Souveniers

May 19th, 2003, 05:48 AM
  #1  
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Souveniers

Any suggestions for the typical Canadian souvenier? We'll be in Banff/Jasper areas. I know I'll have tons of photos, but wanted to have an idea about what to look for while out & about.
deborahmcginnis is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:50 AM
  #2  
 
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It depends on how much you're willing to spend. For inexpensive, perhaps a 4" or 6" wooden Mountie. Then there are these small bgrown paper bags containing small dark chocolate "droppings" of different animals, such as moose and beaver, that are fun and to be found virtually everywhere. When we were in BC last year we also bought some relatively inexpensive "post-card" sized native art drawings of orcas and eagles -very nice.
On the moderate to expensive, side, native crafts are very good. Also, I've noticed that wherever tourists congregate, there tends to be lots of local artisans out on the sidewalks representing the area, some of which do very nice work for reasonable prices. Once you get there you'll come across lots of possibilities.
waltd is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 05:53 PM
  #3  
BAK
 
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I used to be responsible for souvenirs for foreign business executives visiting Canada, and at the low end of the price spectrum, Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar candy seemed to be the favorite, especially for Koreans.

Maple syrup, incidentally, is not from western Canada, so this may make a difference to you.

Canadian Indian art falls into various "schools" and the west coast Indian carvings are distinctive, beautiful, and available in all price ranges. Plus, you'll be very close to British Columbia, making this kind of art more meaningful.

Indian art from the prairies, including Alberta, is often simple and flowing, with easily discernable themes, many of which are either cheerful or positively serious (as contrasted to negative serious) and are welcome additions to your walls at home. I've got a fair collection of this myself; all my pictures are from Clemence Westcoupe.

Alberta and B.C. inland Indians make great jewelry, again different in many ways from, say, the Arizona Indian jewelry.

Banff is full of high quality stores selling great souvenirs, plus, of course, some junkier shops. You'll rapidly get a feel for which stores sell souvenirs from Hong Kong, and which sell real Canadian products.

Kids have loved carved Mounties and birchbark canoe models for the past sixsty years, and you can't go wrong with these. Mounties really do wear those red jackets a lot, although not on normal partols.

For something different for kids, go visit a supermarket, and buy a selection of things that you enjoy back home, but which are packaged in Canada with both French and English on the labels. Let the kids eat the souvenirs and learn another language.

A lot of Americans buy electric kettles.

The Hudson Bay Company was one of, if not the, first business in Canda. It has made Hudson Bay coats and Hudson Bay blankets for hundreds of years. These are white with broad stripes of color, and will last forever.

If you live where it is cold, Canadian Innuit parkas will be for sale in Banff, multi-layered, and with simple wool images of Arctic scenes -- dog teams, seals, animals -- sewn on them. They'll still be for sale if you live somewhere normally warm -- my grammar was just sloppy, but you get the idea.

Innuit carvings, often called Eskimo carvings, are handcrafted well north of Banff and Lake Louise, and make wonderful souvenirs, too. Again, many price ranges. Look for government certificates of authenticity.

Books, especially of Rocky Mountain scenery, make great souvenirs.

Depending on your musical tastes, you might find recordings of Indian or Innuit music that you like. If you're a k.d. Laing fan, remember she's from Alberta, so you can buy some of her work and take it home. If you like real cowboy music (songs that actually mention cows and horses) buy yourself some Ian Tyson CDs. You know him as half of Ian and Sylvia, four Strong Winds, etc., from the olden days, but now he's a rancher near Banff ande Canda's finest singer songwriter of work that reflects the country.

CDs, from the big music stores in Calgary, are probably generally cheaper than in the USA, by the way. It's a weird international pricing thing.

Preserved smoked salmon is available in Banff, as is preserved Arctic Char fish. Both travel well, taste great, and are Canadian.

Enjoy your visit.

BAK
BAK is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 07:16 PM
  #4  
 
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When my husband and I went to Victoria for our honeymoon 3 years ago we bought a Chistmas orniment. It is a maple leaf dipped in silver. It has a little gold tag attached with 2000 on it. It is uinque and reminds us of our trip. We now buy something for our tree every time we go on vacation.
theladyjess is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 08:07 PM
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I think one item that is small and of value as a necklace is a piece of amonite shell. These creatures swam in the shallow seas that covered Alberta in the Cretacious period. If they catch the light just right they appear beautifully iridescent as the shell splits the rays of the sun.
bob_brown is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 10:01 PM
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The cheaper an item is the more likely it is to have been produced in Asia-particularly 'native art'-Banff/Jasper are notorious for this sort of fraud.

Some of the fakes I've seen are horrible.

If you like sweeter wines try a bottle of BC Icewine-lovely delicate stuff perfect for after dinner sipping.

If you're buying that cooked smoked fish make sure it isn't farmed-which is just mush and nothing like a real Salmon.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 05:31 AM
  #7  
Caribgirl
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On the last day of our vacation having bought no souvenirs for friends at home I was in a real panic as you can imagine. The grocery store was a big help! I bought smoked salmon in wooden boxes with native art on the lid, jams and some beautiful cheeses made locally with edible flowers pressed on top. (My small cooler bag helped with that!) The kids loved the 'moose droppings' chocolate candy and everyone loved the maple sugar candy shaped like little maple leaves. I wish I'd remembered about the famous Hudson Bay blankets. I just bought some mugs from the Bay and filled them with tiny pine cones.
 
May 21st, 2003, 02:44 PM
  #8  
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Thanks everyone - great ideas. I like the maple syrup idea and especially the silver maple leaf idea. We'll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary while there - what a perfect memento!
deborahmcginnis is offline  
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