I helped organize a Canada Day lunch event at my office this week to get everyone ready for the long weekend. We brainstormed a host of ideas and then broke it down to things that were doable for an office environment. I will break down some of these ideas and then give you suggestions for more things you can do at home for friends and family.
OFFICE CANADA DAY PARTY
1. We sold Canadian Flags for our designated charity for a $2.
2. We put together a Canada swag gift basket that we auctioned off, also for the charity.
3. We had game stations with little yellow rubber ducks floating in water, mini bowling set, Canadian Food Trivia, Canadian Trivia Pursuit, Word find of Canadian Provinces. Winners would receive little Canadian dollar store prizes.
4. We put up a huge laminated map of Canada and had people bring in photos of important Canadian destinations to them. We will keep the map up in a designated location in the office.
5. We posted the Flags of different provinces and asked people to think if they knew what they all were.
6. We set up a Canadian Food Station and a Canadian Treat station.
We had the following:
- Iced Tea
- Montreal Bagels with cream cheese, peanut butter and maple butter
- Ketchup Chips
- Maple bacon popcorn
- All dressed chips
- Nanaimo bars
- Maple Leaf cookies
- Butter tarts
- Maple marshmallows
- Maple leaf cake
7. We also had everyone dress in either Red or White or Canadian inspired outfits.
8. We had a Canadian Flag cake and had our Boss cut the cake and afterward we took a group photo with everyone in their Canadian gear.
9. Even though it might not be the right thing to do we decided to have all of the attendees sign a large Canadian Flag which we will also keep in the office as a commemoration of the Canada 150 celebration. I found out later that it is defacing the flag but we didn't mean any harm we wanted something as a time capsule item. We wrote the year and 150 on the Maple Leaf.
10. We also created a slideshow presentation of images either submitted or from each Province from coast to coast to play on the screen during the event.
HOME PARTY for friends and family ideas:
1. You can do all or any of the above ideas and more.
2. Set up some Muskoka chairs in the backyard and toast some of the Maple Marshmallows and Make Maple S'mores.
3. Set up an Oyster bar with Oysters from coast to coast.
4. Set up a Caesar station with all kinds of things to top the Caesar
5. Set up a Poutine Bar
6. Make some Peameal on a bun sandwiches
7. Make a Cheese platter with all Canadian local cheeses.
8. Make Maple candy with crushed ice and hot maple syrup
9. Get Tim Horton's and Tim bits for everyone.
10. Create a Montreal Bagel bar and other foods from different provinces
I could probably keep going with ideas but you can pick and choose which ones work for you.
We also set up an umbrella and a Dock space in our office for a relaxing scene. We had Canadian Flag plates, napkins and table cloth. I tried to inject as much red and white into the accessories and serving platters and containers as possible. Just stick to a red and white theme and you can add on some other things like a red and black lumberjack theme or a Canadian tuxedo (denim).
Since Canada Day falls on a Saturday this year there are lot's of things to do in Toronto. I am told that even Rabba foods will be open for all your last minute BBQ Party needs and a few other select grocery stores mostly downtown.
You might want to grab some friends and check out the Big Redpath Waterfront Festival where you can see the World's largest Rubber Duck in the Lake.
There are all kinds of Firework displays around Toronto or you can take a drive to our Nation's capital, Ottawa for a huge celebration but I heard security will be very tight so you will be doing a lot of walking around because of many street closures.
So if you want to stay close to home and just hang out with friends at home or even at a cottage you can still use some of these ideas for a great Canada Day experience.
For our work party I made mini butter tarts. I modified a recipe to make them a bit more Canadian.
THE BEST MINI BUTTER TARTS
· 750 ml (3 cups) all-purpose flour
· 1 tsp salt
· 100 ml (1/2 cup) cold butter, cubed
· 100 ml (1/2 cup) cold lard or vegetable shortening, cubed
· 2 large egg yolk
· 10 ml (2 tsp) white vinegar
· 100 ml (1/2 cup) ice-cold water
· 1 tbsp sugar
· 125 ml (1/2 cup) packed dark brown sugar
· 125 ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup or golden corn syrup
· 2 large egg
· 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
· 5 ml (1 tsp) maple syrup
· 10 ml (2 tsp) white vinegar or lemon juice
· 60 ml (4 tbsp) softened butter
· 1 tsp
· 100 ml (1/4 to 1/2 cup) raisins or coarsely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
Pastry: In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Using wire pastry cutter or a food processor cut in or pulse butter and lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using fork, stir in yolk, vinegar and water until dough holds together.
Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Filling: In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together all ingredients except raisins until combined. (This can be done in food processor.)
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, being careful that it is not too thin.
Using a (2-inch) round cookie cutter, cut into 24 rounds to fit a mini muffin tin.
Divide raisins among each pastry shell; spoon filling over raisins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Let cool in pan for about 2 minutes. Run knife or small metal spatula around edge of each tart; transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 24 butter tarts.