One great part about our neighbourhood here in Toronto is the number of grocery stores within walking distance. Within a couple of kilometers (a little over a mile) there’s five full-size supermarkets! We’ve had a chance to go to three of them so far and I’m excited about a fourth.
Half a kilometer down Dupont is a Sobeys. The selection is a little narrow there for me, but it’s 24h, and Candice thinks it’s neat to shop at a Sobeys again — it’s a Maritime chain. Another half-kilometer that way is a Loblaws, which is smaller than the Superstore we shopped at in Ottawa but still has all the President’s Choice brands we’re used to.
A half-kilometer in the other direction gets us a Price Chopper, which we haven’t tried yet. I’m not in any huge hurry to try it, since it’s a really low-price-oriented store and it’s in the Dufferin Galleria, which is a really creepy “dirty mall” that hasn’t been renovated (or had its low, arched, stucco ceilings cleaned) since the late 70s or so. I’m sure it’s fine, it just doesn’t seem to offer anything that the Sobey’s or Loblaws wouldn’t.
Then tonight we went to No Frills in the Dufferin Mall. The Dufferin Mall used to be a dirty mall but renovated in the last few years and is now a nice, clean little mall (and has an H&M, yay!), even if it is anchored by a Wal-Mart. But I’m pleased with No Frills. It’s not less, uh, frilly than any other grocery store, except for having to bag your own groceries (in your own bags, please, or 5c/bag for theirs).
But the selection there is interesting — not only does it have the usual national brands and the Loblaws-specific brands like President’s Choice, it also has a lot of brands and foods that I’d expect to have to go to an ethnic grocery store for. The Mexican section has sauces practically labeled only in Spanish; the frozen section has the kind of dim sum I’d have had to go to Kowloon Market for in Ottawa; even the beans shelves have a lot more Goya and other “second-tier” brands than just Libby’s and Unico — which is a plus, since brands like Goya have a lot more variety.
Now part of me wants to just chalk this down to being in a more diverse city, but none of the other grocery stores around here are like that! So yay for an easy place to find difficult-to-find ingredients at good prices.
And finally, a little ways down Christie from the Loblaws is Fiesta Farms, which I’m really excited about — the one time I walked by it it was so late at night that they were closed, but I saw banners on the outside promoting local food. Turns out it’s Toronto’s largest independent grocery store and it’s partnered with Local Food Plus, an organization which promotes and certifies local producers.
So we can join the local food movement at an independent grocery store that’s a fifteen minute walk away!