7 gift ideas for Trudeau’s state dinner with the Obamas

For the first time in nearly 20 years a Canadian prime minister will be the guest of honour at a White House state dinner hosted by the U.S. president.

Next Thursday, Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau will be feted at an exclusive, high-profile black-tie affair featuring some of the most powerful people on Earth. In addition to an elaborate meal, toasts, speeches and a musical performance, gifts are traditionally exchanged between heads of state.

As the first Canadian prime minister to be celebrated with a state dinner since Jean Chrétien in 1997, the Trudeaus have a golden opportunity to promote Canada among the U.S. elite.

To help our newbie prime minister, Yahoo Canada News has searched high and low to compile this list of potential gift ideas that Trudeau could present to the Obamas at the state dinner in his honour.

Craft beer


[Flickr: Noah Sussman]

Neither leader has made any secret of their love of beer, and in a profile published in December in the New York Times Magazine Trudeau said he was looking forward to having a beer with the president. What better gift then but a sampler of some of Canada’s best and most exciting craft and commercial beers? Sure, we make amazing wine. As Canadians though, we truly know beer. Let’s show the Obamas what they’re missing.

Indigenous art


[Sculpture Eagle’s Call by Robert Davidson]

Trudeau has gotten nearly as much attention for his Haida-inspired raven tattoo than he has for his promise to rebuild the government’s relationship with Canada’s First Nations. In the spirit of his commitment to “reset” relations, he should consider bringing the Obamas a piece of art by famed Haida artist Robert Davidson. Davidson, whose art inspired Trudeau’s raven tattoo, is one of Canada’s best known indigenous artists. His works, including sculpture, carvings, paintings, jewelry and prints, sell for thousands of dollars to art collectors all over the world.



[Skevik Skis]

Another hobby that the Trudeaus and Obamas seem to share is a love of the outdoors and winter sports. Just this Monday, Trudeau and family were photographed snowboarding at Whistler Blackcomb ahead of the first ministers’ meeting scheduled in Vancouver. The Obama women have also been photographed hitting the slopes, though U.S. media was far less generous in their coverage. Soon enough, however, the Obamas won’t need to worry about the optics of a luxe winter getaway and a primo set of Skevik Skis, handmade in Vernon, B.C., would be an excellent offering.

Montreal bagels


[Flickr: kowarski]

Obama’s love for bagels — specifically poppy seed bagels with “just a schmear” — is well-known among those who trade in presidential trivia. Hailing from Montreal, Trudeau would be remiss to not bring with him a couple dozen of the world-famous St-Viateur bagels for the Obamas to enjoy.

Team Canada jersey


[Hockey Canada]

Last month as Obama celebrated the Chicago Blackhawks for winning another Stanley Cup, he joked about doing some gloating when Trudeau visits for his state dinner. In response, Trudeau tweeted: “I’ll come with Canada’s Olympic hockey golds from, oh, how about 2002 & 2010?”

Since he likely won’t be able to present Obama with a gold medal in men’s hockey, a Team Canada jersey could be the next best thing.



[Gray Tools]

With Obama about to leave office, it’s not hard to imagine that he might spend some time in the near future just puttering around the house working on DIY projects. If so, what better gift than a set of ultra premium, Canadian-made Gray Tools. Established in 1912 and manufactured in Brampton, Ont., the company makes top-of-the-line precision instruments that aren’t sold through big-box stores and are the envy of contractors the world over.

Canadian beavers


[Flickr: Jeroen van Luin]

If all else fails, Trudeau should consider falling back on an old standard. It’s not unheard of for leaders to offer a gift of live animals to heads of state; Canadian leaders have presented Queen Elizabeth with, on two occasions, several horses and two black beavers. Castor canadensis, the Canadian black beaver, has been our national symbol for the past 300 years. They’re furry, they’re cute and they’re the largest rodent in North America. Who wouldn’t want a pair to call their own?