5 Best Cities For Vegans In Canada
If you're a vegan, Canada is a fantastic country to visit (and live in). The Great White North is home to pockets of flourishing plant-based communities from coast to coast, in addition to being a multicultural society that embraces differences of opinion. Large cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, as one might think, offer a range of cruelty-free options for vegans, but Canada is more than these three places. In fact, if you're a daring vegan, there are a slew of places worth visiting where you'll discover vegan cuisine, warm people, and breathtaking nature.
With the COVID-19 pandemic came the unprecedented shift toward working remotely for many Canadians, and some are looking to relocate to places better suited to their lifestyles, for good. With plant-based diets on the rise for health, ethical and environmental reasons, you might wonder which cities are best suited to attract vegetarians and vegans?
Is Canada A Good Place For Vegans?
To determine the 5 best cities for vegans in Canada, we considered a variety of factors. Not all of them will be readily apparent, but this is a good start: We considered the number of vegan-friendly restaurants, food truck options, grocery stores, and bakeries in the cities. All of these options offer vegan products and options for anyone who decides to eat a plant-based diet.
We considered how easy it was to get vegan and vegetarian products, including vegan options at big box grocery stores. We considered the prevalence of vegan books and newspapers and the number of vegan and vegetarian blogs and websites in the cities. We considered how many vegan and vegetarian restaurants there were in the cities. We considered the number of vegan events in the cities.
As one might expect, large cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal offer a variety of cruelty-free choices for vegans, but there’s more to Canada than these three regions. In fact, if you’re an adventurous vegan, there is an array of cities worth visiting where you’ll find vegan food, friendly people, and gorgeous scenery. Here are our six favourite non-obvious locations where you can find us chowing down on delicious plant-based food.
Overall, Canada ranked ninth among global nations for veganism based on web searches. Among Canadian provinces, British Columbia has the highest ratio of vegan-related searches, with Ontario a distant second and Nova Scotia ranking third. Vancouver's vegan scene has been expanding rapidly in the past few years, and the city is home to a number of strong plant-based brands, including food products, restaurants, and other businesses.
Where Are Canada's Vegan Hotspots?
The first vegan hotspot in Canada is Vancouver. Vancouver is a dream destination for vegans. There are tons to eat—the epic veggie burrito at Surfin Thai and the Cuban sandwich at Granville Island Pretzel Company are just two delicious examples—but it's the broad range of vegan and cruelty-free retail shops that keeps vegans returning.
One shop that stands out is Farm Girl (farmgirlvegan.com). This business is dedicated to providing organic, cruelty-free, and sustainable products with a splash of hippie-chic to make veganism easier for the general public. The next vegan hotspot in Canada is Toronto. Like its larger counterpart, Vancouver, Toronto is also a vegan haven. However, Toronto is known for its killer variety of restaurants and stores to choose from. One that stands out is Juicing by Alejandra.
Finding Vegan-friendly options while travelling through Canada is a lot easier than you think. Bigger cities that are already diverse and filled with beauty and attractions are bound to have some lovely Vegan hot spots, but even smaller cities in Canada are jumping on the Vegan bandwagon. This is excellent news for anyone who prefers a quiet, small city!
If you're noticing that your local big-box grocery chain seems to be stocking a lot more non-dairy cheese and plant-based frozen foods, or that there are now more restaurants, cafes, and treat shops specializing in vegan eats in your Vancouver neighbourhood, you aren't alone. Veganism is growing in popularity in Vancouver, whether it's thanks to those who do the month-long “Veganuary” challenge, Meatless Mondays, or for those who go the whole hog – err, whole hearts of palm – into the plant-based lifestyle.
Where Can You Get A Great Vegan Meal In Canada?
Arrive with an open mind and you'll find a multitude of dining options across the country that will satisfy any craving. Restaurants serving vegan food are no longer few and far between, with more than 60 restaurants serving food free from animal products in Vancouver, and nearly 30 in Toronto. And, when in doubt, just ask your server or check the website of the restaurant.
Prince Edward Island: Since this region of the country is more secluded, it's perfect for those looking to avoid the hustle of city life. Right on the East Coast of Canada, PEI is one of the best provinces for travellers to find a vegan feast.
