Time to celebrate, eh?

Whether you head up to cottage country or just out in your own backyard, here are three menus that will rock your Canada Day

Make use of the great outdoors and celebrate with a picnic spread. Whether it’s a city park or somewhere a little more out of the way, eating outside is a summertime joy. This menu is designed for portability and everything can be made ahead. For information on parks in your province, visit the Parks Canada website.

Dips and veggie sticks are the way to go for pre-meal munching. They’re easy to pack and healthy to boot. Our Mexican hummus dip starts with a container of store-bought dip – all you need to do is add a little heat with pickled jalapeños and a few chopped roasted peppers. Pack carrot, celery and pepper sticks for dunking as well as pita triangles.

Fresh salads are a given, but think no-wilt so they stand up over time and can handle warm conditions. Our Rainbow coleslaw actually tastes better the longer it sits, yet is still fresh and tangy. The tart apple cider vinaigrette keeps coleslaw mix and a handful of colourful peppers crunchy. Serve with our Crusty country sandwich – a crowd-pleaser that’s similar to the much-loved muffaletta – an Italian classic with salami and olives.

The trick with picnics is to eat things that don’t require a lot of cutlery or dishes. For something heartier than a sandwich, try our Curry-barbecue chicken kebabs. Many parks have barbecues available for general use or you can bring your own. Weber has amazing portable ones that aren’t any bigger than a case of beer!

Finish off with something that’s hands-only eating. A pan of squares or brownies travels easily and who can resist a good hit of chocolate? Try our Speedy fudge brownies and dish them up with luscious ripe strawberries.

Tips to keep it safe:

1. Allow plenty of time to cook food ahead so it can be chilled thoroughly in the refrigerator. Use an insulated cooler with enough ice packs to keep food at about 4C. Take food straight from the fridge to the cooler.
2. Make your own ice packs. Pour juice or water into plastic pop bottles, leaving 1-in. (2.5-cm) at the top. Freeze, and then add to your cooler. When the juice defrosts you have a cold drink ready to enjoy.
3. Place raw marinated meat intended for the barbecue in plastic bags. Keep separate from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination. Better yet, pack it in a different cooler.
4. Put drinks and snacks in another cooler in the shade, so the cooler with perishable food in it isn’t constantly opened and closed.

For information on parks in your province, visit the Parks Canada website.

In an ideal world, everyone would be relaxing at a cottage during the Canada Day long weekend. The cottage scene is perfect for catching up on lost zzz’s, so a leisurely brunch is just the ticket for a long and lazy celebration. Check out our cottage rental guide to find a spot near you.

Set the mood and start off with our bubbly Sunny peach sipper. Don’t bother buying the champers unless you’re feeling flush – in this case, sparkling wine is the better value because you’ll be mixing it with juice.

Blueberry pancakes are a cottage treat – be truly Canadian and douse them with delicious maple syrup as well as fresh local berries. Lemon peel brightens the flavour and we’ve used whole-wheat flour for a healthy twist.

We Canadians love butter tarts. Start the morning right with our Butter tart muffins – all the sweetness in a less-sticky muffin form. Finish off with Lime-laced fruit salad – it’s filled with colourful favourites such as mango, papaya, strawberries and kiwi, tossed with a lime-honey drizzle.

Backyard barbecues are meant to be casual affairs. Do all the prep ahead, so come party time you can mingle while tending the grill.

Finger-licking Chili-molasses rubbed ribs are an easy crowd-pleaser – but be warned – they’re sticky! Have finger bowls with a little water and lemon juice on hand. If you like it spicy, try our Fiery barbecued steak – it goes down even better with a frosty cold beer.

Potato salad goes well with just about anything grilled. Our Dilled potato salad isn’t your usual though. We’ve added fennel for crunch and grated fresh parmesan for extra creaminess.

Since the barbecue is already fired up, try Grilled pineapple salad with passion fruit vinaigrette. Make the dressing a day before, then grill the pineapple before something meaty hits the ‘cue. Finish off with a slice of Lightly spiced peach & berry torte while watching the fireworks.