
Another essential category of gear for your Canadian Camping Shopping List is cookware. This starts with sturdy pots and pans, but also includes plates, utensils, and drinkware. The best cookware for camping is light, durable, and easy to clean. Also, make sure you have enough coolers to keep all your supplies the right temperature in the woods. Finally, don’t get caught in the dark: be sure to bring enough lanterns and flashlights for everyone.
One way to help make the outdoors cozier and more like home is to bring your own generator. Sure, skeptics might say this goes against the main benefit of camping–escaping civilization. But sometimes it’s nice to take a brief break from roughing it to blow dry your hair or watch a movie with the family. Another must-have for many is a small camping stove or grill. Yes, you can cook over an open fire. But it’s not always convenient, particularly for making coffee or toast. Fire bans should also be strictly adhered to, so a camp stove might be your best option. Also be sure to bring enough propane to run your stove during your trip. Pro tip: don’t be afraid to go big. There’s nothing worse than running out of fuel on day 3 of 5.
Even when roughing it, it’s okay to bring more than the bare essentials. For example, you’ll need enough camping chairs (since no one wants to stand around a campfire for hours). But you’ll get so much use out of it, why not spring for a deluxe model? Like one that literally rocks, one made for a baby, or one that has extra support and a built-in table. Another way to elevate your campsite is with a hand pump for a standard water cooler jug. That way, you won’t need to run to a tap or river for water, or worry about what might be in it. Fill-ups for these bottles are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than single-use bottled water. too. Finally, whether for appreciating wildlife and nature views, or keeping an eye on the little ones, a good pair of binoculars is an amazing camping extra to have around.
The most important thing to do when camping is staying comfy and well-fed. The second is to have fun. Okay, the order here might be debatable. The point is, having a few extra toys around is nice, especially in the water. One incredibly popular activity on local lakes is stand-up paddle boarding. But if you prefer inflatables designed to be pulled around the lake by a boat (the old fashioned way) we’re with you too! There are also lounge and group floaties for those who prefer to just hang out. They even come in some pretty entertaining designs. If you have any inflatables, consider also grabbing an automatic inflator. Trust us, your lungs will thank you. For times when you’re not in the water, be sure to stock up on other classic camping games like badminton, bocce, or ladder toss.
The most important part of your Canadian Camping Shopping List should include lots of great food. Really, it’s one of the best parts about camping. Doing some basic meal prepping in advance, and shopping for fresh local produce, will help make sure you don’t end up eating only hot dogs. Plan accordingly! The real draw of camping food is the snacks, and the main event is always the s’mores. At London Drugs we carry the three basic ingredients of the perfect s’more, including a hearty selection of the keystone ingredient: chocolate. Raise your snacking game to a pro level with anything from dried fruit, nuts and meat snacks to chips, crackers, cookies, and candy. Honestly, we have so many perfect camping snacks, we couldn’t begin to list them all here. You’ll just have to come look for yourself in-store or online.
No matter what you bring along, the most important part of camping is who you share it with. London Drugs wishes you, your friends, and family the best camping season ever. Keep safe, and have a blast.
London Drugs also knows not everyone is lucky enough to only worry about camping supplies this summer. To donate to the Red Cross to support the ongoing BC forest fire relief effort: click here.
If you’re anything like us, you find yourself sucked into the Instagram rabbit hole every once in a while. And who can blame you? Not only is Instagram a fantastic way to discover new events, products and companies, but the popular social media platform also provides a way to unwind and appreciate truly spectacular photography.
The following list features some of Canada’s own local talent, allowing us to visually explore the country’s great mountains, grasslands, oceans, food, and people. Get inspired and check out these fourteen amazing Canadian photographers on Instagram. You can also discover these and other great images using #BeautifulCanada.
Based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Martina Gutfreund posts colourful, breathtaking scenes of the snow-capped Rockies and peaceful Provincial Parks in her area, all alongside her furry travel companions.