Between British Columbia and Alberta, British Columbia is not only one of the most popular destinations in Canada, it's also home to one of the highest populations of vegans in the country. Known for being the Summer Capital, visitors can enjoy biking and kayaking along the fresh waters of the Fraser River and its numerous lakes.
A Taste of Salt, Salt Hot Springs, British Columbia. If you're looking for a reason to visit Salt Hot Springs in British Columbia, look no further than the onsite restaurant and bar. The culinary menu at this local hotspot is extensive and delicious.
Often, even vegan restaurant menus include some type of animal product, so be sure to double-check before ordering. One best place to have a great vegan meal in Canada is in Ontario. If you're looking for a place to go for an Italian-style vegan meal, check out Vino Volo in Toronto. The restaurant offers a wide variety of vegan offerings, from rustic pizzas and pasta to fresh salads and seafood entrees.
They also offer Vegan meal delivery. With vegan meal delivery Canada, you can enjoy healthy, affordable, and convenient meals at home. It is not an easy task to be Vegan and make sure you get all the necessary vitamins in. Vegans do not eat meat or fish but not like vegetarians they do not eat any animal-made ingredients either for example vegans will not eat eggs.
However, now with the new meal kits phenomena, it can become much easier to consume great vegan food. Vegans now have the option to choose from ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat meals that do not contain animal by-products. Fortunately, there are many good vegan delivery kits services that operate across Canada. The options vary by price, recipes, and delivery areas and in this article, we will review some of the best brands in Canada that offer vegan meals.
Vegan meal delivery is a convenient meal delivery service that targets people who are observing a strictly vegan diet. This means that these are people who abstain from eating animal products because of environmental, ethical, and health concerns. There are two main types of vegan meal deliveries in Canada – ready to eat and ready to cook.
With ready-to-eat meals, they are chef-prepared and delivered cooked. All that you need to do is to reheat the meals when it is time to eat. In contrast, ready-to-cook meals are delivered in the form of fresh ingredients, including vegan meats, vegetables, and seasonings. They also come with recipe cards which means that you will be the one cooking these meals.
Vegan-Friendly Cities In Canada
Some of the best, most recognized Vegan-friendly cities in Canada include Vancouver, British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, Toronto, Ontario, and Montréal, Québec. Other areas like Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Guelph, Ontario, are becoming prominent in the Vegan scene, too.
Vancouver, BC Vancouver is an open-minded and accepting city for any creed, ethnicity, lifestyle, or dietary preference. Virtually every major vegan establishment is located here, whether it's a vegan restaurant, food vendor, or even the Vancouver Zoo (among other tourist attractions).
And while there's no shortage of choices for vegan diners, no stop on Vancouver's vegan map would be complete without a visit to Herbivore, home to the very first plant-based café in North America. Hungry vegans (or vegetarians) can check out vegan restaurants like the iconic Portabello Café, whose “gourmet” American-style menu doesn't skimp on animal-product-free proteins. Another go-to in Vancouver is Veg Foody, whose Japanese-inspired vegan dishes are as tasty as they are healthy.
The survey identified that while home cooking still played an important role for vegetarians over the last 12 months, plant-based restaurants played an important role in people’s lives (some of these restaurants were not only top-rated vegetarian restaurants but top-rated restaurants overall). Four Canadian cities offer established vegetarian-friendly “ecosystems,” with Ottawa leading as the most vegetarian-friendly city in Canada in 31st place.
Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal follow in 50th, 60th, and 66th place, respectively. Out of these four, Ottawa had the most affordable grocery staples (fruits, veggies, plant-based proteins), while Montreal scored highest out of the four for vegetarian restaurant affordability. Toronto, on the other hand, had the highest number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants, while Vancouver had the highest ratio of these restaurants with nearly a quarter offering vegetarian-friendly options.
1. Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver is less populated than Toronto but offers much more variety and diversity when it comes to vegan dining options. This Canadian mountain town on Vancouver Island is more cow-free than you think, thanks to the Zipper Mountain Organic Farm, one of the nation's top 100 organic farms. Cargo Heading over to British Columbia's Lower Mainland. Cargo is a hub for vegan comfort food with locations in both Vancouver and Burnaby.
