Vegging out

Then there's Canada's mother lode. Southwestern Canada could make you forget Canadian bacon forever. Unfortunately, I found out most of this after my last trip there, when I had just scratched the surface. Several cities in the region, such as Richmond, Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler, are teeming with vegan and vegetarian cuisine. In fact, Victoria claims the highest vegetarian food sales per capita in North America.

"Especially in the past 10 years, our options have really exploded, " said Linda Montague, a museum program assistant who has been a vegetarian for more than 40 years. "For me, having lived my whole life in Vancouver and Richmond … it's a celebration of all the amazing cuisines and cultures we have."

Here's a peek at just a few options in the area.

In Victoria, I enjoyed a vegetarian bite and handcrafted cocktails at Veneto Tapa Lounge ( at Hotel Rialto, the eco-friendly hotel where I stayed while on an adventure trip, and fellow vegan/vegetarians touted Rebar Modern Food, Cafe Bliss and Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery.

Rebar ( began as a juice bar in 1988 and helped pioneer Victoria's vegan/vegetarian culinary scene. Manager Shamus McDougall said the almond burger and Three Sisters enchiladas are the most popular dishes on Rebar's "Seed to Table" menu.

Cafe Bliss is a raw-food bar that specializes in superfood smoothies, energy elixirs and innovative desserts. And Venus Sophia ( is a tea room in Victoria's Chinatown. Tea readings and live music also are on the menu.

Richmond is home to the Vancouver International Airport and a large Asian population.

You can seek out Buddhist temple cuisine, such as lunch at the Taste of Zen cafe at the International Buddhist Temple ( It features vegetables freshly harvested (in season) from the temple's 8-acre farm next door. The suggested donation for a meal is $15.

The world is becoming a much friendlier place for those traveling veggie, now including a newly energized me. Here are some websites to get you going, no matter where you roam:,, and