Canada offers up unique experiences that you won’t find in any guidebook — you just have to know where to find them. To help you explore like a local, we’ve asked friends from across the country to share their top spots and experiences from the cities they call home. Bundled by interest or passion, consider this your local’s guide to travelling through the country’s vibrant cities and boundless wilderness.
Thanks to Scott Bakken, Jason Fitz, Callum Snape, Stoked for Saturday, Jason Frenette, and Joann Pai for their local tips.
Canadians love to take time to sit, relax, and smell the coffee. The country’s English and French heritage has evolved into a true café culture that breeds the best brews.
Neo Coffee Bar - Toronto
Just down the street from the iconic Flatiron Building in the bustling St. Lawrence Market, is happening Neo Coffee Bar. Neo’s beans come from a constantly rotating set of local and international roasters adding variety to each and every morning. The handmade Japanese pastries are the perfect complement to a hot brew, too.
Monogram Coffee - Calgary
Take a morning dip
Just outside downtown Calgary in an old strip mall (really!) lies one of Canada’s most authentic, stripped down cafés. Monogram Coffee is nestled in the Altadore neighbourhood and features some of the city’s best coffee, served in handmade ceramic mugs from an artist in Canmore, Alberta. Despite the unassuming exterior, visitors are greeted with a stylish modern industrial aesthetic. The hazelnut toast — covered in cream cheese, sour cream, and hazelnuts — is worth the drive.
Le Nektar - Quebec City
Cream of the crop
Take a trip around the world with the amazing variety of beans on offer at Le Nektar. With innovative coffees and seemingly never-ending creativity when it comes to their drinks, we can see why it’s worth coming back again and again. Plus, they have delicious pastries too — try the apple cinnamon muffin.
Hey Happy - Victoria
You’ll leave smiling
Head into downtown Victoria to start your day off with a fresh cup of coffee and a smile. Hey Happy is a must-visit according to locals and we can see why — the shop is beautiful, surrounded by some of Victoria’s best shopping, and serves up (arguably) the best coffee and latte art in the city.
Sorry Coffee Co. - Toronto
Shop and sip
Sneakily located at the back of gorgeous boutique Kit and Ace on Bloor St., Sorry Coffee Co. is a great choice for bold and flavourful coffee. We apologize if you wish you had a Sorry Coffee in your town — the only other location is in London, England.
Greenhorn Cafe - Vancouver
The perfect coffee break
Greenhorn Cafe is conveniently located halfway between downtown Vancouver and the always active Stanley Park, establishing itself as the perfect spot for a coffee break in the middle of your west coast adventure. Greenhorn also serves up delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Our local says the Vietnamese coffee and croissant is the best way to prep for a big day.
Tandem Coffee - Toronto
Preciously good coffee
Tandem Coffee is situated right on the streetcar line and offers the perfect way to start your day adventuring in downtown Toronto. Tandem is quirkily dedicated to coffee and, as they say, “precious coffily fluids.” Locals recommend the black sesame latte.
Collective Coffee - Saskatoon
Come together for caffeine
Looking for the best baristas in town? You’ll find them at Collective Coffee in Saskatoon. Step into the shop and be greeted by a warm welcome and a cozy atmosphere. This little shop is always busy, but we assure you, the coffee is worth the wait.
Le Falco - Montreal
Coffee made with historic precision
Le Falco is the only place in Montreal where you can nab a cup of siphon-made coffee. Siphoning is a 200-year-old slow-brew technique that yields some of the best and smoothest coffee you’ll ever taste. It’s worth making the detour after a stroll through the artsy Mile End neighbourhood.
Boxcar Social - Toronto
Craft brews and coffee too
Part of stopping by Toronto’s Boxcar Social is soaking up its beautiful and historic 100-year-old building. The exposed brick and massive windows create an unforgettable ambience. One side of Boxcar focuses on primo international roasters. The other? Craft beer and a ridiculous whiskey selection. You really can’t go wrong.
Canada’s café culture is second-to-none. In every city, you’ll find locally-roasted artisanal beans served by folks passionate about coffee.