What Canada Souvenirs can I buy – I had this question in mind before visiting Canada. After all the travels, I am not much inclined to buy T-shirts or caps carrying the names of the destinations. I want something authentic, something that has strands of culture in it. Thanks to my discovery of First Nations Culture in British Columbia, there was no dearth of Canada souvenirs to pick.
Souvenirs Shopping in Canada
Of course, there are other Canada souvenirs too that I found for you guys.
As I explained in my detailed post on First Nations, wooden masks depicting various animals and characters are an integral part of First Nations Culture. You can buy these masks based on your preference. I liked the Thunderbird masks a lot but then you choose the mask you like. Masks are available in sizes that are fit for dancing with them and in miniature forms for collectors
If you have been reading my posts on Canada, you would know that I am fascinated by the Totem Poles I saw everywhere. I wanted to bring back one – but ones I liked were mostly huge poles. You can again buy them in plain wood or in colored forms. Miniature poles are also available at some shops. I also wanted to make sure that at home these Totem Poles should be treated with the respect that they deserve.
I picked up a fridge magnet depicting a Thunderbird Totem Pole and a bookmark showcasing one. Although, I think I have so many images that I can make some of my own bookmarks.
Cedar Wood Souvenirs
These are boxes made by bending a single plank of wood. You can buy small boxes in most curio shops. The boxes may look simple but it is the way they are manufactured that makes them special.
Bark baskets & Artifacts
Cedar Tree is central to First Nations Cultures. They call it the tree of life and use different parts of Cedar Tree for making different things. You can buy some of these as souvenirs. Baskets are the easiest souvenirs to carry. I brought back a bracelet made from Cedar Tree Bark.
I think small curios like a canoe made of cedar tree bark and decorated with flowers made from bark look beautiful.
Pocket Spirits – Metal coins with Protective Signs
These are small coin-sized metallic pieces with various signs carved on them. You can choose the one you think you need and keep it as a protective Pocket Spirit in your wallet. Choices include – Healing, Wisdom, Creativity, Love Strength, Peace, Leadership, Energy, Dedication, Grace, Power, Loyalty.
You can also get these as lockets to wear it on you. They are called spirit totems.
Across various souvenir shops in BC I saw that Love and Healing are the most popular pocket spirits. They were always short of those coins. Does it not tell us what we are looking for in life as a human species?
These can be a good wish gesture that is easy on the pocket.
Stone Totems – A Popular Canada Souvenir
The Stone Totems are the stone version of metal Pocket spirits. These are pebbles that have the spiritual signs engraved on them with a word that tells you what the sign can potentially bring to your life. The words were the same as pocket spirits.
You can also find just motifs on the shining stones.
Medicine Stone Jewelry is another form to carry positivity and strength from stones with you. I think as a traveler this would be my choice of BC Souvenir or First Nations Souvenir.
I would choose these to keep at home or in the workplace to invite positive energy.
Woven Blankets or Carpets
Roughly woven woolen shawls or blankets with First Nations Motifs are a lovely way to bring this traditional art form home. First nations weaving techniques that use a stone spindle are being revived. You can buy the handwoven pieces and use them as you like.
I would love to use them as wall pieces – a reminder of the past.
Micro-Bead work jewelry is common to most aboriginal people. They weave beautiful patterns in colorful small beads. You can see jewelry made out of these woven small beads or see them decorating footwear.
Books on First Nations
If you are as curious as I am with First Nations – pick up some books to learn more about their culture and anthropology.
First Nations Art on things like Bags and Wallets & Fridge Magnets
You can buy the everyday use items like bags, wallets, pen stands, etc with lovely First Nations motifs on them.
Fun Things to Buy as Canada Souvenirs
The Inukshuk is a set of stone arranged on top of each other. It is a symbol used in mountains for marking the paths and for commemorating events. This iconic symbol was the emblem for the Vancouver Olympics 2010 and can be seen in many places. I was fascinated by this symbol that looks like a standing man. I have seen similar stacks of stones in Indian Himalayas too.
