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Western Canada's best bakeries lets make a list

I will be taking a RV trip across BC, AB and SK this summer. Heading East on Hwy 3 and West again on TCH, but am happy to divert onto secondary roads, especially for an incredible loaf of crusty bread.

I will start with my home region.

Cowichan Bay, True Grains Bakery is the place for wonderful breads made with freshly ground flour. They do not sell cakes or dough nuts, but have a great selection of yeast buns and pastries. Spelt cookies are on my shopping list too. Limited seating, coffee and tea and small bunwiches served at lunch. Open Wednesday through Sunday.

Duncan: Westphalia Bakery, A German style bakery with a large assortment of cookies, pasties, cakes, and breads. Their Orange Cream Cheese Cake is a family birthday cake favourite. Open Tuesday to Friday and Saturday mornings.

Shawnigan Lake: Elford Farm Bakery and Deli. Renown for his Cakes Gerald also makes great bread, pasties and lunch dishes. Seating limited to out on the deck. I am not sure about the hours.

Victoria: Mount Royal Bagel Factory. Small chewy malty bagels, available from the bakery or in several retail locations. We get them fresh from the bakery and several disappear on the drive home.

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  1. 600 Degrees, Tofino - for her amazing sourdough baked in a wood-fired fire-brick oven. Starter-leavened and all-organic ingredients.

    Terra Breads - Vancouvwer - sourdough breads

    Thomas Haas, North Vancouver - patisserie and chocolates. Thomas was Daniel Boulud's pastry chef at Daniel NYC for a number of years.

    Butter, Vancouver - cookies, and assorted stuff etc.

    Sweet Art - North Vancouver - assorted goodies.

    Notte's Bon Ton - Vancouver - patisseries, Diplomat Cake (their specialty)

    6 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      A similar question came up recently, focusing on Vancouver bakeries. Here are a few of my faves (some repeats from fmed's list), focusing on sweets. For danishes, my favourite is Patisserie LeBeau. I brought them for a work-related function in the spring and the docs are still talking about them. Be sure to pick up a loaf of craquelin too if they have it (sweet bread mmm). I like Liberty Bakery on Main for sweets, and Patisserie Bordeaux do a good job of the fancier French stuff. Fratelli's on Commercial will fill the bill for Italianesque goodies. I had cupcakes at an open house from Butter on Dunbar that were very tasty and full of their namesake. Sweet Es in Kerrisdale has some good offerings. Pastry Club also in Kerrisdale has good sweets made from quality ingredients and they also have great sandwiches if you're there at lunch. Tinker's Hatch on MacKenzie used to have good straight up non-fancy sweets (bear claws, anyone?) but I haven't been by in a while. Notte's Bon Ton on Broadway is worth a look -- just this past weekend had some really superb squashed fly biscuits from there and their version of cannoli is great too.

      1. re: grayelf

        Great list so far. To add to it... the French bakery outside Granville Island for chocolate almond croissants, Michele Bakery in Kerrisdale for Chinese mango or chestnut cakes, donuts from Valley Bakery on Hastings or Honey's in Deep Cove.

        I think it's so sad that we have to go so many places to get our baked goods. I wish there was one great place we could visit to get everything. Like Tartine Bakery in SF. But then again, if we had a Tartine, I wouldn't bake as much.

        1. re: im_hungry

          Oddly enough, I just discovered that we DO have a Tartine, though it's not the same as the one in SF of course. It's on Beach Avenue just west of the Granville Street bridge. I haven't had a chance to try it yet though...

          PS Honey's Doughnuts, mmm (said in Homer Simpson voice).

          1. re: grayelf

            i was so excited when i first saw that tartine in vancouver, but quickly found out it was not even close to the SF one....

            1. re: grayelf

              Tartine has the most amazing Crustic White bread! Always a huge hit at dinner parties. They sell out of it quite early....

              1. re: JanetAnd

                Thanks for the tips -- it's harder to find good white bread these days. I see you are headed to SF soon, JanetAnd; if you go to the Tartine there, so let us know :-).

      2. Does Manitoba count, even if you won't be driving through?

        Tall Grass Prairie--great organic stone-ground breads. The store at the Forks has more variety, but I prefer the original branch on Westminster. Awesome carrot cake and muffins. Best known for their whole wheat cinnamon buns (which are best when fresh), but their savoury bread pudding (only at the Forks, I think) is also a treat.

        Le Croissant--assuming it's still open, great French-style breads in St. Boniface. Good croissants, french pastries, etc.

        La Grotta/Piazza de Nardi--good Italian-style breads, and a decent selection of cakes and similar goodies.

        Gunn's--for pizza bagels! (their other bagels are good, too), apple jacks, and florentine cookies (and knishes--do those count in this topic?).

