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Living in Toronto bring opportunities to sample tastes from around the world without having to venture far.

If you go to any of Toronto’s neighborhoods based around a specific culture you can find local supermarkets, butchers and fresh food and veg stores that cater towards that particular community or ethnicity – and the prices are typically low.

For your catch-all weekly shop, there are a few main options that will cater for almost all your needs. Conveniently, supermarkets in Toronto can now sell alcohol, a practice that was restricted to state-owned stores until 2015.

Farmer’s markets in Toronto tend to be seasonal and close for the winter months, so when you find one near you be sure to check out when they open and close for the year.

Supermarkets in Toronto: Supermarket chains

Loblaws: Considered to be the more expensive of the large-scale supermarkets, Loblaws may cost a little more than the others but not prohibitively so, and the quality of the fresh foods matches the higher prices. You’ll be able to find all the groceries you would expect at a large chain, as well as an in-store butchery, fishmonger, bakery and a hot food counter at its outlets.

Metro: The chain with probably the most outlets in the city, it’s likely that wherever you live or work you shouldn’t be too far from a Metro. Prices are generally quite competitive and there’s the added bonus that many Metro locations are open 24 hours a day. Metro’s fresh food counter offers some excellent meal deal options for its lunch time customers – you can get an excellent, healthy lunch for just $8.

Supermarkets in Toronto
Plenty of choice for supermarkets in Toronto

No Frills: Distinctive by its bright yellow colour scheme – the budget chain has the lowest prices of all the franchises, and there are great savings to be had on many items. It’s fresh food options may not be considered as high quality as it’s rivals, but there’s a noticeable difference at the till. No Frills doesn’t have as many outlets as the other big supermarkets.

Walmart: The American chain covers just about all bases. From food to clothing to household appliances and furniture, it’s all under the same roof and all reasonably priced.

Sobey’s: Similar to Loblaws in pricing, Sobey’s supermarkets are typically quite a bit smaller but some of its larger outlets do have fresh fish and meat counters as well. Also, like Loblaws it has an impressive beer selection, which can save you making a separate trip to an LCBO or Beer Store. If you find one near work Sobey’s is a good option to pop in and get your lunch to go.

Supermarkets in Toronto: Wholesale

Costco: This wholesale warehouse sells goods in bulk and requires an annual membership to become a customer. It’s very useful if you’re hosting a party, or getting some supplies for your new home as the prices are greatly reduced due to bulk buying and they have a huge range of products. There are several in the Greater Toronto area and although one of the main frustrations with Costco is that it can be very frustrating to shop there without a car, the company is exploring ways to start a home delivery feature to it’s service in Toronto after successfully introducing it in the US. Membership packages range from $60 to $120 a year.

Supermarkets in Toronto: Markets

St Lawrence Market: The most high-profile of the fresh food markets in the City, the famous St Lawrence Market in the heart of downtown offers a huge array of choices in fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, breads and desserts. On a Saturday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. there is a special farmer’s market on the opposite side of the street from the iconic main building, where many knowledgeable merchants from across southern Ontario come to set up stall and can offer you tips on cooking their products.

supermarkets in Toronto: St Lawrence Market
Be sure to visit St Lawrence Market

Kensington Market: Many small, independent grocery stores thrive in the Kensington neighborhood. The prices are among the best in the city, and the savings and quality are well worth the extra time spent visiting all

Evergreen Brickworks: One of the largest farmer’s market in Toronto, it’s also by one of the prettiest locations. There’s a huge variety on offer, well worth for a visit and a walk around Don River Valley Park on a Saturday morning.

Supermarkets in Toronto: Liquor

The sale of alcohol in Ontario is fully regulated and operated by the Liquour Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and its rules differ from the rest of Canada.

To buy a full range of alcohol – wine, spirits, beers and ciders – you’ll need to visit your local LCBO store. The price of a case of beer or a bottle of whiskey will be more expensive than in most parts of the world due to the province’s monopoly of alcohol sale.

LCBO stores aren’t on every street corner, so there are some other options. The Beer Store outlets sell beer only, while there are Winerack stores just for win. Select supermarkets can now sell beer, cider and wine as well.

Learn more about Toronto.

Moving2Canada is here to help all those living in Toronto.

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