Despite the vast size of Canada, with its population scattered far and wide, grocery shopping online in Canada seems to be off to a great start in the larger urban centers, and can only grow. (More Canadians per capita use the internet than in any other country).
This page has just been updated (July 2015), but see this new page; grocery delivery in Canada for more on that aspect.
Another site where you can do grocery shopping online in Canada is at e-zgrocer.com. They deliver to your door the following day. Fairly simple, easy to use site. This chain has stores in more than one province. Enter your postal code at the top to see if they have stores or deliver in your area.
Update: 7/10/15 - The website looks neglected, and some links don't work. Not sure this is a great a help as it seems at first. (Would appreciate feedback from users).
My first search online led to greengateway.com, but it has had a name-change. Whereas on my first round of research but I couldn't find a clue anywhere on the site as to what country or city they serve, I now found an "about us" link at the top. where it says it is owned by Longo Brothers Fruit Market located at Vaughn, Ontario. So yes, you can go grocery shopping online in Canada here - if you live in the greater Toronto area.
I got the impression this is a nice family business, The new site is better than I remember it, and the Customer Service link answers your basic questions.
Update: 7/10/15 - seems to have a good system going for those in the Greater Toronto area, including Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Cambridge, and Kitchener-Waterloo. One columnist wrote in the Star, that she liked it, but preferred to choose her own fresh produce, so ordered staples and non-perishables from Grocery Gateway, but went to Farmer's Market for the fresh foods.
This site provides groceries in the Ottawa metro area, and offers to air-ship orders out to Nunavet up north. It does not look like the conventional shopping site, and doesn't provide photos of their products, but it IS up front about its location, and it has a place to enter your postal code to find out whether you are even in their grocery shopping delivery area.
I think, if I were in the Ottawa area, I would like to go see what kind of store it is and what their products are really like. They may know what they are doing, it might be a good store to use for grocery shopping online in Canada, but I'd like to make sure if I were in Ottawa. (If you are in the Ottawa area, and have tried grocery shopping online in Canada, please do accept my invitation at the bottom of this page to share your experiences).
Update: 7/10/15 - the site appears to be up-to-date, but still does not show graphics of the groceries. Text only. You must enter your postal code to find out if they will deliver to your address.
In British Columbia there is a chain of grocery stores called Nester's Market. It has a colourful website for it's stores, but only the one located in Whistler is online and offers to make deliveries to your door. The other stores; Banff, Fraser Heights, Kelowna, SFU in Burnaby, Squamish, Summerland, and in Vancouver - Main St., Woodwards, and Yaletown, all show graphics of their flyers and provide a map to find their physical store location so you can shop in person. (Do you go skiing at Whistler? Keep this one in mind).
[If you have shopped via NestersMarket's sites, would you report how you feel about it, down below in the comment area?]
Update: 7/10/15 - I've had no comments on this chain, and nothing is changed on their website.
Safeway is both an American and a Canadian chain of grocery stores. When I first checked, they delivered in most USA locations, but you will need to confirm you are in the right urban center to do your grocery shopping online in Canada - via Safeway. You no longer have to seek out a separate Canadian site. As soon as you click "find a store" it perceives your city and in my case, showed 7 stores in my city, Saskatoon. The Delivery option is offered as a matter of course.
This Help/FAQ page answers pretty well any question you might have. Minimum order for delivery is $49, and the delivery charge for up to $150 worth of groceries is under $10. These things indicate that grocery shopping online in Canada has become quite streamlined and seamless. Easy!
Update: 7/10/15 - This site looks good. When I put in my postal code, intuitively it whisked me to safeway.ca, found my city, showed the 5 Safeway stores and the distance from me. I could not find a way to check for other locations, but if you are satisfied with Safeway, and have one in your neighbourhood or city, you can have grocery delivery!
My one personal caveat is that they only offer the more expensive brand name products on the flyer slides, whereas I like to choose the more economical no-name products when I shop. I would have to increase my grocery budget to shop here, online.
They have a brand new website. There's even an app so you can shop from your cellphone. Quality Foods now delivers to 12 specific local areas, on Vancouver Island, (BC) and allows customers to pick up their order at certain stores. Customers from afar may order online for deliver to local addresses if the recipients-to-be are in the right postal code zones. Their site gives $9.95 +HST as the delivery fee, but again only to certain postal code areas.
I tell you, their site looks impressive, and I'd love to hear from those who have done their grocery shopping online in Canada - at Quality Foods.
Update: 7/10/15 - this site is well-done! If they do all they say, should we make it a standard for how grocery delivery should be done?
TeleGrocer serves the area from Ottawa, through the Greater Toronto Area (GTA, which includes Etobicoke, Mississauga, North York, Scarborough, Toronto and points in between, much of southern Ontario). This online grocery store has a smaller graphical interface, but seems to be quite up-to-date and efficient.
Their site explains that your online orders are forwarded to a fulfillment supermarket near you and there someone from a team of Personal Shoppers shops for your list and packs it for delivery to your door. That's when you pay the delivery person by cash or a debit card or a cheque (the latter only if you have arranged your credit approval).
Update: 7/10/15 - I've tried to reach them by email and mine bounced back. Perhaps they are not in business any more?
