In the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec the legal drinking age is 18. In the rest of Canada it’s 19. If you’re after hard liquor you’ll need to visit a licensed store – you can’t just pick up a bottle like you do in the supermarkets in the UK. There will usually be a liquor store right by the supermarket though, so no need to make a special trip. As for beer and wine you can get that in most places as many Canadians do – ready to watch the sports they’re well known for (mainly hockey).
The most popular beers in Canada are Molson's and Labatt's. They’re pale gold lagers, with an alcohol content of 5-6%. Canadians are riding the recent wave of micro breweries and they’re popping up all over the country selling a range of tasty and locally produced beers. The major cities will have one or two brew pubs, which make and serve the beer in the same place – a brilliant experience for anyone visiting Canada on a gap year.
The ice wine in Canada is amazing – you have to try it. It’s a very sweet dessert wine made from frozen grapes, usually from the Niagara Region. It’s pretty expensive compared to the usual wine, but served chilled or in a cocktail, it’s sweetly delicious.
If you’re visiting Canada on your gap year try and fit in a visit to one of the vineyards in Okanagan, Lake Eerie, southern Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands – I can guarantee you’ll have a great time.
The top spirits to try in Canada include Rye whiskey – such as Canadian Club, Wisers or Crown Royal – and Yukon Jack, a whiskey-based liqueur with citrus overtones.
You’ll find all the standard non alcoholic beverages that you would anywhere in Canada. The tap water is so fresh here that you’re no better off buying bottled – just take a refillable water bottle with you and save some cash.
They love their coffee in Canada and they’re homemade brand Tim Hortons, is everywhere, seconded only by Starbucks.