This bustling restaurant is known for its hearty wraps and organic sandwiches, as well as its extensive coffee and juice menu. If you're travelling to Toronto, then head to this alternative cooking school in the east end of the city for delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisines, along with cooking demonstrations and classes. Coalition Kitchen is the brainchild of Samantha Wasser, the young American restaurateur who is a trailblazer in the vegan food movement.
As far as eating out is concerned, you will find Vancouver, British Columbia to be a haven for Vegan-friendly restaurants, fast food joints, and other wonderful locations. One spot that has taken the scene by storm is none other than Meet on Main. Here, you can find almost anything — from burgers to macaroni, salads to desserts.
Searching for a lush dessert to satisfy your late-night cravings? Well, Vancouver, British Columbia has you covered there, too. Vegan Pudding & Co. has some of the best Vegan desserts in town, with a huge selection of unique and delicious puddings to choose from. Stick to classic vanilla or opt for something more daring like Matcha green tea.
2. Victoria, British Columbia
Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is another great place to go if you love spending time outdoors. An oceanfront city full of parks and gardens, the city is a great base for whale watching and kayaking or hiking the lush Canadian rainforests. And, similar to Vancouver, Victoria boasts a number of excellent vegan restaurants to suit any taste.
The Very Good Butchers is a vegan butcher shop with plant-based versions of familiar fast-food meats and seitan or cauliflower wings, The Very Big Mac, or a Pizza Sub with Beetballs. For a great date, look to Be Love’s mostly vegan menu (some dishes contain eggs) that changes with the seasons to make use of the freshest local produce.
Try the Chana Tikki, which are masala-spiced chickpea fritters with apple-Gogi chutney, the Shojin Bowl with shiitake mushrooms and spicy tempeh, or the Roasted Root Latkes with quince butter, coconut yogurt, and a side apple-lentil salad with greens.
It would be a shame for a capital city not to be diverse and not offer a wide selection of foods for its residents and tourists — and Victoria, British Columbia is sure not to disappoint. This lovely parklike city is known for its sensational, bright views as well as outdoor activities. Here you will find gardens and parks galore as well as beautiful lakes and beaches to relax on. As far as Veganism is concerned, we will start by showcasing that Victoria, British Columbia is home to the Veg Fest, another great expo for Vegan eaters.
3. Montréal, Québec
With vegan offerings at major eateries like Café Miranda and the hugely popular Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel, you don't have to venture outside the city's limits to discover a world of vegetarian eats. In particular, you should try the Pollo All Terrain taco at Ester restaurant, which is located on Jean-Talon Street, near Berri.
The plant-based Mexican tacos are made with homemade nopales, avocado, cabbage, salsa and queso fresco, which is made with organic cheese.
There is a reason why Montreal is so well known and why it’s the largest city in the Quebec province. This enticing city has a rich history that people enjoy viewing, from the French colonial history that dates back to the 16th century to the ‘New France’ conquest of the British in 1763. Aside from history, this enchanting area is also known for its charm, vivacity, and modernity.
To put it simply, Montreal is the city to go to if you are looking for a little bit of everything in terms of activities. Whether you are making your way up Mont-Royal, taking a gander at old Montreal, exploring the Old Port, or going back in time completely, Montreal has something for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
Prefer sushi and Japanese food? Then Montreal has you covered here, too. The Sushi Momo restaurant has everything you could ever ask for. Here, you can order edamame, tofu Agedashi, Jardin Hibiscus, and so much more. All your favourites await at this modern and cool restaurant.
Just trying to pick up some Vegan groceries without the hassle of looking around for an hour? Then you might want to head over to Herbivores. Just as the name suggests, they are a solely vegan grocery store that offers all your favourite Vegan foods, treats, and ingredients. This makes it easy for any Vegan to shop for exactly what they want and need.
4. Guelph, Ontario
In the summer, Guelph, a small city in Ontario, is a perfect destination for travellers who are interested in travelling to a “locally sourced” vegan hotspot. With about 30 restaurants with vegan and vegetarian fare, a locally sourced farmer's market, a weekly farmers' market, a vegan bakery and cheese shop, a vegan food truck, and a vegan co-op, there's a great chance to get fresh food and delicious vegan food in Guelph.
