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Canadian prices

Phoenix, Arizona
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Canadian prices

We will be spending a month in an apartment in Vancouver in August. We will be traveling by car. We want to bring things that will be much more expensive in Canada to save some money. What should this senior couple take with us and what will be easy and inexpensive to buy in Canada?

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Canadian prices

Welcome to the forums, Deborahhc ~

First, I would check what your condo will be providing to you by way of bedding, linens and housewares.

<<What should this senior couple take with us and what will be easy and inexpensive to buy in Canada?>> What kinds of things are you thinking of? It would be good to have something to go on.

We have plenty of stores and part of the fun is watching for sales at any or all of them. We have WalMarts, Zellers, Army and Navy, Winners. We have half a dozen grocery stores in including Safeway. I think you'll find it more expensive here in general than in the States.

wgr
Vancouver, BC
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2. Re: Canadian prices

Fill up with gas before you cross the border. Also dairy (milk, creamo, yougourt, cheese) will be significantly cheaper. Costco in Bellingham is a good stop if you are members.

With food stuffs, you generally cannot bring across corn, fruit that has pits (peaches, cherries and the like)

Being seniors, you may be on prescription medications. The general rule is that name brand medications are much cheaper in Canada while generics are cheaper in the US (or so the pharmacist told me at the Costco in Bellingham). Certainly my experience with name brand prescription meds has been that they are much cheaper here. Have copies of your prescription and unless they are narcotics (opiods and the like) they may fill them here without your going to see a doctor.

Clothes will generally be cheaper in the US. August is quite warm here but evenings can be cool or you may encounter rain. You may or may not have a fleece or a goretex jacket. Usually, but not always cheaper, in the US if you don't have one. Go to REI in Seattle or Bellingham and join for $10 (I believe). You get 10% back on your purchases.

Not sure what else you will need while here but you are an hour drive or so from Bellingham where there is a good Costco and a Trader Joes (for cheaper organic stuff).Most stuff is available here but a bit to a lot more expensive.

Edited: 13 July 2012, 23:28
wgr
Vancouver, BC
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3. Re: Canadian prices

On gas, to give you a point of comparison, right now gas is about $1.40 a liter ($5.29 a US gallon) in Canadian dollars, slightly less in US. I don't know what it is in Arizona but in Washington State near the border it is about $4.00 a US gallon.

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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4. Re: Canadian prices

No one has mentioned liquor. You are limited in what you can bring for your personal use but if you drink anything like vodka, gin etc then bring a bottle across. You're allowed 2 bottles of wine per person OR 1 bottle of "hard" liquor . You'll find prices for this much higher here.

wgr
Vancouver, BC
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5. Re: Canadian prices

traveller 47 brought up a very good point. Maximize the liquor; if you have really cheap liquor in AZ or else the duty free stores just before you cross the border.

Also, if you smoke, you will endure the disapproving stares of Vancouverites who don't smoke as a rule. That may make you smoke more. If so, load up on cigarettes in the duty free stores before you cross. There is a limit, which since I don't smoke or know anyone who does, I don't know. Check at the Canadian Border Services Agency website (www.cbsa.gc.ca, I think.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Canadian prices

Even though you will find things that others have mentioned such as liquor, cigarettes, gasoline more expensive because of taxes, I don't think that should frighten you. You can look at the BC Liquor Store website to give you and idea.

http://www.bcliquorstores.com/

I don't find the US as cheap as it used to be compared to Canada, especially when it comes to food. Dairy being the exception because of the way the industry is set up here. ( dairy farmers in Canada only get paid for what they sell, unlike in the US where the Fed Gov't buys all unsold milk , which in turn encourages overproduction and the use of Bovine Growth Hormones in most US dairy products. This hormone is illegal in Canada and Europe). Kind of getting off topic but it does explain part of the reason of higher costs here. Imported Cheese I believe is more expensive because of duties.

Overall food, at least to me seems much the same as any mid ot large size city in the states. A lot of us seem to compare our prices with border towns like Blaine which have much lower operating costs than a store in Vancouver. For fun I looked at two Safeway stores one in Phoenix and one in Vancouver. Here are there ads and some links. Have a look and see.

…safeway.com/customer_Frame.jsp…

…inserts2online.com/I2O_MainFrame.jsp…

I find Safeway the most expensive in Vancouver and prefer Save On Foods

http://www.saveonfoods.com/

and other stores. If budget is a real concern they the Real Canadian Superstore is quite good

realcanadiansuperstore.ca/LCLOnline/home.jsp…

and No Frills as well.

shopnofrills.ca/LCLOnline/…

Edited: 14 July 2012, 18:38
vancouver
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7. Re: Canadian prices

Yup the two big ones I have noticed are booze and gas as well, I have been surprised how similar the priced of must stuff is though

Canada
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for Vancouver Island
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8. Re: Canadian prices

Having been in Arizona last Jan - March, I think the two big differences in price you will see are alcohol and gas/diesel. Definitely bring your limit in alcohol is you drink - a $4 bottle of wine from Fry's will cost you $12-15 here - if you can find it.

We did most of our grocery shopping in Fry's in AZ, and I think you will find most of the prices very comparable with the exception of dairy, eggs and meat. Expect to pay double for a pk of chicken and eggs here, Cheese and sour cream are rediculous here compared to AZ. BUT - if you like yogurt you will be in smorgasboard heaven here with choises and sizes compared to USA. Bread is another thing you will find in Canada in an amazing array of types and quality compared to the USA. And if you like candy you can load up on Scotch Mints, Bassetts licorise Allsorts, Smarties and Coffee Crisp in Canada :) You can't get any of these things in the US - at least not in AZ.

vancouver
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for Vancouver
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9. Re: Canadian prices

Yup the two big ones I have noticed are booze and gas as well, I have been surprised how similar the priced of must stuff is though

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: Canadian prices

Instead of loading up at Walmart, you could explore the local markets in Vancouver. Lots of farmer's markets etc. Just buy what you want to eat for a few days at a time. In the summer, the fresh local food is at its best here in Vancouver. Experience some local fun things to do around food - go to Steveston or Granville Island and buy fish off the fisherfolks at the docks. Here is a link for local farmer's markets:

http://www.eatlocal.org/

Also, it's so much fun to experience the cultural food restaurants in our communities. Go to Commercial street, China town, Little India.... Vancouver is really all about local fresh food and experiencing pretty authentic ethnic food. There are many locally made cheeses too.

Edited: 17 July 2012, 17:15