Hailing from Vancouver Island and the Edmonton area, Brie and Reuben are a Vancouver-based photography duo with an eye for adventure.
Flo Lum takes stunning photographs of Vancouver, BC and the surrounding Lower Mainland. She has a way of using interesting angles and mixing up her feed with images of nature, food, and family.
Karlynn Johnston is a food and travel writer from Edmonton who takes titillating food photographs of her cookbook creations as well as delicacies from her travels across the country and abroad.
An avid explorer of BC, Brayden Hall is an adventure photographer and professional drone pilot who captures stunning aerial photos of the province’s most beautiful landscapes.
Husband to Flo Lum (what a team!), Dan Lum takes incredible photos of the British Columbia wilderness and landscape. His way of using perspective always tells an intricate story in each photograph, from sea to sky, forest to mountains.
A resident of the Northwest Territories for almost a decade, Adam Hill’s images of the True North reveal mesmerizing waves of aurora and intricate portraits of wildlife. His work has been featured in Canadian Geographic and Outdoor Photographer Magazine, to name a few.
If you haven’t been following the photo adventures of Andrew Knapp and his adorable border collie Momo, you’ve been missing out. By incorporating his canine companion into gorgeous wilderness backdrops, he’s created a new style of travel photography.
Based in Vancouver, Emma Choo shares delectable photographs of her city’s amazing international and local cuisine. Her photos are vibrant, enticing, and guaranteed to make you drool.
JongSun Park is a Vancouver-based photographer keeping a daily photo diary of his life. From cafés, antique shops, and motorcycles, JongSun captures the city from a vintage-inspired lens that takes you back in time.
From Canmore, Alberta, Chris Sheremata’s photographs range from serene lake views to incredible glacial ascents, and from hypnotizing starry mountain skies to collaborative bouldering adventures.
Not only do Brooke Willson’s photographs feature inspiring mountain ranges and sprawling waterfront views, but the inclusion of her dog Timber appeals to all the dog lovers who never leave home without their pup.
Paul Zizka is an award-winning landscape and adventure photographer hailing from Banff, Alberta. He has has explored the peaks of his native Rockies and beyond, all while capturing the natural beauty of the surrounding ice, rock, sea, and sky.
As Canadians, we are pretty darn proud of our culinary contributions to the world. We’re the nation that created poutine, Nanaimo bars, butter tarts, and maple syrup, so yeah, we take our food pretty seriously. Snacking is no different. What follows is an ode to these Quintessentially Canadian Snacks. Happy Canada Day!
Is there anything more satisfying than polishing off a mini (or standard) bag of these almost too-red chips? Bonus, the stains on your fingers last for as long as the memory of that undefinably zingy and salty faux-ketchup taste.
A texture unlike any other cheez-infused snack food on the market. A bold, in-your-face flavour that says: “I dare you to question my origin”. A crunch that can be heard for miles. Hawkins Cheezies are one of a kind and quintessentially Canadian.
The hard candy shell on a Smarties offering is superior to the candy shell on an M&Ms. Phew. Someone finally said it. These truly snackable treats are ideal constituents of a homemade, not very healthy trail mix.
The existence of these chips demonstrates the principle that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. And greater, it is. The tang and zip of these vibrantly orange ridged chips keep Canadians coming back for just one more handful, until the bag holds nothing but fond, salty memories.
Lighter-than-air wafer surrounded by a cloud of coffee-flavoured cream makes the Coffee Crisp a delight to eat. Pro tip, for the best chocolate-to-filling ratio, go for the fun size.
A very hard, but somehow also crumbly biscuit base cut into a unique geometric form that can only be described as a wavy square. These Christie brand crackers offer a pleasurable snap when eating, and come in quintessentially Canadian chip flavours like Ketchup, All-Dressed, and Salt & Vinegar.
As you prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, consider adding a quintessentially Canadian snack food to your barbecue spread, and remember that part of what makes Canada great is how strange we all are. Happy Canada Day!
When we think of Canadian cuisine, there are staple dishes–both sweet and savoury–that immediately come to mind.
