Ottawa - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

This place is very expensive. Even with a Costco here the COLA doesn’t cover the increase in our grocery expense, even though we are rather frugal. Everything is available but the prices will shock you. - Sep 2023

I think it's slightly higher than in the US, but again, the drop in the Canadian dollar has made a difference. Beer is very expensive. - Aug 2015

Very expensive; more than Europe. Eating out and buying groceries is shockingly expensive and the COLA does not make up for it. Good quality and variety. - May 2014

Ogdensburg must be the smallest town in New York to have a Walmart because half of Ottawa makes the trip across the border for cheaper milk, chicken, and anything made in China. - Jul 2013

You can find most U.S. products in Ottawa but with less variety, like three types of Cheerios instead of eight. Prices are higher for most items and especially for dairy and poultry. Ogdensburg, NY is about an hour away and has a Walmart and Pricechoppers grocery store, so you can get any U.S. product there. The only things that are hard to find are region-specific products. U.S. memberships at Costco work at the Costcos here in Ottawa. - Jan 2013

Everything you could need can be found it Ottawa, though at a price. For example, milk is about $10 for 4 liters. A lot of embassy people drive the hour south to Ogdensburg NY to stock up on dairy products and meat. - Dec 2010

Great grocery stores, much like in the U.S. They don't have the enormous variety that you would find in a Giant or Harris Teeter in the suburbs of DC, but they beat every other country I've been in. The cost of groceries is breathtakingly expensive. We spend double what we did in DC. We usually spend about $700 per month for groceries -- and we are not extravagant eaters for a family of four with two toddlers. It was not out of the ordinary to have one or two months during the year when we spent $1000 on groceries. - Aug 2010

Much cheaper than Europe but there is still a 10-15% premium over the US prices (and then there's the sales taxes tacked on top of that). - Nov 2009

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