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Food and drink

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Muna Mohammed's award-winning company Eight50 draws on the methods of her Ethiopian ancestors, using parts of the coffee plant that would otherwise be discarded.Supplied

A bright boost

While growing up in Toronto, Muna Mohammed often watched her mother prepare a hot, slightly sweet and floral loose-leaf tea, sometimes adding spices or milk. It was made from the fruit shell of the coffee bean, known as hashara in Ethiopia (and in the industry by the Spanish word cascara), which is usually discarded in coffee processing. “My mother taught me how to roast and prepare various coffee recipes and told me all the ways our ancestors utilized everything from the coffee plant – including the leaves and the husk, what most would consider as waste. That made me hope the world would start to drink this.” Last year, Mohammed’s company Eight50 earned the Coffee Association of Canada’s innovation award for creating a refreshing, canned version of the cascara drink in flavours of yuzu elderberry and pomegranate.

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Muna MohammedSupplied

With a strong family connection to coffee – her late grandfather was a coffee farmer in Ethiopia – Mohammed noticed how barely any brands on grocery store shelves were owned by racialized women from coffee-growing regions. “I thought, I’d love to see that change.” She took matters into her own hands in 2020. Named after the year when coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia (850 AD), Eight50 mainly sources from the country where the founder speaks her mother-tongue with the farmers: “There’s no better feeling for them than to feel heard,” she says. Their coffee is sold online at, at select Ontario Sobeys locations, and the cascara beverage at select GTA locations such as Classic Juice Co., Chic Peas Veg and Mess Hall. – Aruna Dutt


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Naturally Pacific Resort will open in May in Campbell River, B.C.Naturally Pacific Resort

Spa, swing, sleep, repeat

A new boutique hotel is bringing some high-end gloss to the outdoorsy resort scene in Campbell River, B.C. The small city is found halfway up Vancouver Island’s east coast – it’s famous for salmon fishing and as a jumping-off point for adventure in Strathcona Provincial Park, Mount Washington and the Discovery Islands along the Inside Passage.

Naturally Pacific Resort has 100 guest rooms, many with views of the Discovery Passage. When it opens May 11, refined decor will be matched by fine-dining experiences helmed by Canadian chef Ryan Watson and a fancy spa (where customized treatments, mineral pool soaks and “experience showers” that come with chromotherapy, aqua-therapy, aromatherapy and relaxing sound settings) are promised. A driving range and Campbell River Golf Club course are just out the resort’s back door and, if you’re travelling with your dog(s), Fido is welcome, too. The resort offers dog beds, in-room water bowls and a pet-washing station to spray them down after a long ramble through the backcountry. – Catherine Dawson March


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Kiwi clothing brand Rodd & Gunn's Yorkville store is in an old house, with brick-lined interior walls, hardwood floors and wool carpets, spread over three storeys, giving it a homey retail feel.Supplied

A taste of down under

Beloved Kiwi men’s wear brand Rodd & Gunn – long recognized for the English pointer logo on its shirts, has expanded its retail footprint into Canada, recently opening its first stand-alone store in Toronto’s tony Yorkville neighbourhood. The brand, which was founded in the mid-1940s and is known for crafting quality garments from natural materials such as wool, cotton and linen, has taken a slow but steady approach to global expansion. It entered the Canadian market in 2022 through Hudson Bay concessions and is now looking to open three to five stand-alone stores, with Montreal and Vancouver next on its list.

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“Our premises selection almost always starts with a building that exudes character or a notable point of difference that we can lean into as a brand and showcase our unique rich heritage and personality,” says Scott Braini, executive general manager of real estate at Rodd & Gunn. Case in point, the Yorkville store is in an old house, with brick-lined interior walls, hardwood floors and wool carpets, spread over three storeys, giving it a homey retail feel. In New Zealand, the brand also has four Lodge Bars attached to their stores, offering a curated food and drinks menu that celebrates the region’s farm-to-table cuisine. Braini says Rodd & Gunn is also keen to test the Lodge Bar concept in Canada, but only if the location is right. In addition to shirts, polos, pants and suit jackets, the brand sells footwear and accessories through – Gayle MacDonald

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