If you expect same day delivery you need to place your order online before 7 a.m., and if you want delivery before noon, you must have done your online grocery shopping at TeleGrocer.com the night before.
TeleGrocer recognizes that people are different, and have different needs, so they have three different membership options.
Basic Internet Membership - allows you to place orders online and pay on delivery, with no membership fees.
Full internet Membership - allows you to place orders online, but you get a lower delivery charge, and you may pay by cash or cheque. This is their most popular choice.
Telephone Membership - (for those without computer/internet access) allows you to place orders by phone and pay by cash and/or cheque.
The shopping fees range from $9.95 (Full Internet) to $11.95 (Basic Internet). All memberships include a 5% surcharge on the retail cost of the grocery.
Since TeleGrocer partners with very large supermarket chains that buy directly from manufacturers or smaller independents who are part of a buying group and as such has competitive prices. This means that they have lower retailer prices than e-grocers operating from their own warehouses. This can result in retail prices that are 15% to 30% lower than the prices their competitors are charging for the same items. - When you know such facts you can calculate if these services are worth your money, or would you rather spend the time to do your shopping yourself?
Natural Food Pantry has just been brought to my attention. It has several locations in the Ottawa, Ontario, area, Billings Gate and Westboro in Ottawa proper, and at Kanata, a short drive south of Ottawa. They sell only natural and healthy products. They run wellness clinics, and a gluten-free bakery. Their site offers healthy recipes that really appeal to me, and they have pantry rewards (points) for members. It is free to join, and the more you spend the more points you get, which you can use as discounts on purchases.
The Natural Food Pantry fills orders in Canada and the continental USA by mail. International orders are accepted, but shipped by air mail, which has higher costs as they point out. This site is a good one to bookmark for health-conscious grocery shopping online in Canada!
Update: 7/16/15 - Seems to be thriving wonderfully.
I spotted a complimentary reference to LoveGan on Facebook and decided to check it out. Again, something special for the Toronto area - a source for natural, organic produce, and more!
Update: 7/16/15 - Oops! I went to check on this site and found a notice that they have closed down as of April 2015. This year. They do refer customers to another grocery delivery service, so i will check it out and report in more detail.
The owner says:
As an ongoing promotion, customers who place their first order with Farms and Forks before April of next yeat (2016), will receive 15% off that first order by using the promotional code: LOVEGAN15
The contact info for Farms and Forks is 416-514-1441 organicfooddelivery.com
This business is run by three energetic couples and their families who believe that being healthy can be made easy. It comes out as delicious fun. Their easy to explore website shows that they have a high standard for excellence, and that their customers love them for it.
It is easy to sign up, and easy to explore the foods they offer and to place your order. You have until Sunday night at midnight to come back and add or change your order. Then the following week the orders are delivered to different regions on different days of the week. A map is provided, and your postal code is used to determine the day of your delivery. That will come between 4-8 pm.
Delivery is a flat $6.99, unless you have ordered a produce box, or your order is over $75 - in that case, delivery is free. The delivery area is over the Greater Toronto area (GTA), which includes Toronto, Hamilton, Barrie and Oshawa.
I find the prices of food higher than what I'm used to paying, but their criteria is that it must be organic, locally-grown, healthy, sustainable, and even artisanal - meaning the growers might add extra touches. That makes me think that the quality and the service make it all worth it if one can possibly afford it.
These young families are reaching out to accept both families and individuals as customers, but that's not all. If you have a special diet, or foods you cannot have, they will keep that in mind too, when preparing your groceries for delivery. They deliver to offices, and schools, daycares, caterers, and food services of any kind.
I'd love to get feedback from people who are using Farms & Forks for ordering groceries. But it does look like they have a system that works well. Now if we could just see others start up such a high-quality service in other regions of Canada.
There are some online stores that are set up for international sales. A few will ship into Canada. Or, they are in Canada and are willing to ship outside the country. There may be more, or more will appear in the next few years. Do send a note to tip me off, if you know of a grocery shopping online in Canada site. (Or use the Facebook Comment space below).
Based in the Greater Toronto area, MrCase.com ships anywhere, and carries ovr 10,000 grocery products, sold by the case, and offers home and office delivery. The delivery fee is $3 for orders of $75 or more, and it is $6 for orders less than $75. They promise next day delivery for orders received before 11:30 a.m. (Incidentally, there is no HST charged on case purchases - nice to know!)
Update: 7/16/15 - the site looks alive and florishing.
Spud.ca appears to be a real leader and inovator in grocery shopping online in Canada - and in some larger metro areas in the USA on the west coast. They started out in the lower mainland of British Columbia, and now reach to these other delivery areas.
Spud will source your produce and groceries as local as possible to you, to support organic family farms and producers. Shopping with Spud.ca saves you time, gas, frustration, and also lowers your carbon footprint.
Delivery Areas for Canadian Locations include; Vancouver, Victoria, Vancouver Island, and Calgary.
They use local sources in these USA locations to provide the same kind of grocery delivery; Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles.
Update: 7/16/15 - the site looks alive and florishing too.
ExPat was mentioned elsewhere, but I discovered that they don't really deliver groceries; just other hard goods. Their rates look rather expensive to me, but that's just my first impression.
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