Holidays

Anzac Day in Canada

There are many Australians and New Zealanders living in Canada, which means you will find groups of them recognizing significant dates just like they would in Australia. ANZAC Day, April 25th (or the 25th of April if you want to write it the Aussie way) is one of them.

Here is a bit of information regarding traditions of the day as recognized in Canada, specifically Toronto.

Dawn services

There are dawn services held throughout the country. This year there was one in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Calgary, Courtenay, Edmonton, London and Winnipeg. The one in Toronto is held by the Canadian Forces College. Information can be found on their site as well as on the Australian High Commission site.

Information sheet for Anzac Day dawn service in Toronto, Canada
Image source: The Canadian Forces College

Anzac biscuits

The lovely Cafe de Melbourne in Toronto serves Anzac biscuits all day for free on April 25th.

Cafe de Melbourne's facebook post about Anzac Day 2019 showing Anzac biscuits
Cafe de Melbourne’s Facebook Post

Too bad about the water shut down though. But that’s just your typical late spring Toronto – construction season has begun!

Of course you can make your own Anzac biscuits, in honour of the tradition

Finding golden syrup in Toronto is the challenging part. There are recipes that use maple syrup or honey instead, but I personally prefer using the real thing.

Where to find golden syrup in Toronto

Although we’re used to seeing the CSR syrup in the plastic bottle that looks like this

Bottle of CSR golden syrup
CSR Golden Syrup

The golden syrup you’ll find in Canada looks like this

Cans of Lyle's golden syrup from Toronto Canada
Lyle’s Golden Syrup

It’s called Lyle’s Golden Syrup and costs about four dollars. It has been found at the following locations in Toronto

St. Lawrence Market (in the basement at the international grocer)

Some locations of the major supermarkets stock it. It has been seen at certainLoblaws, Metro, Sobeys and No Frills supermarkets (in the British Section)

British specialty stores. Check out BlogTO’s 10 stores that sell British products in Toronto to find one near you.

And of course there’s always Amazon in a pinch.

There are tonnes of recipes for Anzac biscuits online, with the Canadian/US measurements and product names. I used this one and they came out great.

Homemade Anzac Biscuits

You can also make your own golden syrup for your Anzac biscuits!

Then they’ll really be authentic and from scratch. I haven’t tried it though. Here’s a recipe.

What else is on

Hemingways Restaurant & Bar in Yorkville also hosts an Anzac Day event with Toronto Rebels AFC, Kia Ora Canada – Toronto and Aussies in Toronto, three active Australian and New Zealand communities in Toronto.

Image of Anzac Day event hosted by Hemingways Toronto
Source: Hemingways Toronto

Even outside of Australia and New Zealand you don’t have to miss out on paying homage to the ones who gave us freedom with the other Aussies and Kiwis around.

Lest We Forget.

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Image of a Red Tulip chocolate easter bunny
Holidays

Is Easter even Easter without Red Tulip chocolates and a four day weekend???

Image of a Red Tulip chocolate easter bunny
Image source: woolworths.com.au

I know. Easter exists because of Christianity.

But it’s also a very chocolate-centric holiday, and one that Australians are used to having as a four day extra-long weekend from Good Friday to Easter Monday. It’s also the beginning of term one school holidays, and depending on your lifestyle, it might mean a trip to the Easter Show (in some parts) and/or a whole lot of church.

Canada recognizes Easter too, but it’s a little different here. Christians go to church, but it’s not school holidays and there is no Easter show.

But the one thing that makes me sad here is that there is no such thing as the beloved Red Tulip chocolate bunny in Canada.

I know. I cried too.

The presence of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate in North America is much smaller than it is in Australia and the UK, and the Easter chocolate market in Canada is dominated by Lindor, Ferrero Rocher and Nestle.

You see a lot of Lindt chocolate bunnies and Lindt eggs in different flavours, as well as Kinder Surprise eggs, Reece’s eggs, Oreo eggs and other flavours owned by these brands.

You can find a small selection of Cadbury Dairy Milk rabbits, but they’re imported from the UK.

You can also find Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs, and Cadbury solid mini plain, caramel and creme eggs . But that’s it for Cadbury here.

You can’t get Red Tulip (which is just Cadbury chocolate in a different outfit, in case you didn’t know), you can’t get hollow Cadbury chocolate eggs that are the same size as real eggs and you can’t get the gigantic hollowed out Cadbury eggs that Aussies so love.

No Cherry Ripe egg, no Crunchie egg, none of those.

In Australia, the supermarkets stock entire walls of Easter Eggs. Here the selection is a little smaller.

Shoppers Drug Mart has the best selection of Easter chocolates, but they are also pretty pricey until they go on sale.

There are also these really weird sweet marshmallow-y things shaped like chicks called Peeps and they are a staple over Easter. I think I tried them once when I first got here but it wasn’t my thing. My opinion when it comes to marshmallows is – if it’s not in a hot chocolate or a s’more, it’s not necessary.

Image of Peeps Marshmallows
Image source: ABC Action news

What about hot cross buns?

I could hear you asking! Thankfully, in Canada, there is a bakery chain called Cobs which is – guess what- the Canadian-branded version of Australian’s own Baker’s Delight! It’s a good place to go if you’re feeling homesick because it’s basically the same menu (with a few tweaks to cater to the Canadian market). And they make fresh hot cross buns every Easter. But only for that limited time leading up to and during the Easter weekend.

You can also get hot cross buns at some small non-franchise bakeries, as well as within the Loblaw’s chain of supermarkets. And if you can’t be bothered hunting for them, you can always bake your own!

The four-day weekend for Easter? Not a given!

Easter Monday is not a federal holiday in Canada! Only Good Friday is. Easter Monday is a provincial holiday. That means your workplace may not recognize Easter Monday as a holiday and you will have to work! And not get holiday pay.

Yes, I was gutted when I found that out as well.

Just another thing to get used to .

Happy Easter everyone!

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