Toque & Canoe portage through downtown Calgary marking Canada Day 2011 launch / Photo by George Webber

 

Toque & Canoe — a blog/online magazine featuring stories about Canadian travel culture — was founded by Jen Twyman (Toque) and Kim Gray (Canoe).

Two Canadian travellers with journalism backgrounds, Twyman and Gray previously collaborated on stories for mainstream media about their adventures.

Driven by a desire to reinvigorate what coverage of Canada’s travel scene could look like, they created Toque & Canoe as their own storytelling vehicle and launched it, fittingly, on Canada Day in 2011.

A fresh and distinct voice in the world of Canadian travel media was born — a voice with a strong online presence on multiple platforms that connects with a growing and engaged audience.

Toque & Canoe history

— Our little blog that could became a nationally award-winning site in 2012 when it was named “Best Travel Blog/Canadian & International Submissions,” courtesy Destination Canada GoMedia Awards judge Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite fame.

We were also, in 2012, nominated for a White Hat Award by Tourism Calgary.

— In 2013, Toque & Canoe won Online Magazine of the Year at the Western Magazine Awards in Vancouver.

— In 2014, contributors Lorna Crozier (a Governor General award-winning Canadian poet) and photographer Lori Andrews were listed as finalists in Tourism Saskatchewan’s Awards of Excellence for their collaboration Exploring Light’s Birthplace.

— In 2015, our post Tasting Turtle Island: Aboriginal Cuisine Goes Mainstream was shortlisted in the culinary category for Destination Canada’s prestigious Explore Canada GoMedia Awards of Excellence.

— In 2016, we were formally recognized, for work related to Toque & Canoe, by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society at their College of Fellows annual dinner in Ottawa, Ontario.

— In 2017, we produced the inaugural Guide to Indigenous Tourism in Canada, in collaboration with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (and a small but mighty team of creatives), which can be viewed here. (For an updated version of the magazine, which is re-published regularly, look here.)

— In 2018, we were invited by the Nature Conservancy of Canada to present on their popular speaking tour given that nature is often a theme in our travel coverage. Thanks to regular contributor Don Enright, author of The gnarly North Coast Trail, for being one heck of a Toque & Canoe ambassador at this popular event.

We were also thrilled, in 2018, to hire ourselves out as editors for the visually stunning Churchill Wild: 25 years of Adventure on the Hudson Bay Coast — a publication that tells the story of one of Canada’s most remarkable travel companies, a company that wants to take you walking with polar bears.

— In 2019, The New York Times reached out to us as a reliable resource on Canadian travel culture (made our day!) and gave us a mention and hotlink in their story about Canadian alternatives to U.S. hot spots.

We also decided, in 2019, to start — with a distinctly Canadian spin of course — cranking up our coverage of international destinations of interest to Canadians.

Urban trekking in Taiwan and Meet Norway’s Bathing Angels are two examples of what coverage of this nature can look like.

— Since our launch, Toque & Canoe has grown to include posts created by celebrated storytellers (including multiple award-winning travel writer and our now Editor-at-large Margo Pfeiff), gifted photographers (Vancouver’s John Lehmann, formerly of the Globe and Mail, and Calgary-based Natalie Gillis), as well as distinguished Canadians (including Astronaut Robert Thirsk who paid a visit to Tofino for us not too long ago.)

— You can also hear us regularly on CBC Radio’s province-wide DayBreak Alberta where we share our adventures and tackle larger themes in the Canadian travel world.

So, do you have any interest in travelling to Atlantic Canada and “biting into 25,000 years of caught water and frozen light?” We invite you to give celebrated poet Lorna Crozier’s Gobsmacked in Newfoundland & Labrador a read.

Are you curious about the explosion of culture that is one of Western Canada’s largest Indigenous celebrations? Then you’ll definitely want to check out Pow Wow Power: The Colours of Kamloopa — an extraordinary photo essay created by prominent Calgary photojournalist Leah Hennel.

Or perhaps you’re keen to travel to La Belle Province to experience, like our Senior Editor Valerie Berenyi did, its Charming Charlevoix region. “Who needs France,” she asks, “when we have Quebec?”

If you, like Toque & Canoe, have a major crush on all things Canadian, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and sign up for our (very) occasional postcard by entering your e-mail, which will remain secure, on our homepage.

As we announced the day we launched in 2011, we invite you to lace up your boots and grab the bug spray. Let’s get this road trip started…

Kim Gray – Co-founder, Editor-in-chief

Jennifer Twyman – Co-founder, Contributor

Valerie Berenyi – Senior Editor, Contributor

Margo Pfeiff – Editor-at-large, Contributor

 

Recognition