Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants 2024 Just Revealed

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants List 2024 paints a vibrant portrait of Canada’s culinary scene. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Canada’s 100 Best.

“The quality of our list and the publication we build around it is better than ever. The result is an asset to discriminating diners – locals and travellers alike,” said Jacob Richler. “It’s a great time to be dining out in Canada.”

How restaurants are selected?
A panel of 150 judges is assembled to vote for restaurants based on the complete dining experience: service, décor, the depth of the cellar — and, above all else, food quality. Each judge must vote for a minimum of three restaurants outside of their home region. The panel includes informed culinary enthusiasts, food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and other food-service professionals.

Here are some of the winners:

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST RESTAURANTS:

Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)
Edulis (Toronto, ON)
Alo (Toronto, ON)
20 Victoria (Toronto, ON)
Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)
Restaurant Pearl Morissette (Jordan Station, ON)
Published on Main (Vancouver, BC)
Beba (Montreal, QC)
Bar Kismet (Halifax, NS)
Kissa Tanto (Vancouver, BC)

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST NEW RESTAURANTS:

Marilena (Victoria, BC)
Casa Paco (Toronto, ON)
Sushi Yugen (Toronto, ON)
Bar Prima (Toronto, ON)
Sabayon (Montreal, QC)
Casavant (Montreal, QC)
Espace Old Mill (Stanbridge, QC)
Buvette Daphnée (Ottawa, ON)
Parapluie (Montreal, QC)
Magari by Oca (Vancouver, BC)

Other Awards go to:

Best New Restaurant (sponsored by Tourisme Montréal): Marilena Café + Raw Bar (Victoria, BC)

Best Restaurant (sponsored by Nespresso Professional): Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)

Best Sommelier team (sponsored by Lingua Franca): Vanya Filipovic and Alex Landry at Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)

Best Pastry Chef: Kenta Takahashi, Boulevard, Vancouver (3 TIME WINNER)

People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Uber Eats): Änkôr (Canmore, AB)

Best Destination Restaurant (sponsored by Champlain at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac): Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)

Best New Restaurant Design: Bar Prima (Toronto, ON)

The American Express Award for Community Leadership: Paul Toussaint at Kamúy (Montreal, QC)

BEST BARS

The 2024 issue also includes Canada’s 50 Best Bars – useful reviews on where to sip across the nation – including a focus on summer patios. 

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST BARS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE:

Bar Pompette (Toronto, ON)
Civil Liberties (Toronto, ON)
Cloakroom Bar (Montreal, QC)
Atwater Cocktail Club (Montreal, QC)
Bar Mordecai (Toronto, ON)
Library Bar at The Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, ON)
Dear Friend Bar (Dartmouth, NS)
The Keefer Bar (Vancouver, BC)
Cocktail Bar (Toronto, ON)
Proof (Calgary, AB)

Here is the link to all the winners:
https://canadas100best.com/

5 reasons why Champagne remains optimistic for 2024

This week at a press conference held at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, David Chatillon and Maxime Toubart, co-Presidents of the Comité Champagne, expressed their optimism for the future. Collectively, Champagne winegrowers and houses have taken strategic decisions and have launched numerous projects to ensure balance within an appellation that continues to sparkle across the globe. Initiatives include the commitment to regulation and social responsibility, the introduction of a new framework for contractual relations between winegrowers and houses, an increase in the reserve level, as well as the construction of Qanopée and a new research and development centre in Epernay; all of which bear witness to the industry’s ongoing commitment in ensuring Champagne remains desirable, available and exemplary.

1) A committed and responsible industry

To address the challenges linked to the employment of grape-pickers, Comité Champagne has asked public authorities to severely condemn the unacceptable behaviors that occurred during last year’s harvest.

It has also launched a strategic plan for the following four pillars:

Accommodation;
Working conditions, health and safety of harvesters;
Securing the supply of service providers; and
Facilitating recruitment.
Initial progress will be shared before the 2024 harvest.

“We are committed to providing a better framework during this crucial period, and to dealing with the fundamental issues. The aim is to ensure the smooth running of the harvest, which mobilizes 100,000 grape-pickers every year,” says Maxime Toubart, President of the Syndicat Général des Vignerons and co-President of the Comité Champagne.

