While everyone is struggling and striving to establish new and perhaps uncomfortable routines, it’s inspirational to see so many of our small, independent businesses pivot and shift their operational models with such expedience, careful and kind consideration and ingenuity. It gives me more confidence as I try to make my own adjustments.
Now the onus is on us to turn away from the Amazons, and Loblaws and Wal-Mart of the world and throw our support behind these trailblazing entrepreneurs. They are out there on the frontlines, making sure that our food and other essentials are safely and affordably accessible for everyone.
There seems to be new delivery options emerging all the time. In fact, several popped up in my periphery while working on this article, so hopefully there will be future update editions of this list. Stayed tuned, stay inside and stay safe!
Based out of Thunder Bay Ontario, Compass Foods bills themselves as Canada’s largest vegan grocery store. They do, without a doubt, have an impressive selection of goods, but the big draw here is the rare and hard to find items. They have several brands that you’ve likely not heard of before, especially in the sweets section. Their prices also seem to be on par or lower than many of their competitors. All online orders are shipped out (through Canada Post) within three business days.
Toronto’s beloved vegan grocery store has been supplying the city with a whole host of plant based essentials from their Dundas West store front since 2016. They’ve always offered Canada wide shipping, but with their closure they’ve also added a reduced contact pick-up in store option to their online store (minimum $50 purchase). Shopping on their website is a breeze, with well organized categories and easy navigation and search functions. They also have some products that you won’t find anywhere else – I’m especially excited to try some those Druids Grove products (like Vegan Gelatin!) – and the largest selections of plant based cheeses anywhere.
West Coasters rejoice, the Vancouver based Vegan Supply still has a few of their locations open for limited in-store pick-up (see their website for details) but of course their online store is fully operational and they ship Canada-wide. They have an impressive selection of products that extends beyond grocery items. You can get everything from personal care products, to vegan apparel, cookbooks, garden supplies, and houseware. There is also an option on their website to search by brand, which is a useful function when trying to find your favourites.
The Hamilton based pierogi makers have been a popular vendor at various vegan food festivals for the last couple of years and now you can get those fluffy stuffed dumplings delivered directly to your door. Not all of their products are vegan, but they have a section on the website devote entirely to the plant based line. They do home delivery in Toronto on Mondays, but depending on where you live, there is some curbside pick-up options as well. For $39 you can get three bags of Pierogis plus a jar of their vegan sour cream, which I’ve never tried but I have no doubt is delicious!
Sweets From the Earth
While many stores carry the Sweets From the Earth product line, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you can also order directly from the company and have it delivered. From all appearances it appears to even be a bit cheaper than getting them through another vendor. You can browse their product line by specific collection type as well, which makes it easier to find sweets that work with any dietary restrictions (nut free, gluten free etc). They also have a sugar free keto product line available on their website that I have yet to see in stores.
The entirely online Natura Market specializes in products for those with dietary restrictions. Their inventory can conveniently be search by category, brand or by diet type (vegan, paleo, keto etc.) and every item has a detail ingredient list in the description. Though they have no shortage of snack foods, the store tends towards the healthier side of things, so if you’re looking for your vegan junk food fill, you might have to look elsewhere. They also offer free shipping for orders over $49.
Fair Square is an independent online business based out of Woodstock Ontario that sells a small, but mighty and well curated catalog of vegan grocery items as well beauty and wellness products and clothing. They offer monthly or quarterly subscription boxes as well. The company has gone the extra mile and put a lot thought and care into the product lines that they carry. Fair Square strongly advocates for products with ethical supply chain and everything they carry is made in Canada.
The Goods is another Toronto eatery that has quickly shifted into business models to deliver ready to eat meals, and pantry essentials. In their online marketplace, you can buy soups, smoothies, salads and dressing, but you can also order all the fresh organic produce to make your own. Place your order before 3pm Sunday thru Thursday to receive it by 5pm the following day within Toronto. Minimum order is $40, with a $4.99 delivery fee, which is one of the best deals around, but spend more than a $100 and its free.
Well.ca is online retailer based out of Guelph, Ontario, with an office and Pharmacy location in downtown Toronto. They sell pretty much everything and their selection is massive. They might (big might) even have toilet paper. It’s like a less corporate alternative to the Rexall/Shoppers monopoly and their product lines tends to reflect a better and healthier ethos. I got pretty excited just browsing through their amazing selection of teas! They offer free shipping on orders over $35.
I only recently became aware of Apniroots, an online Indian grocery store, that does local and Canada wide deliveries (via Canada Post). I wish I had discovered them sooner! Their collection of imported and specialty foods is a magic, unending treasure trove. Any grocery store that has a whole section devoted entirely just to various Naan Breads has already earned my loyalty. There is also a contactless pick-up option in Mississauga (see website for details).
Despite their moniker, Village Juicery has a whole lot more on offer than just juice. Besides the bottled plant based milks, salads, vegan yoghurt parfaits, and other snacks, they also sell high quality produce and pantry staples like nuts, rice and various seeds and oils. They deliver in the GTA and do next day delivery if you order before 3pm.
Annex Market states that their aim is to reinvent “the grocery store, by making local food and sustainable goods available to all at affordable prices,” and there is little doubt that they’ve created a successful model on how to do exactly that. It addition to a stellar product line-up from local producers like Blackbird Bakery and Fresh Acre Farms, they are also zero waste. They’ve have to adjust their normal policies and at this time aren’t accepting any jar returns. As such, they might have a shortage on their reusable containers and they advise customers that items may be delivered in conventional packaging, but their progressive efforts towards sustainability are no less admirable. Order by midnight for next day delivery. Minimum is $25. Shipping is $6 or free for orders over $75. They deliver in Toronto from Parkside and Waterfront to Bayview & Eglinton, but you can also do a Drive Thru Contact Less Pick-up at their storefront near Bathhurst and Bloor.