The name Canada brings many associations to mind, from the vast conifer forests with their legendary trappers, to the proud isolation of the French-speaking provinces in the east. The second largest country in the world, area-wise
, has at the same time one of the lowest population densities on earth.
The cities and settlements are concentrated mainly along the longest border in the world without military protection: the border with the USA. The increasing need of distinction, from the cultural point of view, from the powerful neighbors to the south is decisive for the definition of the Canadian identity, since the differences with the U.S. are numerous and clearly evident. Above all, Canada is a constitutional monarchy of which Queen Elisabeth is the head of state.
Vancouver is the capital of British Columbia, the state along the Pacific coast that took its name from the British captain who “discovered” the mouth of the Fraser river for the first time in 1792. With 2 million inhabitants
, Vancouver has all the advantages of a real metropolis
, though it is still relatively accessible and has a more human dimension than many other cities in North America. Basically, Vancouver is not only a Canadian city but one of the characteristic cities of the entire American West Coast, to the extent that it has a great deal in common with San Francisco
. One example of this is the high percentage of Asian population in the city: Vancouver has the second largest Chinatown in North America. Another point in common is its past, when it was considered the center of the alternative counter-culture and the Gay Rights movement in the 60s and 70s.
A milestone in the recent history of the city was the World Expo 1986, when Vancouver was able to take its place as one of the most important economic centers and tourist destinations. In 2010 the Winter Olympic Games were held in Vancouver.
The varied culinary offering, thanks to the presence of many ethnic groups and immigrants, in particular from Asia, is really inviting. Celiacs should take the usual preventive measures, however, and make precise requests and, if necessary, bring along their own gluten-free soy sauce
. Throughout North America, there is a well-developed awareness of celiac disease, and the famous alternative “diners” as well as many of the most popular restaurant chains offer special menus for both lunch and dinner, for people with gluten intolerance. A particular specialty is the Panne Rizo bakery, specialized only and exclusively in gluten-free products, which also has a very nice Café-Bistro. Vacationers who prepare their own meals can find a good selection of gluten-free foods at various supermarkets, especially those that focus on organic foods such as the Whole Foods Market or Caper's
. The website managed by the local group of the Canadian Celiac Association
, in addition to general information in this connection, features a helpful list of restaurants for celiacs!