Grocery Shopping North of 60, Take One

Watson Lake has one grocery store, ‘Watson Lake Foods.’ It is small, but fully stocked, with a decent selection of ‘ethnic’ type foods. I was happy to find my first loaf of Russian black bread since Ottawa (!) at a fantastic price of 2.50$ as well as, for a treat, a package of pre-made gyoza (Japanese dumplings), for a reasonable price of 5$. I didn’t have any sticker shock whatsoever as I wandered the aisles. Convenience and junk foods were a bit higher than down south, but not significantly so, and fresh produce was comparably priced. I picked up Gala apples for 1.19$/lb, which is a bargain! Cheese is ludicrously expensive, as it is in BC, at a couple of dollars higher than there, but I got some blocks approaching their best by date for very good prices and will freeze them. One thing I noticed is that they’ll have a product, say unsweetened cocoa, but in only one brand and size. So, while I’m used to paying 3.99$ for a small off-brand tin of cocoa, I  had to pay 7.99$ for a large tin of Frye’s brand; no big deal of course but I’m sure some people would have sticker shock at that even though the unit price is comparable.

I got everything I needed and a couple of treats and still met my bi-weekly budget of 75$ without feeling any sort of pinch. The north has yet to be financially intimidating!

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  • Even in downtown Toronto there is no selection 🙂 That’s cause we don’t have the big supermarkets that suburbs have, just little tiny grocery stores, or markets. I basically have to go to many different stores to get all the things we eat, cause I’ve gotten to know that one store has this sort of milk, another store has this juice I like, etc. So what you wrote reminds me of here!

  • I actually prefer to go to a bunch of specialized stores than to shop in a mega store. That was one of my favourite things about living in Ottawa way back when. I had my little circuit every Saturday morning–the Jewish bakery for bread, the beer store, the health food store, the cheese store, the Italian store, etc. Of course, what you get here is what they have in that one store; there is no option to go to another.

    I have a friend who lives on Pape (heart of Greektown). She has a couple of big grocery stores fairly nearby (walking distance). You must be extremely downtown compared to her!

  • I live right next door to the skydome. .when I say next door, I mean I can look into the dome when it’s open and we share a sidewalk! I love going to specialty stores too 🙂 But when it comes to regular groceries, like cereal or canned stuff, etc. I have to go to multiple little grocery stores. The real estate is too high here for just one big grocery store, so instead we have these tiny ones with hardly anything to choose from (and pretty high prices, too.) Though near the Eaton Centre they opened up a huge Dominion (now Metro) a few years ago. Well, not suburb-huge but downtown-huge. Still too far for me to go to from here.

    I feel dumb complaining though cause really, I have two huge markets within 15 mins walking distance! (St. Lawrence and Kensington.)

  • If I lived next to the Kensington Market, I would never complain about my shopping choices. 😉

    I don’t find the huge suburban-type stores all that great, really. They all stock the same stuff and rarely, if ever, have stock from small and/or local companies. The best grocery store I ever shopped at is the IGA in Chelsea (Farmpoint), Quebec. When I moved to Gatineau, I tried every store in town and eventually wound up going back up to Chelsea to do my groceries! The store had much better produce, buying almost exclusively what was grown locally and carried products, like vegetarian spreads, from small local companies. Another advantage of the smaller stores is that they’ll often order things in specially for you. The Loblaws near my place in the city did not carry my brand of tofu and I had to go to another store to get it. Meanwhile, the small IGA didn’t carry it and brought in four blocks a month just for me.

    So, really, your situation is one of mixed blessings. 😀

  • […] gravel stretch was finally paved! I did the email thing and then popped into the grocery store for black bread and gyoza. I’ve decided that the grocery store in Watson Lake is my favourite in the Yukon of all the […]

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