In addition, the contractualization agreement governing the Champagne grape market has been renewed for a 5-year period. It secures market supply and consolidates the sharing of value.

2) An innovative industry

Champagne has a long-standing tradition of innovation, adapting to new challenges and evolving climates.

As part of the national plan to combat vine decline, the Comité Champagne is continuously involved in fighting against new diseases, including the flavescence dorée, and has equipped itself with tools to ensure the long-term survival of the vineyard, and preserve the distinctiveness and excellence of Champagne wine:

Construction of an “insect-proof” greenhouse: This new-generation greenhouse, built as part of the QANOPÉE project including Champagne, Beaujolais, and Burgundy wine-growing regions, is designed to secure the production of vine plants in north-eastern France. Inauguration is scheduled for summer 2024.

An expanded research, development and innovation centre at the future Maison de la Champagne in Epernay. Announced last year, construction is just about to begin. This centre will reinforce the industry’s initiatives for quality and sustainable development, with state-of-the-art equipment.
Raising the reserve level: a crucial tool for regulating Champagne production, the reserve enables a portion of the wines produced during good harvests, to be kept for future use in any deficit years. To guarantee a stable marketable yield each year and further improve the resilience of the
sector, the reserve level has been raised from 8,000 kg/ha to 10,000 kg/ha.

3) A strong appellation

For over 120 years, winegrowers and Champagne houses have been working together to protect the appellation and ensure its worldwide influence.

In line with ambitions to expand its network of embassies around the world, a new Champagne Office will open in Stockholm next April, representing the industry in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark). It will be the local point of contact for media, wine professionals, importers and government authorities in Scandinavia. This expansion is justified by the growing importance of these markets, with demand steadily rising over the last ten years (+67%).

Wine professionals around the world express a strong enthusiasm for Champagne. A recent qualitative study revealed their deep emotional connection with the product, highlighting its unique character. To further cement their connection to the appellation, training is crucial. That’s why the Comité Champagne is launching “Champagne Education”, a comprehensive, certified programme designed to train wine professionals and reinforce their role as ambassadors. This programme is already being rolled out, in partnership with renowned schools around the world (including the Ecole du Vin in Paris, the Napa Valley Wine Academy in the USA, the Cordon Bleu in UK and the Deutsche Wein und Sommelierschule in Germany).

Finally, the battle for recognition and protection of the Champagne appellation continues. In 2023, after several significant wins against misuses of its name – notably in Canada and Italy – Champagne was granted “notorious name” status in China, a first for a foreign appellation in China. This proves to be a huge step forward, providing further protection against any fraudulent use of the name Champagne, for any product, including any writing in Chinese characters.

“The continued investments and commitments we are making for the industry’s resilience are an absolute priority to give us the means to ensure long-term market balance, as well as ensure that Champagne remains an exceptional wine,” comments David Chatillon, President of the Union des Maisons de Champagne and co-President of the Comité Champagne.

4) Champagne remains THE benchmark

Champagne remains an undisputed benchmark for consumers. According to an IPSOS study in 2023, Champagne still embodies luxury, prestige and elegance. Consumers associate this wine with unique memories and emotional connections, making it the ideal choice to mark important moments and special occasions.

5) Renewed consumption and markets

The final reason for Champagne’s optimism lies in the renewal of consumption and markets.

Confined to “non vintage brut” for a long time, consumers are now looking for greater diversity in blends and dosage.

Demand for rosé Champagne abroad has increased 5-fold in 20 years. By the end of 2022, it represented over 10% of export sales, with 20 million bottles.

Low dosage wines (extra brut and zero dosage) are also on the rise, with volumes increasing almost 70-fold in the space of 20 years (6.4 million bottles exported in 2022).

Exports now account for almost 60% of total sales (171.7 million bottles), compared to 45% ten years ago, but many markets remain to be conquered. While 80% of Champagne is still sold in 8 countries, new markets such as Canada, South Africa and South Korea are showing growing interest in Champagne and have recorded remarkable growth in recent years.
Sustainability Update

With the Champagne region located at the northernmost portion of prime grape-growing latitudes, growers have spent more than a century thinking about climate and its impact on weather. As the world grapples with climate change, it’s no surprise Champagne is at the leading edge of sustainability practices.

