The Canadian landscape offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world so it is little wonder that, like Australia, being outdoors is a favourite pastime.
Hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, boating, fishing, canoing, white water rafting and kayaking are all regular activities. And when you spend the day outdoors, you take your picnic with you.
For Childers’ local Alana, who spent eight years living in Canada, the similarities with her home country are many. But where they differ it is extreme.
“I remember going on my first outdoor outing with Mike (her Canadian husband) and we decided to go for a hike and picnic. We packed our bags and when we were ready to set off, Mike put a machette in my backpack,” Alana said.
The large weapon was to fend off wayward bears.
I would be up front so if we were to encounter a bear, Mike could grab the machette to protect us.
“You don’t walk side by side, you walk in single file. I would be up front so if we were to encounter a bear, Mike could grab the machette to protect us,” Alana said.
“Another time we were hiking and I had been eating an apple. As you do in Australia, being completely biodegradable, I threw the core into the bush. Mike was horrified and let me know that any kind of food scraps could attract bears to the hiking trails and potentially into the path of humans.”
With Canada reaching temperatures of Minus 35 in winter, you could be forgiven for thinking picnics were limited to six months of the year.
But according to Alana and Mike, because so much of the Canadian lifestyle revolves around snow, skiing and winter sports, outdoor picnics on the slopes are part of the experience.
“You pick a spot going down the mountain and throw your jackets onto the ground as a makeshift blanket. There are no picnic baskets, just backpacks that are filled with beer and food that can be eaten frozen and won’t be squashed like trail mix, granola bars and fruit bars,” Mike said.
Loading your backpack becomes an artform.
“You have to make sure the beer is close enough to your body so it doesn’t freeze from the cold, but far enough away from it so it’s cold enough. And then you have to make sure it is protected if you fall on top of them,” he said.
Generally speaking though, Canadian picnic baskets don’t tend to differ too much to Australian ones – they are filled with sandwiches, quiche or frittata, muffins and whatever seasonal fruits you can buy from a roadside stall.
Mike and Alana are the owners of Mollydookers Café and Bar at Apple Tree Creek, Childers – a fusion of Canadian and Modern Australia cuisine, featuring traditional wings, poutine and ceasars. They were Crush Magazine cover models for our first edition – The Picnic Issue