NEW: Fauxmagerie Zengarry Vegan Cheese Shop
209 Main St. North, Alexandria, Ontario
Come purchase your favourite cashew cheeses. You can purchase special flavours which aren’t available in stores, including: Aged Cumin Gruyere, Fauxmage Bleu, Pub Cheddar, and Rosemary Blueberry Chevre. http://www.zengarry.com/
Kardish Health Food Centre
Kardish has nine bright and modern stores located in neighbourhoods all across Ottawa – great for those in suburban and outlying areas as it means they don’t need to travel downtown to access vegan specialty foods. Locally owned and operated. Most of the focus is on dried goods – packaged and bulk – as well as supplements. There is a refrigerated section in each store, as well as a selection of personal care products.
3101 Strandherd Drive
1831 Robertson Road
2950 Bank Street
862 Bank Street
499 Terry Fox Drive
1568 Merivale Road
3712 Innes Road
332 Richmond Road
1309 Carling Avenue
Natural Food Pantry
5537 Hazeldean Rd, Kanata, ON
2277 Riverside Dr, Ottawa, ON
205 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON
2685 Iris St, within terra20
Natural Food Pantry has been around for nearly 35 years, and is locally owned and operated. The stores all have a good selection of vegan speciality items, although it’s not normally the first one to get them. All stores except Pinecrest also have a selection of personal care and beauty products; Pinecrest is inside of terra20, which has those offering. Pinecrest also does not have refrigerated or freezer products. They have generally been happy to check on if an item is in stock when called.
Rainbow Natural Foods
1487 Richmond Road
Greenbank Hunt Club Centre
250 Greenbank Road
Rainbow was a fully vegetarian store until a few years ago, and is a store that’s willing to give shelf space to local speciality food producers. Rainbow’s main store (Britannia) is 8,000 square feet and carries more than 15,000 unique products, making it one of the biggest health food stores in Eastern Ontario. It also has a substantial selection of cosmetics and personal care items. At 1,500 square feet, its new Greenbank store is a smaller, more intimate version of its Britannia location.
Herb & Spice – Bank St.
380 Bank Street
Herb and Spice is your stereotypical health food store with hand written signs and a bit of a granola vibe (and no website). However, it also has the best produce selection of most of the area’s health food stores, and is another big supporter of micro business, giving shelf space to fledgling food producers. Across the street is the Herb and Spice Wellness Shop which focuses on beauty and personal care, as well as supplements. Next door is Thimblecakes.
Herb & Spice – Wellington St.
1310 Wellington St. W.
Despite having the same name, this store is not owned by the same people who own the Bank Street store. Produce focused, with a strong selection of refrigerated items, and a good pantry/bulk section at the back. Located across from Strawberry Blonde Bakery.
126 York Street – Byward Market
Market Organics is a health food store offering the fresh, natural, organic and whole foods, as well as nutritional and body care products. Its cosmetics section is particularly good and is staffed with cosmeticians. Tends to be among the first stores in Ottawa to bring in new vegan products. Nelakee vegan meats are available here. It has a prepared foods counter that has many vegan offerings.
Cedars & Co. Food Market
1255 Bank Street (Old Ottawa South)
Cedars & Co. Food Market is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as grocery items, and a self-serve bulk section. It has emerged as a store that is often among the very first to carry new vegan speciality items, and its staff have proven to be very receptive to ordering and expanding vegan lines. Free parking is available here.
Whole Foods Market Lansdowne
951 Bank Street
Whole Foods has a strong selection of vegan speciality products, although if they’re not on sale they also tend to be on the pricier side. Its 365 house brand has some good deals (i.e. canned refried beans for $2.29), and unique products. The hot food bar has many vegan options, and there’s a sit down area. Interesting selection of personal care and beauty products, as well as some toys and clothing. There’s a cafe on the main level when you go in. On-site parking is available below the store; WFM offers validated parking to customers with 90 minutes of free parking with a minimum purchase of $10.
2433 St. Joseph Blvd. Orleans
East enders appreciate Pantry Plus, which has a good selection of vegan and speciality products. They are receptive to bringing in specific products when requested. Not as much of a destination store as Market Organics, Whole Foods or Rainbow, but a good everyday option for those in the East End.
V Word Market
Technically V Word (an online store) is based out of Toronto, but they ship unique speciality vegan items to Ottawa, and have a vegan candy selection that you simply can’t get here – vegan chocolates, white chocolate, various cheeses etc. Run by vegans, its selection is carefully curated to be safe for vegans.
Other Grocery Stores
Farm Boy as a solid – if uninspiring – selection of vegan products. You can get the basics at Farm Boy – plant-based milks, tofu, margarine, faux meats, Daiya etc. Their produce selection is second to none though, so if you’re very whole foods based Farm Boy is an excellent choice. Some of the Farm Boy house brand products are vegan, such as the ginger snaps and some of their salad dressings and soups. Small pantry section with organic and vegan options. They have a build your own salad bar and a hot food bar from which vegans can find limited options. Watch out for labelling gaffes – I spent months trying to get a chana masala label changed that said it was vegan, when it was not. Stores across Ottawa – mostly in suburbs – and other parts of Ontario. List of stores here.
Loblaws – Natural Value
Loblaws houses most of its products for vegans and the health conscious shopper within its Natural Value sub-section. Like Farm Boy, they tend to have a solid selection, and it varies by store. There are also plenty of vegan things to be found outside of this section though – check the coolers by produce for hummus, vegan cheese, and faux meats, and the frozen food section for frozen fruits and veggies. The Asian/international section also has some interesting finds for vegans. PC Blue Menu vegan faux meats are found in the regular freezer section with the frozen boxed meats; they are excellent. Find the location closest to you here.
Metro has an interesting selection of products of interest to vegans, although it is spread throughout the store. Each aisle/category has its own subsection of “health food” products. This is great in that it exposes non-vegans to the products, but can be a bit more onerous if you just want to access the non-conventional alternatives in one spot like you can in a health food store. Be sure to read labels – there are accidentally vegan products amongst its Selection line. Find the location closest to you here.
Like Loblaws Natural Value, Sobeys Natural Source sections bring many of the vegan-friendly offerings together under one banner. They also – in my experience – have a good selection of Gardein products that are in the regular freezer aisle. Sobeys in Ottawa are mostly suburban, so offer convenience to those who can’t travel downtown for their speciality products.