Champagne in 2003 became the first wine-growing region in the world to conduct a carbon footprint assessment, identify the main sources of emissions, and enact a plan to curb those emissions. Since then, Champagne producers have cut CO2 emissions generated by each bottle of Champagne by 20 percent. The region aims to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050.

While honoring our traditions, Champagne also embraces the science of viticulture. Over the years, that has meant adopting new techniques to protect our vines from disease, create optimal yields, and husband our resources. The region is experimenting with soil management, growing practices, vine spacing, grape ripening, harvesting techniques and fermenting practices to prepare for the effects of climate change.

In 2014, the Champagne region planted new varietals to determine how they would fare in an era of extreme weather. Comité Champagne is continuing to evaluate these varietals to ensure the quality and yield meets the high standards for which Champagne is known, a process that takes at least 15 years. If new varietals are chosen, they will need to be registered in the French catalogue of vine varietals and added to the Champagne protection denomination of origin specifications.

Town of Cardston, Alberta lifts prohibition law after 121 years

Cardston in Alberta, one of Canada’s few remaining dry towns, has recently voted to remove laws forbidding the sale of alcohol.

It was announced that last week the town council voted in favour of allowing “limited liquor sales.” The historic decision resulted in voting 5-2 in favour of a bylaw allowing restaurants and recreation facilities to apply for a liquor license.

The Mormon-founded town has maintained its Prohibition laws long after the rest of the province axed them in 1923, with previous attempts to have the ban lifted, in 1957 and 2014.

“Do I have fears? I do. But I trust the people,” said Cardston mayor Maggie Kronen. “Changes can be good, changes can be bad — we shall see.”

According to the 2021 census, 62% of Cardston’s residents are Mormons, belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids the consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.

It will still be some months before the first alcoholic drink is served at a Cardston restaurant as applications for liquor licenses will take some time to process.

British Columbia’s Wine Industry Hit Hard by Wildfires

Compounding an already challenging season, the devastating impacts of climate change are being felt throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Shuswap regions once again with active wildfire situations evolving throughout these regions. The wildfires not only have an impact on wine tourism but also the livelihoods of winery staff; many of whom have been evacuated themselves.

“At this time, the safety of our community is the top priority and we’re asking everyone to do their part, be mindful of the conditions, and make safe and responsible decisions. This is a challenging time for our community, impacting individuals, communities, and neighborhoods in the Central Okanagan. We extend our heartfelt thoughts to those who have experienced loss or are displaced and express our gratitude to all of the emergency responders on the frontlines for their tireless efforts to ensure the safety of those in our community.”

It is too early to know whether the wildfires will impact this vintage for select producers in the impacted regions. The study of how smoke impacts finished wine is evolving and depends on many variables and we will provide updates once the situation becomes clearer.

“With so many small businesses and wineries being affected by the fires and tourism impacts, we encourage the public to continue to support your favourite local suppliers and producers directly or via their online boutiques. Your support is crucial during this pivotal time of year and the businesses truly appreciate it.”

To support Wildfire Relief Efforts, the following charitable organizations are providing direct support to those affected:

  • The Canadian Red Cross
  • Mamas for Mamas
  • United Way
  • Central Okanagan Food Bank

Wine Growers BC will continue to provide updates on wine tourism and the smoke situation as it evolves. In the meantime, we encourage you to follow Wine Growers BC, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations, Destination BC, and Tourism Kelowna for community updates.

Source:  Wines of British Columbia

Judging for the Canadian Marketing Awards 2023 “Engagement Discipline”

I’m very proud and thrilled to have been selected by the Canadian Marketing Association this year to participate as a judge for the “CMA Awards 2023 “in the Engagement Discipline!

I’ve finished evaluating and assessing campaigns from across the Country, and found some creative, bold, and outstanding examples of “Engagement!”

What is Engagement?

Engagement is about the dialogue between brands and people – B2B, B2C, partners, or employees. To manage long-term relationships (quarterly or annually) or lifetime value-driven (as opposed to one-off tactics), the dialogue can use personalization, experiential techniques, content driven, or target a community.

Social media is used to spark continued exposure (earned media, impressions, and interactions) with:

  • current news items
  • public interest topics
  • influencer marketing
  • product promotions or organizational updates

I wish everyone Good Luck !

Liz Palmer