While Canada is known for creating the poutine and Hawaiian pizza (among other delicacies), not everyone has grown up with these familiar local flavours. So whether the following dishes bring back fond childhood memories or this is your first ever time trying them out, these recipes are bound to have you brimming with Canadian pride this July 1st. Bring them to a Canada Day barbecue, share them with your coworkers and classmates, or simply whip up a batch to enjoy yourself.
The butter tart may be taken for granted as a regular dessert choice in Canadian households, but for some it is a sweet and flaky treat that may be overlooked. Everyone should experience this luxurious–and simple to make–national dessert that is popular year-round, and enjoyed by all.
[Find the recipe at Cooking the Globe]
Bannock–a traditional Aboriginal bread–is made up of flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, and can be made savoury or sweet depending on your tastebuds.
[Find the recipe at Family Feedbag]
Maple is the spotlight of our nation’s flag, and is used as a natural sweetener in many dishes and as a popular condiment across the country. This sugar pie recipe truly makes maple syrup the star, and will be loved by anyone with a sweet tooth.
[Find the recipe at Seasons & Suppers]
Of course, you can’t talk about Canadian cuisine without bringing up poutine. Originating in Quebec, the extremely satisfying combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy can now be enjoyed across the globe.
[Find the recipe at Half Baked Harvest]
Nanaimo bars are the intensely sweet and creamy dessert named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia. Although they may appear complex, these no-bake bars can be whipped up quickly (and devoured just as fast).
[Find the recipe at Liv for Cake]
While tourtiere is a traditional Quebecois savoury pie filled with pork, veal, and beef, this recipe can also be tweaked to cater to curious vegetarians. Whether you keep the meat or not, this classic French pie is sure to appease your appetite.
[Find the recipe at Saveur]
Timbits (bite-sized donut holes made by Tim Hortons) are a staple in many a Canadian diet, and if not–or at least a guilty pleasure. Thankfully, you no longer have to hide the Timmy’s box from coworkers and friends–you can now make them in the privacy of your home!
[Find the recipe at Port and Fin]
Despite its name, Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple) was actually created by a Canadian back in the ‘60s, making this exotic-sounding pizza a true Canadian classic. Really amp up the Canadian spirit by substituting the ham for Canadian bacon.
[Find the recipe at Eat In Eat Out]
If you’re lucky enough to have lived or visited the East Coast, you’ll understand the hype around lobster rolls. This recipe is simple, traditional, and can even be made with frozen or canned lobster if you can’t get your hands on a fresh Nova Scotian crustacean.
[Find the recipe at Food Gypsy]
Canadians love the outdoors. Winter through autumn (yes, that’s how we say it), we spend plenty of time among the woods, mountains and streams.
We love nature so much that to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, each citizen can request a free National Parks Pass.
We Canadians know about outdoor winter safety, emergency preparedness, and first aid. Still, there have been times when we wish we’d brought something else outdoors with us. The perfect tool, treat, or technology to make the day better. Yup, we’ve learned some mighty hard lessons.
9. Hand Warmers: We happily put up with a lot in Canada to enjoy time outside, but cold fingertips are not high on that list. Sometimes, gloves and mittens alone don’t cut it. And they aren’t practical for certain activities. For those times, we’re glad to have hand warmers. The heat is created by rapidly oxidizing iron inside the packs. But we mainly care about how great it is to have access to literal pockets of warmth all day.
8. A Can Opener: Some resourceful Canadians are able to open a can using a pocket knife or even a rock. But nothing opens cans quite like a can opener, and few forgotten items are more of a pain to do without. You can also take eating outdoors to the next level with the Eat’N Tool, an all-in-one cutlery tool that doubles as both a screwdriver and a wrench!
7. Portable Phone Charger: Some might wonder why you’d need a phone in the woods. There are at least two good reasons. The first is to keep your social media game on point. But the other, of course, is to use the phone in case of emergency. So make sure to bring backup power. That way, you won’t have to worry about using up battery life getting the perfect waterfall shot.
