Tomorrow is Canada Day. Our beautiful country will be 149 years old. Global TV Calgary invited us to talk DIY Canada Day party hosting, so Boom’s Jessica Tkachuk dropped by with some ideas and inspiration.
Three elements of successful party hosting:
- Food & Beverage
- Decor & Entertainment
We’ll start with hospitality. Canadians are known for it, and for good reason! The most important thing to remember: your guests want to enjoy YOU. Being a good host means doing all the prep ahead of time so you can enjoy their company and be present. To make sure you can do that, follow these tips:
- Be clear with your invite: remove the guess work for your guests by being clear in the invite when they should arrive, what they should wear, if children/guests are welcome, and if they should bring anything. Big one: ask in advance if there are any dietary restrictions you should be aware of.
- Enlist some help: you cannot be everywhere at once, but small jobs spread around make the work more pleasurable and the party more inclusive. Assign someone to door/coat/shoe duty, someone to making sure glasses remain full, someone to bus/refresh dishes, etc.
- Know your audience: Do the guests all know each other or will introductions be required? Are kids coming? Are there allergies you can prep for? A little research up front will limit surprises!
Food & Beverage
We went for a coast-to-coast Canada Day menu (and all around the city!), including colourful and easy-to-eat kabobs using Alberta beef and fresh veggies from the Calgary Farmer’s Market.
When it comes to event food, we’re a fan of food doubling as entertainment – anything that will provide an activity for your guests. Big Cheese Poutinerie (on 17th Avenue) helped us with the idea of a poutine bar. Cook up a few batches of crispy fries and delicious gravy (or pick it up from them!) and offer your guests a variety of toppings: pulled pork, steak bites, peppers – you name it. If you’re looking for ideas, check out the boards at Big Cheese, they’re lousy with ’em. Bonus tip: prepare a batch of vegan or vegetarian gravy as well, just in case. Jamie Oliver has a great vegan gravy recipe here.
To take the interactive food element to a new, theatrical level, pick up some coast-to-coast gems from Billingsgate Seafood Market (located in the Beltline at Community Natural Foods). They gave us a selection of east coast and west coast oysters, perfect for a shucking contest or gorgeous presentation. Never served oysters before? The first rule is always: buy your oysters from a reputable source (hence, why we visited Billingsgate). For more tips, check out this article from My Domaine.
From Inglewood, we picked up some red and white treats for our candy bar from Gummi Boutique. They also have a location in Kensington. We opted for jelly beans and lollipops, and feel we should be rewarded somehow for our constraint. This trip could have very easily gotten out of hand…
Just going to say it – there is no one better than the Kensington Wine Market. Not only did they select some awesome Canadian brews, but they labelled the back for Jessica so she’d be able to shout out their home cities during her Global TV segment – they’re the best.
Then again, a table full of ketchup and all-dressed chips would have worked just as well. Other ideas: maple syrup cocktails, loaded caesars, nanaimo bars, tourtière, bannock, and bacon – any way you like it.
Entertainment & Decor
The HBC stripes may be just as iconically Canadian as the red and white itself. We chose this palette for our Canada Day spread because it includes red and white, but also opens up more colourful opportunities. Hudson’s Bay has gorgeous home goods. The original colourfully striped blankets were introduced around 1800, sometimes known as “chief blankets” during the fur trade. To compliment the stripes, we added natural elements (like this wood serving tray from Indigo) that we had around the house and office – stick to neutral colours and you’re golden.
Finally, we turned to our dear friend Lea Romanowski from Designing on the Edge, who designed florals incorporating colours pulled directly from the points blankets. Tip: if you spread your florals into smaller, self-contained vases like these you can easily give them as thank-you gifts to those friends who stick around for clean-up or bring dishes/drinks to the party.
Thanks to Global Calgary for having us this morning, and to all of the awesome Calgary businesses who helped us make it happen. You can watch the segment below. Happy Canada Day everyone!