        Just down the street from Gunn's is the Donut House--I've loved their lemon doughnuts for decades! Good sausage rolls, too.

        There's a good Portuguese bakery, too, but I can't remember its name.

        7 Replies
        1. re: prasantrin

          Manitoba counts of course.

          Where are the AB and SK bakeries folks?

          And what about more BC Bakeries outside of the larger centres? There must be great bread in the Okanogan, Kootenays etc.

          1. re: mlgagnon

            -Patisserie Lebeau (is this the one outside of Granville Island referenced above?) for Belgian waffles
            - Meinhardt for the mango sable
            - Trafalgars for palmiers

            -Manuel Latruwe for bread and croissants
            - Glamorgan Bakery for cheese buns and sugar bread (only made once a month)
            - Nectar for anything lemon-based
            - Rustic Sourdough for great rye and quick breads

            - The Gourmet Croissant (products also featured at Communitea which ahs a nicer ambience)

            - Wild Flour homey baked goods and bread

            1. re: toutefrite

              I'll add Ganache Patisserie in Yaletown. Amazingly delicious and devine !

              1. re: gourmet wife

                In a similar but not quite as top drawer vein I will add:

                Patisserie Bordeaux
                3675 W. 10 Avenue, Vancouver, BC

                Great croissants, cakes and other French delights on the way to UBC.

              2. re: toutefrite

                Calgary: I second Manuel Latruwe(www.manuellatruwe.com), hopefully he's reopened by the time the OP comes through...if not Rustic sourdough Bakery (at the Calgary Farmer's Market and 17th Av SW)definitely has wonderful bread - I'm partial to the cranberry pecan bread myself. L-o-v-e Nectar desserts (www.nectardesserts.com) ...I haven't found a single dish that didn't make me want to lick the plate clean. (although you'll find pasteries and ice cream here not breads... still worth a mention imho


                Banff - 2nd Wild Flour Bakery for their breads and their breakfast paninis. Expect lineups. (www.wildflourbakery.ca)

                1. re: toutefrite

                  Saw this post and decided to check out "The Gourmet Croissant" in Canmore at 11:40 this morning. They had no croissants at all, in fact they had virtually nothing. When I asked why they had no product, they seemed very surprised and taken aback that I would ask such a question, then they answered that they had had "a busy morning". They are apparently open until 3:00, not sure what they were planning on doing for the rest of the day, just hanging out and getting paid for nothing maybe?

                  I wasn't impressed, I suppose maybe their baker works in the early morning, then goes home. Maybe this is normal for a french-style bakery, but if a restaurant is open until 3 I don't expect them to be completely sold out of everything by 11:40.

                  I suppose I'll try them again some other day, earlier in the morning.

                2. re: mlgagnon

                  Quality Bakery in Invermere BC. Local favourite for bread, cakes, and whole-wheat cinnamon buns. Take some of the oatmeal chews for a snack on the road.

              3. Also add Brulee in Calgary mostly for cakes and the shortbread lady in the CFM because that's some sweet shortbread.

                1. Ah yes, bread in Calgary. There's Urban Baker on Edmonton Trail and Prairie Mill Bread Co. on Crowchild north by Northlands.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sharonanne

                    It feels strange to reply to myself but I just discovered the chocolate chip banana bread at Prairie Mill Bakery. It's amazing. Filled with chocolate chips, moist and very dense. The size of a normal loaf this thing weighs 2lbs 6 oz.

                  2. In Calgary: Planet Organic and Lakeview Bakery are where I'd recommend for gluten-free/spelt products. Planet O is an easy drive off the Trans-Canada, exit Shaganappi Tr north, and it's maybe 5 minutes away, in a strip mall just off the Trail. Lots of gf cookies.(http://www.planetorganic.ca/ourstores...) Lakeview Bakery is a bit further off the T-Can, exit at Crowchild, and it's basically at the far south end of Crowchild Trail... about 15-20 minutes on a good day. Lots of GF rice and spelt products though so it might be well worth the drive(http://www.organicbaking.com/) HTH :)

                    1. Bliss & Co. Cupcakes in Calgary makes nice cupcakes and pies.
                      They're in Chinatown, but not a Chinese bakery. Address: 108 3rd Ave SW, lower level.

                      1. My faves are La Baguette Et L'echalote for croissants and bread, Notte's Bon Ton for their diplomat cake, pastries, and cookies, and Lee's for doughnuts. I also tried some excellent bread this past Sunday at A Bread Affair at the gastown farmers market. We bought some organic white to go with our dinner and it was amazing. We will be getting something from them again this Sunday for dinner but don't know if they have an actual shop somewhere.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: selena03

                          A Bread Affair seems to be at most of the intown farmers' markets. The 'rents picked some up last Sunday at the Kits one (I guess they were in two markets on the same day as selena got hers in Gastown) and my friend got a baguette from them at the Wednesday Thornton Park one. I haven't been to Trout Lake since earlier in the summer so can't recall for sure if they were there. I must try them!

