Things in US unavailable in Canada
May 5, 2022 11:28 AM   Subscribe

I am coordinating a move from the US (CA) to Canada (BC). Over the years here I've occasionally noticed that some consumer goods are available here but not in Canada, or are prohibitively expensive. Is there anything I should consider bringing over, for my own personal use? I am looking for things that could make my life better/easier/more convenient, not anything to resell. I'll be bringing a PODS-style container over and am already aware of the regulations for bringing goods in.
posted by sock here, sock there to Shopping (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Everything at Trader Joe's! That's always the one stop I have to make when in the states.
posted by cgg at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2022 [8 favorites]

A lot of smaller hiking/backpacking equipment makers are based in the US and will ship to Canada but between shipping and customs brokerage charges it makes it really not worthwhile to get that way. Better to have someone pick it up for you when they're in the States. I'd extend that to say anything from a small/niche outfit in the US would be the same.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2022

Take stock of any over-the-counter medications you use, and what price/availability is like. I take loratadine (Claritin) for allergies, and whenever I'm in the U.S. I will pick up a 300-count bottle at Target or CVS for a small fraction of the price-per-pill than the packages I usually find for sale in Canada. Double-check rules about crossing the border with these goods, of course, but I've never had a problem coming in with a single bottle.
posted by Ryon at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

Any things you love from Target home decor-wise. There just isn't really an equivalent here that isn't WAY more expensive.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 12:30 PM on May 5, 2022 [5 favorites]

Search the formulary for your prescription drugs. If the drugs you take are not on the list, supply yourself accordingly (either switch before you leave or bring a large supply).
posted by shock muppet at 12:57 PM on May 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you are within an hour or so of the border, know that there are package-receiving services. My favorite is Pacific Mail and Parcel in Blaine.
posted by dum spiro spero at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

Can't speak for BC, but you can't get Aleve in Quebec without conferring with a pharmacist, and then you get a tiny bottle of 20 at a high price. If you ever use these painkillers, bring one of those big cheap bottles with you.
posted by zadcat at 2:37 PM on May 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

For the last 30 years, I have been resupplying Dobie pads, my cleaning sponge of choice, every time I go down to the States. Totally unavailable in Canada.
posted by sonofsnark at 2:38 PM on May 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Anything from Trader Joe’s and cute affordable housewares and knick knacks from Target

If body feeding a baby is in your future, Freemie breast pumps are great and not available in Canada.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 4:45 PM on May 5, 2022

On my US list - Penzey spice mixes, Primary kids clothes, new books, flaky sea salt (prob not a general Canadian issue), REI camping gear, processed/American cheese (the deli kind you get sliced), allergy meds.

My husband recommends power tools and regional food stuff (Wickles pickles, Wawa hoagies, tasty cakes, Conecha sausage, Polar bitter soda). He finds everything here so expensive so just bring it with you if you can.
posted by hydrobatidae at 6:53 PM on May 5, 2022

Nth everything at Trader Joe's and Target.
Everything is more expensive here probably. So cheap things. Inexpensive consumer goods generally.
A far less extensive variety of garbage snacks exists here.
You should bring your maximum allotment of cheese before you tragically become a subject of the Canadian dairy lobby. Also alcohol - we have many more taxes.
posted by lookoutbelow at 11:57 PM on May 5, 2022

Alcohol (check the limit first, it can get expensive!) and oyster crackers (bafflingly unavailable here).
posted by Freyja at 2:14 AM on May 6, 2022

Aleve (and generic naproxen sodium) is fully available in the pain relief aisle in Ontario, thank goodness, hope it is the same in BC.

I moved here from the states 16 years ago and there isn't much left that I miss, now that we have Cheez Its (that just happened three years ago; I used to stuff my luggage with them to distribute among friends) and decent flavoured sparkling water (though we do NOT have Polar, Polar is the best).

That said, there are SO MANY more Oreo flavours in the US than here.
posted by wellred at 6:29 AM on May 6, 2022

Seconding alcohol (I usually have friends and family bring a bottle or two of hard-to-find stuff like mezcal and liqueurs when they visit, but availability varies by province), and OTC drugs (Aleve, Flonase and Nexium for us--they are available "OTC" but you have to wait at the pharmacy counter, at least in Quebec, which is a pain.) If you have furniture or furnishings you think you might replace when you get here, make sure they're available here and keep in mind if they are, they'll probably be very expensive--sticker shock was one unexpected cultural shock I got when moving from the US to Canada.

Also for Quebec, it's impossible to find malt vinegar. No idea why. YMMV in BC.
posted by kittensyay at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2022

Certain skincare, an example is 10% benzoyl peroxide can be ordered on, but it's not available at drugstores. Certain brands that are available Sephora US are not available in Canada, such as Paula's Choice.
posted by saturdaymornings at 5:08 PM on May 6, 2022

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