Savor the fall flavors of British Columbia

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Note: This story was originally published in 2020.

The Canada-US border has been closed for an awfully long time. But now restrictions are easing, and British Columbia is ready to welcome guests with fine food, thoughtful hospitality, and a world of delicious cultural experiences.

This is the season of reconnection—with ourselves, with each other, and with nature—and there’s no better place to connect than over food and drink. And while BC’s wild landscape offers solace and security in equal measure, the province’s restaurants, food trucks, breweries and farmers markets serve up fine wines and well-crafted beer, fresh-from-the-field produce, and all the creative bounty of local food artisans.

Be open to more and take your place at our table—it’s set with all the brightest flavors of Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Indigenous Peoples of this land.

Enjoying Lee's Donuts at Granville Island Public Market | Hubert Kang


In Vancouver, British Columbia’s biggest city, nature is never far away—and neither is something delicious to eat or drink. There are mountains to climb, parks to explore, and beaches to lounge on, all just minutes from the heart of a city with a global approach to cuisine.

Best of all, with the mild climate, patio season here extends late into fall, so you can dine close to nature almost all year round. Patio culture has always been a thing here, but in the past year and a half, dining has fully moved outdoors, with entire neighborhoods like Gastown and Yaletown transformed into lively, European-style piazzas.

Enjoy Indigenous fare at Salmon n’ Bannock, elevated Indian at Vij’s, modern Chinese at Bao Bei, casual Middle Eastern wraps at Superbaba, and sushi at literally hundreds of restaurants. If you want to splash out a little, try the high-end West Coast restaurants like the French-influenced L’Abattoir and Hawksworth. Speaking of luxe, your feasting will be anything but ordinary when you stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, where experiences include both fine, in-house dining and an ice cave heli-adventure, complete with snow excursions. Find more ideas at Inside Vancouver or

Or bring your appetite and “Dine the Line”—find a guide to eateries near the main transit stops at WestCoastFood. You could even head down to Granville Island, where you can browse through the market, then enjoy lunch or dinner at Popina Canteen, where fast food is elevated with fresh, local ingredients, or the brand new Alimentaria Mexicana, which serves authentic fare from south of the border.

Craving global flavors on the go? Swing by the many food trucks serving everything from birria to lobster rolls. You’ll often find them parked outside local craft breweries, so you can enjoy a pint alongside your savory snack. If you want to elevate your beer experience, though, consider enjoying a (literal) beer flight with Sky Helicopters, which will whisk you to the mountains for a taste of brews from across BC. For even more adventure in the clouds, sign on for the Fairmont Waterfront’s Sky is the Limit package (also with Sky Helicopters) that pairs one night’s stay with flightseeing that touches down in a remote landscape for a gourmet picnic prepared by the Fairmont crew.


People visiting the Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse | Jordan Dyck


BC’s capital city is not just a postcard-pretty community of gardens, waterways, and heritage buildings. Victoria is also surrounded by three major agricultural regions, so “farm to table” is just how people eat here. And it’s fundamental to the vibrant restaurants just waiting to replenish your body and soul after a day spent paddling the Inner Harbour or meandering through The Butchart Gardens.

One good way to discover the city’s bountiful buffet is via the Greater Victoria Flavour Trails, a series of self-guided tours that take you from downtown to the farm country of the Saanich Peninsula. Along the way you will discover a plethora of wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries—truly, Victorians are all about the grain and the grape. In fact, the city is home to Canada’s original brew pub, the enchanting Spinnakers, which offers exceptional, locally sourced pub fare and charming guest houses, and is just one of several stops on the BC Ale Trail.


At Victoria’s heart is the Inner Harbour, with its floatplanes, marina, and wee ferry boats. Towering over it is the grand Fairmont Empress, which boasts all the luxe glamor of the Edwardian era, including a perfectly opulent afternoon tea service that is a must for every first-time (or any-time) visitor.

Dining in Victoria is always social and interactive, but why not get really hands-on with your food by taking a workshop or class? Improve your cooking skills with The London Chef, master macarons at Bon Macaron, discover the traditions of Camellia sinensis from the masters at Silk Road Tea, or head to the Victoria Public Market for any one of a number of educational culinary experiences. For a more mobile experience, say “bye” to boring with an insightful, guided food tour with Off The Eaten Track, or a discover some of the city’s best hidden-gem dining with A Taste of Victoria Food Tours.

Dining at the Golden Village district in Richmond | Tourism Richmond


If you drive to BC, your first stop will be the gateway City of Richmond—and one of the most exciting dining scenes in North America.

Richmond is a thoroughly modern city, but it is also a farm community that sprawls across a series of islands in the Fraser River estuary. Some 70 per cent of the population here is of Asian descent, which means this is a veritable buffet of noodles and curries, dim sum and hot pot, barbecue and bibimbap.

One of the best ways to experience the culinary delights on offer is to follow the self-guided Dumpling Trail—after all, who doesn’t love dumplings?—and sample all the har gow, siu mai, xiao long bao, and wontons your heart could desire.

Sometimes, though, you need a personal guide to enjoy the very best experiences, and there is no better, more gracious guide than Alexandra Gill, the Globe and Mail’s restaurant critic. Her Dine Like a Critic dinner experiences take you on an insider’s journey to three award-winning Richmond restaurants. Alternatively, you can savor the traditions of Richmond’s most dynamic cultures with the new five-course “Pacific Plates” dining experience at the Vancouver Airport Marriott’s 75 West Coast Grill.

You can continue to make your way around town (with a designated driver) along a local BC Ale Trail, where Richmond breweries are vast and varied. (Tip: Be sure to stop in at Monkey 9 Brewing to sample their lineup before heading next door to bowl a few frames at Lucky 9 Lanes.) Meanwhile, the new Versante Hotel offers an array of casual and high-end international dining experiences all under one stylish roof.

Patio dining at Nita Lake Lodge | Hubert Kang


Less than two hours’ scenic drive from Vancouver is the spectacular mountain playground of Whistler. Famous though it is as a winter sports destination, in many ways it is at its best in late summer and fall, when the biking and hiking trails beckon, and the food scene is at its very peak.

This is when the harvest comes in from the farms in nearby Pemberton, feeding a passionately farm-to-table dining culture (and the excellent Sunday farmers market). At the same time, many restaurants have special fall dining offers, serving up excellent fare at even better prices.

As we move into October, there’s even more reason to stay, drink, and dine here. October is Whistler Craft Beer Month, with a selection of brewmaster dinners, Boulder & Beer rock climbing experiences, brewery tours, beer-inspired spa sessions, and many other opportunities to raise a pint or two. But any time of year you can follow the BC Ale Trail to the best breweries and beer-friendly eateries in town.

Beer not your thing? Every Friday night in October, you can explore the vibrant local arts scene and enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres on Whistler Wine Walks.

Finally, one of BC’s biggest fall celebrations returns in November when the annual Cornucopia festival celebrates its 25th anniversary. Whistler’s Celebration of Food + Drink will take place each weekend, beginning late October through much of November, with thoughtful pandemic protocols in place. It features culinary stage demonstrations, drink seminars, intimate chef luncheons held in luxury chalets, winemaker/brewmaster dinners, and tasting events. Plus, local hotels will have great deals on accommodation, for an even better reason to visit this beautiful, and delicious, place.

Featured image: Dining out at Greenhorn Cafe. | Hubert Kang

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