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Victoria: Fol Epi. Not only do they mill their own organic flour on site (both white and whole wheat), and not only do they have a wood-fired oven producing the best baguette I have ever tasted, they also have an excellent pastry chef.

                            Pure Vanilla: for their excellent cakes.

                            1. re: anewton

                              Boo yeah, somebody said Fol Epi.
                              No donuts, sticky buns, or marble rye.
                              They are all authentic, french, naturally levened goodness. Most authenic boulangerie i've found in canada...maybe a couple in montreal...

                          2. re: selena03

                            I asked them today (A Bread Affair) and they have a store in Langley-too far for me-I will enjoy while I can through the markets...

                            1. re: selena03

                              They have their breads at the Whole Foods on Cambie and Broadway too. I'm currently enjoying a nice ciabatta from them. Quite tasty.

                          3. Personally in Calgary I am a fan of the Amandine bakery and also Gunther's. Just about everything at either is good, and i have noticed that other bakers go to Gunther's to buy specific items for their own bakeries.

                            1. Best Croissants in Vancouver: the Angus Bakery on W. Broadway between Alma and Dunbar. This is an excellent little place run by an Asian couple, who named the business after their son. The husband bakes, his wife runs the till. Go early for the wonderful cheese croissants, which are sublime and sell out quickly.

                              My favorite bakery in Edmonton: the Bee Bell Health Bakery 80th Ave & 104th St. I'm very surprised this place hasn't been mentioned - it's been in business forever. Great breads, pastries and cookies - and fantastic, creamy quiches. Whenever I go to Edmonton, I stop here on the way in from the airport.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: searchlight

                                Will have to try Angus again -- the one time we went, I wasn't bowled over. But I didn't try a cheese croissant, I think it was a scone which they were touted as making quality versions IIRC

                              2. In Edmonton I enjoy the pastries from La Favorite. Consistently good cakes and pastry for special occaisions. Good stuff.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Magnapro

                                  I have to say that I've been pretty disappointed in La Favorite's baked goods of late. Their cakes may be nice but their croissants have been doughy and the scones are strictly average with a sticky glace covering a boring inside (plus only available on the weekends).

                                  1. re: eatrustic

                                    I did say cakes and pastry not any bread at all.

                                2. If you like Montreal-style bagels, you should definitely check out the shop called "Montreal Bagels" here in Calgary. It's on the SE corner of Heritage Drive and Elbow Drive SW intersection. The owner used to work at St. Viateur in Montreal. These bagels are as close to the real thing as you can get. They have pretty much the exact texture and chewiness as the ones from St Viateur in Montreal and they are made in a wood-fire oven as well.

                                  1. In Calgary, Eclair du Lune is awesome! Truly, they make wonderful things and the prices are good, I would highly recommend them.

                                    1. since summer is about over (and too quickly for my liking) I was wondering if the OP could report back... having just watched the RV movie I'm curious to hear about the (food related) adventures :)

                                      1. Edmonton - Bee Bell Bakery south of Whyte ave is a good choice for bread and pastries.

                                        Edmonton - Bon Ton Bakery in the west end is awesome. http://www.bonton.ca/

                                        La Favorite's cakes are excellent, but I agree that everything else they produce is only passable.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: S_B_Russell

                                          I second Bee Bell's! Love their pastries, diabetic cookies, croissants, cakes, and sausage rolls

                                          For Vancouver I tend to indulge in the numerous Asian bakeries around town - Keefer's, New Town (for the huge meat stuffed steamed buns).

                                          In Calgary Glamorgan has amazing Cheese buns.

                                          I also like Cob's in Calgary/Edmonton/Vancouver for their Cape Seed Bread, Jalapeno Cheddar bread, and ham/cheese croissants.

                                          1. re: foodkarma

                                            If you haven't tried Cob's scones, you need to. Especially the white chocolate and cranberry ones, and the cheese and chive ones.

                                            1. re: anonymoose

                                              On a recent camping trip in BC and Alberta, Cobs in Kamloops was a good find. I agree about the scones. Right next door is a butcher, and next to that a produce market - all the makings for a good picnic lunch.

                                              Also on that trip, we stopped at a bakery a few doors away from Crazy Weed in Canmore. We got to Weed after it closed for the afternoon (3pm), so the bakery was a welcome backup. I don't offhand recall its name.

                                              On a rainy morning the the bakery/cafe in the mall at Lake Louise was a nice brunch stop.

                                              Other stops included one at the Balfour ferry dock on Kootenay Lake, and one in Jasper.

                                              1. re: anonymoose

                                                oh yes I do love the cinnamon chip scones... but I'm definitely more of a croissant person than a scone person. Just in general.

