The pandemic might have grounded your vacation plans overseas but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore your own country this summer and discover under-the-radar sites ideal for the adventurous Canadian cannabis fan.
That’s why we’re looking beyond the obvious hotspots, like Vancouver’s Vansterdam strip, to list a few hidden gems and lesser-known landmarks for the curious and intrepid traveller.
Perfect for a chill road trip or a fun read in the park, this guide features one notable place to visit in each province, from historical stoner sites to jaw-dropping glassware stores to gorgeous smoke spots.
Here are our picks.
Tweed, 189 Water Street, St. John’s
There’s only one cannabis store that can say it sold the first legal weed in Canada and that’s the Tweed store in downtown St. John’s, NL, because midnight comes earlier there than anywhere else in the country. This Tweed outlet could be a cool add-on to a St. John’s walking tour as you stroll through the bustling Water Street area.
Visiting this historical spot could also remind you of whatever you were doing on that first day of legal cannabis on October 16, 2018, which is a dose of nostalgia we all could use right about now.
Newfoundland residents Ian Power and Nikki Rose snagged the first batch of legal cannabis that night, and Power gushed to reporters: “It’s been my dream to be the first person to buy the first legal gram of cannabis in Canada, and here I finally am.” He’s on-brand: According to his LinkedIn profile, Power runs a cannabis-themed clothing line called Cannaseur Apparel and has been a medical cannabis advocate for more than 30 years.
Prince Edward Island
If you’re heading to P.E.I., be warned: their cannabis restrictions are one of the most stringent in the country, with no public consumption allowed. Also, it’s up to the owners of tourist accommodations to decide whether to let guests consume in their private rooms or in areas outdoors on their properties.
That’s why we recommend this cozy guesthouse in the Brookvale area of P.E.I., a 30-minute drive west of Charlottetown. Besides being alarmingly adorable, the guesthouse owners noted they “are cannabis friendly outdoors,” which should push away any anxiety you might feel about getting ticketed in P.E.I.
It also helps to be surrounded by eight kilometres of “wooded walking trails, mountain bike trails and ATV trails,” especially if you’re one to enjoy a walk-and-smoke sesh.
A&J Unique Boutique
81 Golden Grove Road, Saint John
If you collect — or recreationally enjoy — fine glassware, from bongs to pipes to sculptures, you need to check out A&J Unique Boutique. Around the corner from a main retail district in Saint John, this two-year-old glassware store features uniquely designed bongs, such as this bee-themed beaut posted on Facebook.
The store recently got a shipment of new bongs from Ottawa designer John Honey Glass, who brings impressive flair and creativity to some of his more intricate pieces.
A staff member confirmed they are open for business as usual this summer.
Designed smoking area at The Dockyard Clock
5072 George Street, Halifax
What makes Nova Scotia special for cannabis heads is its designated smoking areas, dotted across the province, concentrated in Halifax.
Smoking one by the water should on one of your go-to afternoons, especially if you choose a cool spot like the designated area by the ferry terminal’s Dockyard Clock.
It might trip you out to learn that this clock was installed in 1772 and is the only remaining piece from the 18th century naval yard. Oh, and it’s the oldest working timepiece in Canada, predating the Halifax Town Clock on Citadel Hill by 31 years, according to the Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society.
Parc Tiohtià:ke Otsira’kéhne
Chemin de Polytechnique, Montreal
An underrated smoke site in Montreal, with scenic views perfect for summer, is the area around Outremont’s Parc Tiohtià:ke Otsira’kéhne, which butts up behind The University of Montreal and runs along the north flank of Mount Royal.
It’s always been known as a pretty park with a variety of memorable views to look over Outremont. What might be less known is that the main trail runs through the Notre Dame des Neiges cemetery, giving you another cool spot to explore.
You can end up on Mount Royal which attracts its share of Montreal tokers, who also realize it’s hard to beat those views looking across the city.
The Barn Co-Operative, 121 Old Highway 26, Meaford
This province has its share of cannabis-friendly hotspots, but a true hidden gem can be found in Meaford, Ontario, close to Owen Sound. It’s a sleepy 10,000-strong community but within their borders is a small cadre of volunteers called M.E.N.D (Mother Earth’s Natural Design). This group, led by broken-back-survivor Rob Mahy, teaches residents how to make cannabis edibles and runs workshops on the medicinal properties of cannabis.
As a local paper described one of this cooking lessons: “He also taught the class participants how to make canna coca oil by combining cannabis with coconut oil, which can be used by either adding it to food – Mahy said he preferred it baked into carrot cake – or used as a topical cream.”
On YouTube, a trailer for a documentary that has yet to be released profiled several M.E.N.D. members and medical cannabis patients who take their classes.
While their classes had to pause from March onward, as of early June they are resuming classes, so if you’re passing through Meaford, be sure to check their Facebook Page to stay updated on their latest classes.
Trout Lake, Flin Flon
Few cities in Canada are loaded with the cannabis-historical weight as Flin Flon, a sleepy city on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. On December 23, 2000, that city irrevocably changed: Health Canada awarded a contract to a private biotech firm, Prairie Plant Systems, to supply cannabis for medicinal purposes — and the green stuff was going to originate in Flin Flon, particularly in nearby Trout Lake.
The $5.7-million deal asked PPS to deliver 1,865 kilos of cannabis as pre-rolls and flower. The site took into consideration the security liability of suddenly getting into the drug-dealing business and also its ecological affect. As the Winnipeg Free Press wrote: “Not only did the mine’s 12,000-square-foot growth chamber offer unprecedented security from looters, it also guaranteed modified plants would not spread their traits to surrounding vegetation.”
So if you want to step through a special moment in cannabis legislation in Canada, head to Flin Flon and then to Trout Lake, where the mine closed long ago.
If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find a kitschy store selling one of those classic Flin Flon shirts from the early 2000s, depicting a miner pushing a rail car full of cannabis, singing: “High ho, high ho, it’s off to work we grow.”