#livelocalkw: Books and more

Tomorrow marks the last day of this challenge and it sure wasn’t easy being constrained to being intentionally local, especially when others around you aren’t. The most frequently asked questions were, “is this [considered] local?” and “why are you doing this?

The second question is a bit easier to answer: aside from the free year’s membership to Baileys Local and to support and participate with the community, I wanted to see if it would take a lifestyle change to live locally. With only a day to go (and $12 for cheating between the two of us, the biggest culprit for us being online entertainment like streaming and reading non-local blogs and eating), I’ve concluded that being exclusively local can be easy in some ways, but it would not work long-term for us if we had to do it day in and day out. T’was not for naught though, as we happened upon a few new discoveries along the way (@SKL – this part is for you!): a place that sells beeswax (for my baking experiment that will hopefully happen), a shop that sells canelés (!), one more online option to order local/organic food, and the manager that ran the sushi and sandwiches at the now-defunct Casa Mia is selling sushi (and other items) at the Y Café at the CIGI campus beside it (so not all is lost!)!

In our quest to stay local this week, we discovered that not everyone defines local the way we do;  for example, a well-intending parent tried to convince us that Ontario corn and carrots bought at a Walmart in Toronto counts as being “local”, and while Ontario-grown produce is great, Walmart is far from being local on my list, even if it had been bought at the Walmart in KW and even if Walmart employs staff that are from the city.

And while there are plenty more great places around town to eat, shop, and play local, the following three ties up this blog series:


Generally speaking, I don’t like paying for cold sandwiches (or grapes, honeydew, cantaloupe, muffins, veggies that can be found on a veggie tray, har gow or siu mai) – this likely stems from eating deli sandwiches for lunch throughout most of primary and secondary school because our family owned a soup and sandwich restaurant and catering business (har gow, siu mai from daily dim sum lunches with the grandparents while in HK). However, I still enjoy hot sandwiches and the occasional cold ones – usually ones that don’t have deli meat in them. 

I especially like the housemade bacon-based sandwiches made at breadbaron, a take-out stand that took over Indulge Kitchen at the Kitchener Market, but they cycle through a few sandwiches every so often, which makes sense as they can ensure fresh ingredients and do it well. . One perk is that after you order one sandwich, they give you a $1 off coupon to be used on a subsequent purchase there!


Steckle’s produce stand (Photo: Facebook)

Well, since this is the last of the series, here are three other places apart from the typical supermarket chains that we buy our fridge and freezer food from:

  • Steckle Heritage Farm when in season, sells their farm-grown veggies and root vegetables. Last year they had a novel concept where you just pay what you can or what you feel like it’s worth, but this year, they seem to have priced their harvest reasonably (and pay by honour system).  The produce stand just sits near the entrance and is open to the public on Tuesdays between 3-7pm
  • Sustainable360.ca doesn’t require a membership fee (unlike Bailey’s) and while the selection isn’t as vast as Bailey’s, they do offer products that Bailey’s doesn’t sell and on par or cheaper than its online and in-store competitors (I’ve compared blueberries from the same farm, same volume, and it was $1 cheaper here than Bailey’s)
  • and a honorable mention to Caudle’s Catch – because I miss the seafood from Vancouver. Seafood isn’t local, but they do sell quality seafood, including wild-caught fish from the Great Lakes in addition to a variety of other farmed and wild fish (and other frozen and fresh seafood). While they are not swimming in a tank like Asian supermarkets, they get shipments weekly and they often look fresher than the dying fish in those tanks anyway; they will also gut and clean/scale the fish for you in store, and can cut up a whole fish for you the way you like it, if you give them a day or two notice (e.g. filets and steaks)


I love that our library is not just about books:

  • You can borrow books, movies, even video games!
  • I can use our city libraries without having to leave the house. How?
    • The Kitchener library system lets you download unlimited e-books, magazines to keep, two songs to keep twice a month, and lets you stream movies (twice a month)
    • You can search online for an item (from both cities) and place a hold on it to be delivered to your preferred library for pick-up (but you need to return the item to a library of the city it belongs)
    • They email you when your item is ready to be picked up and when upcoming items are due back
  • The beauty of our libraries is that you can get both a Kitchener and a Waterloo library card
  • Aside from parking and fines, all their services are free!
  • Programs, films, talks, including family-friendly activities
  • Media space and use of a 3D printer (limited to 3hrs a day)

Well, I hope you enjoyed this series. Maybe you’ll consider taking up this challenge sometime or check out some of these places too if you haven’t already?



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