                                                I'll have to get some cheese and chive for Christmas breakfast though - warmed up... mmmmm

                                                1. re: John Manzo

                                                  hmmm..... sorry maybe I missed a blurb in the original post about not posting bakeries we like even if it's a chain??

                                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                                    They might be a chain but they're still good. I love Cobs and they're a lot more convenient for me than an independant bakery. Although I still try to go to Eclair de lune sometimes.

                                                    1. re: AriaDream

                                                      I agree, I miss having Cobs nearby (used to live 3 minutes from the one on Country Hills Bv)

                                                      Couple of notes about Cobs from my experience
                                                      >>don't bother going right when they open, a lot of their offerings aren't ready til 9-10am.
                                                      >>The scones are good but I find the glaze they sometimes use a bit too sweet imho(chocolate glaze was good however).
                                                      >>Their whole wheat block makes a great everyday sandwich bread and iirc its not any more expensive than your average previously frozen dempsters ww from Superstore.

                                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                                        The Cape Seed Loaf has great texture and is packed full of nuts and grains.

                                              2. Saskatoon: Christie's Bakery on 33rd. Simply the best bakery in the city. Artisan breads at their best...sourdough to die for. Also, amazing paninis at lunch...and oddly enough the only place to get an authentic pizza in the city (only on Thurs afternoons, though!!). Long lineups on Saturdays, but definitely worth the wait.

                                                1. Not a pure bakery per se, but if you're looking for fresh middle eastern breads (lavash, barbari, sangak etc) then Mitra's in West Van has them all. I don't make the trek just to go there, but if I'm in the 'hood, I'll buy a tonne and freeze...

                                                  1. Gunther's in Calgary, 17th ave and 42nd st SE. The buns, especially the caraway and salt stick or kifli are one of my favorites and their cakes and pastries are very good as well. I have actually seen bakers from other bakeries in Calgary purchasing things from Gunther's and then trying to pass them off as their own.

                                                    1. I second Fratelli's on the Drive. My fave. La Baguette on Granville Isle is pretty good, and McKinnon's on Granville & 11th isn't bad either. Everything I've seen here are great suggestions. Must try Butter.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I know this is in MB but, Gunn's Bakery in Wpg makes the best lavash.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: sarah galvin

                                                          My mother loves their lavash, too.

                                                          I love their pizza bagels, pecan pie, and florentines. Their spinach and feta knish are good when fresh, but sometimes even the stuff in the fresh display case tastes like it was once frozen. I like their danishes, too. And spinach and feta croissant, and their cheese croissant, except sometimes their savoury items taste kind of sweet.

                                                          They also used to have the best apple fritters ever, but they don't make them anymore. :-(

                                                          1. re: prasantrin

                                                            Quick shout out to the new Thomas Haas on West Broadway in Vancouver (original mentioned above by fmed)...

                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                              thanks greyelf for the information. No more crossing bridge!!!

                                                        2. Victoria:

                                                          Fol Epi: Cliff Leir's bakery in the Dockside Green development. Wild Yeast, whole-grain breads baked in a wood-fired oven. Great whole grain bread!!!

                                                          Pure Vanilla Bakery at Cadboro Bay/Estevan. Tasty pastries and cakes in all sizes, good lunch spot.

                                                          Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe
                                                          2590 Cadboro Bay Rd, Oak Bay, BC V8R, CA

                                                          1. In Calgary Eclair De Lune is absolutely excellent. 1049 40 Ave NW is the address.

                                                            1. Wildfire Bakery on Quadra in Victoria. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this....I've been lurking and just had to register to pass on the word regarding this little jewel. A taste of France on the left coast.

                                                              1. My first visit to Glamorgan Bakery in Calgary today. Great great place.
                                                                The prices floored me. Very reasonable.

                                                                1. I'm surprised no one has added Edmonton's Duchess Bake Shop to this list yet.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: anonymoose

                                                                    I was about to add them, but I saw a separate thread for them. But yes, Duchess belongs on this list.

                                                                  2. For just pies, I want to add Log Barn 1912 in Calgary to the list. I haven't tried their BC location but the crust is just incredible. The only baked item they have is pies though.

                                                                    1. In Victoria: Wild Fire and Fol Epi

                                                                      Great bakeries.

                                                                      1. Must go to "Bear Paw" in Jasper or the second location "The Other Paw". Great bread, sweets, and most important to me the jalapeno olive pizza pretzels and the various savory stuffed loafs like the Great Canadian, Meet the Greek, Italian Stalion etc.

                                                                        And if your more in it for the sweets get a Raspberry White chocolate scone, or of course and original bear paw (like a less sticky cinnamon bun). The other paw has a really rich espresso square which is awesome too! Can't wait, going up there this weekend, will get my fix.