6. A Watch: While it’s true a phone can be great outdoors, for the reasons listed above and others, one thing we hate to be without in the woods is a plain old-fashioned wristwatch. You shouldn’t have to pull your phone out just to check the time. Plus, outdoor and adventure watches often have other handy functions. One of the best features is that they’re generally much more waterproof than a phone!
5. This Survival Bracelet: You can file this under ‘stuff we didn’t know we always wanted until we found out it exists.’ This simple looking bracelet, designed by Gerber with help from Bear Grylls, is more than a fashion statement. It contains 12 feet of incredibly strong nylon paracord. You can use it to get out of any number of scrapes, unless you leave it at home.
4. Adhesive Tensor: It goes without saying you should bring a first aid kit wherever you go. But one thing you’ll be glad to have in it is this adhesive bandage that attaches right to the skin to provide extra joint stability. Since you never know when you’ll twist an ankle, it’s better to just keep this around.
3. Calorie-Dense Snacks: When you’re exerting significant energy outdoors, whether you’re hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, or biking, a hunger-killing snack is just what you need. We’re talking energy bars, dried fruit, granola, that sort of thing. If you don’t pack such a snack, you could easily become fatigued. Or worse, you might get hangry.
2. Duct Tape: Is there a problem duct tape can’t help to solve? Probably. But we haven’t found very many so far. From fixing equipment to patching a tent, and so much more, duct tape absolutely has you covered. We never like to be caught without it in the great outdoors. Actually, we prefer not to be without it anywhere.
1. Fresh Dry Socks: There are so many threats to foot comfort in the Canadian outdoors. Cold weather, combined with more rivers and lakes than any country in the world, means your toes are likely to get wet and/or cold. So you’ll be glad to have an extra pair of socks in your backpack any time of year.
Winter home maintenance tasks are sometimes neglected, partly because – understandably – many Canadians prefer to bundle up during the winter weather and await the spring.
But as tempting as such behaviour is, doing so can create safety hazards, cause lasting damage to your home, and potentially even void your home insurance.
Responsible homeowners know home maintenance is required all year-round. Here, we’ve included a few hopefully helpful reminders on winter home care.
Let’s start with an obvious one: you must clear your driveway and sidewalk, then coat both with enough salt or de-icer to keep them from becoming slippery.
We say it’s obvious – but you wouldn’t know it by looking at all the white walkways out there, especially in areas less prone to heavy snow. But a slippery driveway or sidewalk is a hazard to you, your friends and family, and even strangers. So this one is truly a must.
If shovelling is difficult for you, consider buying an ergonomic or improved snow shovel, upgrading to a snow blower, shovelling during (not only after) heavy snowfalls, or using the classic Canadian technique of hiring the neighbour’s kid (or a reputable local business) to keep your walkways clear.
Many of us spend more time thinking about interior decoration and yard maintenance than the very structure our homes rest on: the foundation.
Our indifference can cause trouble because foundations are not as solid as we like to believe. They can be damaged by the elements, especially during winter. The main threat is melting snow and ice that seeps into, alongside, or under the foundation. As it re-freezes, the water expands, creating immense pressure that can crack even the thickest cement.
To prevent this, as well as get ahead of spring flooding issues, walk often around your home to ensure snow and ice are not collecting alongside it. If you see any, shovel it away.
Bonus Tip: In the spring, look for pooling water near the foundation. That’s where it’s most threatened and where drainage should be improved.
Remember the rickety handrail, the loose stair, the step without traction? Yes, that one. Last summer it was not as big a deal, though still a concern. But in the winter, it can mean the difference between catching yourself mid-slip or bumping your way down to the landing.
Those aren’t tough options to choose between, and neither is the decision about whether to fix and weather-proof your steps. Just do it. Your tailbone, or someone else’s, will thank you later.