You can get Inukshuk in wood, in stone, and in precious stones.
I brought back Inukshuk as Jade locket & I love wearing it.
Fur Shoes & Gloves
Fur Shoes look light on feet but would keep you warm in the coldest of the climates. I saw different designs of fur shoes across Vancouver and British Columbia.
An interesting innovation I saw was texting gloves in fur that leave your fingertips open for you to manage your phone while covering the rest of your hands.
I avoid buying animal products so did not buy any. But, if you have no such apprehensions, go ahead and buy yourself some fluffy fur stuff.
Every souvenir shop in British Columbia has a bunch of dream catchers. Actually, I found them a lot in Bali as well, so maybe they are the latest totems that people like to wear.
Dream catchers as earrings is cool and wearable of thing to bring back.
Contemporary Jewelry as Souvenirs from Canada
Fine Filigree Jewelry
Till I saw these finely carved pieces of jewelry by Tess Klein in Vancouver. I believed that this is a fine art that belongs to Odisha in India but art it seems traveled much before I did.
Modern artisans are carving this latticed fine jewelry in gold, silver, sterling silver and copper. These are lightweight, delicate and elegant pieces fit for modern living. With their contemporary style, they are a good buy from Canada for modern and young people.
Stone & Bone Jewelry
At Granville Island public market I found so many artists working on making jewelry on stone, in wood, and in animal bones. They made these lovely motifs on different materials – difficult to resist, believe me. It is fascinating to see a piece being crafted right in front of you. When you know the labor and craft that has gone into making it look that beautiful, you value such souvenirs.
In most souvenir shops you would find Jade souvenirs including the Inukshuks I mentioned earlier. There is a wide range of choice you have from Jewelry to mementos in various motifs.
In a store called ‘Jade’, I saw this big carved stone almost my height.
Did you know Canada has Jade Mines & it exports a lot of Jade to China?
Now that is another reason to pick up a piece of Jade as Canada Souvenir.
Maple Themed Souvenirs from Canada
Maple Leaf Artifacts
The Maple leaf is the symbol of Canada. We all associate it strongly with the country. It is obvious that you can get all kinds of souvenirs with the Maple Leaf Motif. I loved the one I found carved in wood. You can, of course, get it on every possible souvenir from Canada from fridge magnets to T-shirts to towels.
Maple – Foodie Souvenirs from Canada
- Maple Fudge – You can get this fresh as a block. Just pick it up in a market and gorge on it. At the Public Market in Granville, I saw this amazing array of fudges. I tried the maple one – found it too sweet for my taste but I am sure those of you with a sweet tooth would love it.
To carry back you can buy well-packed fudge. Option Maple loaded options include Tarts and Lollipops
- Maple Syrup – Kitchen challenged that I am, I have no idea how the Maple Syrup is used in food, but I loved the maple leaf shaped bottles filled with Maple Syrup. Use the Maple Syrup (google How) and then use the bottle to store your favorite fragrances or oils.
Spices & Sea Salts
At the public markets, I saw these beautifully packed sea salt and spice bottles. There were so many flavors of sea salt that you would be spoilt for choice. Now, these are usual spices that even a novice like me can use but in different combinations. I think these are wonderful gifts from Canada for those who love to cook – you might get a nicely cooked meal in return.
John Fluevog Shoes
I would not have discovered this but for my friend Peter. He said, everyone, he has brought to this shop ended up buying the shoes. I did not buy the shoes but I ended up discovering a local brand. Yes, John Fluevog is a local Vancouver brand that designs and manufactures shoes for men and women. This cult brand now has stores across North America and Europe.
- Stone Messages – These are cute stones with some beautiful messages written on them.
- Colored Stones – Lovely colored stones from the mines of British Columbia. You can use them for decorating the house or get them pierced to make jewelry.
- Stone Sculptures – You can buy many stone sculptures as well that show some traditional designs like Inukshuk or contemporary designs.
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