The List: Spring/Summer 2017

From dining to style, Canadian culture stays ahead of the curve.

La Denise line, Jarre


Fresh Direct

If you want to fight food waste, think outside the fridge. Montreal design company Jarre creates beautiful and functional objects that use traditional food-storage principles to help preserve fresh ingredients – no electricity required. Handcrafted by woodworkers and ceramicists, their La Denise line includes a sand-filled ceramic vessel that traps moisture and keeps root veggies crisp, and a water-filled ceramic bowl fitted with a slatted top for fruits and vegetables (like oranges and eggplants) that require light hydration.

Recycled bamboo chopsticks, ChopValue


Chop to It

Vancouver may have incredible Asian cuisine, but it comes at a cost. The city’s restaurants send over 100,000 chopsticks to the landfill every day. Founded by UBC forestry student Felix Böck, ChopValue saves these bamboo utensils, processes them (including sanitizing and pressing) and transforms them into home decor and building materials. The result: distinctly modern coasters, tiles and tabletops that are anything but disposable.

Atelier78 glasses, Doyle Optometrists & Opticians


Eye on Fashion

Founded in 1978 in Montreal and still family-owned, Doyle Optometrists & Opticians doesn’t just fit customers for functional, stylish glasses. After years of studying their clients’ features and importing frames from international designers, they launched their first in-house collection: Atelier78. The unique line was created to fill a niche for Québécois clientele, who “tend to have narrower faces” than eyeglass wearers in Europe (as well as a unique sense of style). The collection launched with 36 models, a third of them unisex.

Cookie Craving bike courier


Real Revolution

Bike couriers don’t just drop off packages anymore. Innovative (and fit) entrepreneurs are using two-wheeled transporters to move all sorts of goods quickly across the city.

Halifax Cookie Cravings (pictured above) uses pedal power to drop off its sweets.

Toronto Tonic Blooms receives bouquet orders online and delivers them by bike across the Toronto core.

Vancouver Breakfast Courier delivers gourmet early-morning meals by bike.

Leonard Cohen

(Photo: Lorca Cohen)


Singing Hallelujah

When the world lost Leonard Cohen in 2016, Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain expanded its already-planned multidisciplinary retrospective for the beloved singer-songwriter. Opening in November, A Crack in Everything will honour the poet and singer’s life with specially commissioned works from artists including Jenny Holzer, Jean Leloup and Lou Doillon. The exhibit’s title comes from lyrics to his 1992 song “Anthem” that became popular across social media upon his passing. The full verse: “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”

Signature fragrances created for Mercedes-Benz


Scents of Style

Discover signature fragrances created for Mercedes-Benz.

1. Cologne This woody, spicy eau de toilette combines citrus notes of Amalfi lemon and mandarin orange with violet, cedar and vetiver.

2. Perfume An elegant mix of peach and bergamot with hints of white musk and patchouli, this eau de parfum offers the perfect balancing act of classic and modern.

Green reusable produce bags


Waste Not

Chic zero-waste grocery stores in Europe recently caught the attention of foodies and designers alike – but some eco-minded Canadians can also go shopping without a plastic bag in sight. For example, at Green, on B.C.’s Salt Spring Island, locals fill their own containers with no-spray and locally grown products and produce (jars and reusable produce bags are also available). A second location is in the works for Victoria or Vancouver. And Montrealers can head to Épicerie Loco for dry goods and body-care products, or Mega Vrac, the city’s largest zero-waste store, which sells more than 1,000 wet and dry bulk products, from fair-trade coffee to infused vinegars.

Songhees Seafood & Steam


First Foods

Opened last summer in Victoria, the Songhees Seafood & Steam is bringing new life – and old favourites – to the food-truck trend. In collaboration with Songhees First Nation community members, acclaimed local chef David Roger has crafted a menu of aboriginal dishes with a twist: Think bison tacos on gluten-free bannock, and salmon burgers with fresh sage and cranberry chutney. The truck will also serve as a training ground for budding chefs from the indigenous community as part of an apprenticeship program run by Camosun College.

SheNative bags


In the Bag

Devon Fiddler founded SheNative as a way to empower indigenous women through fashion, overseeing a collection of bags in deer and buffalo leather. Recently, Fiddler, a Cree woman of the Waterhen Lake First Nation and the recipient of the 2016 YWCA Under 29 Women of Distinction Award, moved her operation from online-only to a storefront at Saskatoon’s Centre Mall. She also expanded the collection to include tees emblazoned with inspirational messages, with most designs created in collaboration with indigenous artists including Sweetmoon Photography and Johnny Marceland.

Jacques Cartier Bridge light exhibit


Multi-Culti Milestones

Celebrate three (or more) ways across the country.

375 Years: Montreal The city’s celebrations run the gamut from historical re-enactments to a carnival in each of the 19 boroughs. Can’t make it to the city in 2017? Don’t fret. Many of the exhibits, including a light display on the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are permanent additions.

150 Years: Canada The cross-country celebrations will be about more than just July 1 this year. Head online to see what’s going on in your neck of the woods, or seek inspiration – or just relaxation – with help from Colourful Travels colouring books (they’re not just for kids anymore!), dedicated to each Canadian region and made by acclaimed woodcarver Barbara Janman.

75 Years: The Alaska Highway Take a trip down memory lane starting in July, as a trio of artists (musician Bill Dolan, storyteller Kathy Jessup and author Allison Tubman) tell the tales of this historic highway, which helped shape the Canadian North. Festivities start in Edmonton and wind up in Whitehorse, after 11 story- and music-filled stops.

Revols custom earbuds


Bespoke Buds

Revols is a Montreal company that makes wireless, custom-fit earphones. Their secret? Typically, made-to-measure earphones cost over $1,000 and require an audiologist and a fair amount of time to produce. Revols cost around $300 and take 60 seconds to customize, using their app. They also feature 14 hours of playtime – twice the industry standard.

Nannette de Gaspé Beaubien moisturizing mask


Dry Goods

A moisturizing mask that’s completely dry? It seems to defy logic, but that’s just what Nannette de Gaspé Beaubien created. The Quebec-based entrepreneur’s eponymous masks contain 87-percent active ingredients (traditional wet masks have 15 percent) on a lightweight Japanese material called Techstile. Soft massaging activates the formulation, which then combines with the skin’s own pH and heat to produce a wrinkle-reducing balm that absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving it soft and residue-free.

Inside the Canadian Start-Up Scene
Read the next article

Inside the Canadian Start-Up Scene

The entrepreneurial spirit is booming in Canada, where thousands of start-ups are developing tech that could change the shape of our lives. No wonder Silicon Valley is paying attention.