A good place to start is by laying traction tape on all your stairs to give boots extra grip. Other repairs may require more work, but most can largely be done with simple tools like a hammer, nails, a circular saw, screws, and a drill. If in doubt, give a handyman a ring.
Of course, you’ll also want to keep all stairs and steps free of snow and ice.
The rows of glistening icicles dangling from your home’s gutters are beautiful to look at. But they’re also a sure sign you’re developing an ice dam that could prevent water from flowing through the downspout.
Don’t let ice dams cause flooding, a damaged gutter system, or even injuries from falling ice. Instead, stay on top of the situation. Luckily, there are two main ways to deal with ice dams.
The first and easiest way is by installing de-icing wires in your gutters that can be used as needed to melt away ice dams as they develop. If winter has already started, it may be too late to install the wires.
In this case, the main approach is to chip the ice away by hand. Just be sure your ladder is secure and strongly consider having a spotter present to help you.
During summer in Canada, an air conditioner is nice. But a heater in winter? That’s a necessity. Depending on the heating system you have, there is plenty to consider.
One of the first is ensuring all exterior vents are flowing freely and do not become clogged with snow or ice. Otherwise, the added pressure could damage your entire HVAC system. Also, always leave your heat on and set to at least 12 degrees, especially if you leave for a trip. Otherwise, your indoor pipes can freeze!
Beyond that, an annual check of your heating system and any necessary maintenance or cleaning must be done during winter, if not sooner. This may include having your chimney swept or changing your furnace filter.
These tips are intended to provide a nudge toward protecting your property and everyone in or around it this winter. But you can never be 100% risk-free.
Stay safe and enjoy our amazing winters, Canada.
Despite complaints of how it “lasts half the year,” we Canadians love our winters. In fact, we’re proud of them. They’re wonderful for curling up at home, visiting family and friends, and playing in the snow.
But our winter has a dark side with the risk of power outs, frostbite, vehicle mishaps, and more. As with any danger, the key is good preparation. Here are some helpful checklists for winter safety indoors, outdoors, and on the road. They’ll help you survive a Canadian winter in style:
√ Blackout Basics: Home is the coziest place to be during winter. Until there’s a power outage, that is. That’s when you’ll need three days of food and water, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered radio, candles, flashlights, and a few board games, too.
√ Fire Logs: When waiting out cold snaps and nasty colds alike, a roaring fire makes your home into a sanctuary. But maintaining a woodpile can be impractical. Luckily, artificial logs burn for hours. No fireplace? Grab a space heater, instead.
√ A Generator: During prolonged blackouts, a generator can power all your survival essentials, like the heaters we mentioned before and so much more. Just keep it full of fuel and stored away. Even if you never need to use it, it’s great to know it’s there.
√ Large Flashlight: If your car is stuck or can’t be driven safely, you might need to flag down assistance or head for nearby help on foot. In those cases, you’ll be glad to have a large, very bright flashlight to ensure you’re easily seen.
√ Quality Scraper & Shovel: Don’t be forced to push snow around with your boot or use the old credit card window-cleaning trick this winter. Get a full-sized shovel and a quality scraper, instead. You’ll thank yourself later.
√ A GPS Tracker: Planning a long winter car trip? There’s a good chance you’ll leave cellular reception far behind. So it’s always smart to let someone know where you’re headed. Even better? Give them the ability to track you via satellite.
√ Warming Pads: Being outdoors is exhilarating in the wintertime. But before long, your fingers and toes will start smarting. Or worse, they’ll become numb. Keep the fun going with heating pads for your hands and feet.
√ Insulated Drink Container: Canadians know the only thing better than a warm drink at home is one outdoors. If you’re headed out beyond the coffee shops (difficult in Canada, we know), a quality insulated container, like this one from Thermos, will save the day.
√ Phone Charger: You’ve been out all day taking and sharing pictures of your winter fun when you suddenly realize your battery is getting low. Sound familiar? For safety and convenience, carry a pocket-sized phone charger wherever you go.
Stay safe and enjoy the winter, everyone.