Bring your family and friends to rural southern Ontario to visit The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. Open Sundays between May and October and during the Christmas season, the sanctuary lets you meet friendly donkeys who enjoy being brushed by visitors. The Donkey Sanctuary saves donkeys who have been neglected and abused, or who can’t be cared for by their owners. The sanctuary’s 100 donkeys roam the peaceful pastures, accepting the love and attention of volunteers and strangers.
After your visit, head into town for a satisfying meal at local vegan favourite Cadence, where you can grab Zucchini & Chickpea Fritters or a Pan-Seared Tofu Bowl. Furthermore, Zen Gardens has a variety of Asian-inspired vegan meats made from soy, seitan, or mushrooms (we love the assorted seitan platter and the Enoki Mushroom Balls). The region is also home to a Guelph location of Boon Burger.
This is a smaller town about an hour from Toronto. It’s also referred to as The Royal City and comes with a vast assortment of outdoor activities you won’t want to skip out on. Aside from the beauty of the scenery, Guelph is also a great spot to enjoy diversity and culture. With Guelph, Ontario being the smaller city it is, it still has a bit of catching up to do in terms of options.
It still has a lot of choices, though, although some of them may offer vegetarian and vegan dishes instead of being strictly Vegan. We applaud this small town for taking the first steps toward Veganism, though, and we have found plenty of wonderful spots to enjoy.
5. Toronto, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario On top of having a smorgasbord of vegan spots, Toronto also has a number of sustainable, cruelty-free companies to look out for.
By far the most popular city in Canada for vegans, Toronto is packed with veg-friendly restaurants, social spaces, and shops. The city also has several vegan coffee shops, including Indigo Cafe, Brodie's Vegan Coffee Roasters, the Ontario Truck Coffee Collective, Piggy In The Middle, and Vegan Ventures. Veggie Panela, a plant-based bread made from soy, oil, and corn starch, is popular in the city and can be found at Bread. People visit the centre of the city, but especially the food trucks and vintage markets in the Distillery District.
Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario in Canada. This dynamic metropolis is home to soaring skyscrapers as well as plenty of green spots, making it the best of both worlds. Take a trip to the CN Tower or see what the Toronto Zoo has to offer. There is so much to do here, which is no wonder why it’s a tourist hot spot as well as a fun place to live.
This bustling city is undoubtedly a place everyone should see at least once in their lifetime, but it is an especially great pick for Vegans. This is because there is seemingly an endless supply of Vegan places to visit, whether you are into the nightlife and love to grab a beer with your pals or would prefer a more elegant spot to dine.
Rosalina Restaurant is a great place to choose if you’re looking for a good combination of food and alcoholic beverages of the Vegan variety. Burgers, salads, and tacos are the highlight of this establishment, but they also have a huge list of wines and drinks that will please the palate.
If pasta and cozy comfort foods are what you’re after, you will find refuge in the Hello 123 restaurants. This unique restaurant is known for sharing ‘Happy Food and Happy Times.’ Their specialties include pasta, lasagnas, and curry bowls — all of which are Vegan friendly and incredibly delicious. Finish off with a succulent mousse, and you won’t regret it.
It is true that vegan food in Canada is diverse. The country does indeed have strong vegan-friendly resources and the best Vegan cities. But with so many food options available to Canadians, veganism is certainly not their singular focus for them. For those who prefer to eat vegan-friendly food in North America, Canada is an exciting option.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article on the 5 Best Cities For Vegans In Canada. Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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2 thoughts on “5 Best Cities For Vegans In Canada”
Trying to pick a holiday spot in Canada this year and as a vegan I’m very disappointed in this article. You titled it Vegan restaurants not Vegetarian. You mention lots of meals with cheese options. Vegans don’t eat cheese. Also you missed Kelowna BC where we have at least 4 restaurants that are totally plant based, a couple of full vegetarian restaurants with a multitide of plant based options. Even the western Canada chain Earl’s has 4 or 5 really delicious fully plants based menu options.
Thank you for your comment on the 5 Best Cities For Vegans In Canada. You are absolutely right. This was my very first article on Vegan travel and it was not up to my standards today. I since published a much better and more complete blog post. Please click here to Canada Vegan Travel Guide. I trust that you will find a lot more info in it. Earl’s Kitchen in Kelowna is included as well.