It’s starting to feel as if a gluten-free grocery store opens in Southwestern Ontario every other week. I used to make a trip to the Specialty Food Shop each time I visited Toronto, but with the number of options expanding, I’m checking out a wider range of places offering gluten-free groceries:
Cabbagetown Organics: The sign in the window advertising fresh bread from Aidan’s Gluten Free is what lured me inside. As the name suggests, the store’s strength is organic produce, but the gluten-free section is substantial. [address] 499 Parliament Street, Toronto [tel] 416-913-7296
Goodbye Gluten: This combination grocery store, bakery, and caterer opened this summer. Everything you’ll find here is gluten-free, and there are also nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan options. [address] 2066 Avenue Road, Toronto [tel] 416-781-9191
Nut’n Gluten: This is a large store, especially when you consider that almost everything on the shelves and inside the fridges and freezers is gluten-free (there are products for people allergic to nuts, too). My impression — based on a single visit — is that some prices are higher than what I’m used to paying, but there are also brands here that I haven’t seen carried at any other shop. [address] 3120 Rutherford Road, Vaughan, Ontario [tel] 905-553-7901
Remark Fresh Markets: Whenever I visit my aunt in London, Ontario, this is where she goes to stock up on celiac-safe foods for me. Lots of choice, with both Canadian and international brands featured here. [address] 1190 Oxford Street West, London, Ontario [tel] 519-474-2561
Specialty Food Shop: Not everything in this shop is gluten-free — there are products for people with food allergies, metabolic disorders, cystic fibrosis, and other conditions. It’s small, but it stocks great staples and snacks and has registered dietitians on staff. [address] At the Hospital for Sick Children (main floor), 555 University Avenue, Toronto [tel] 1-800-737-7976 or 416-813-5294
A few other stores with plenty of celiac-safe options: Whole Foods, which has its own Gluten-Free Bakehouse products as well as items made by other brands; Noah’s Natural Foods, a small, health-oriented local chain with several locations; and Ambrosia Natural Foods, just north of Toronto in Thornhill, which offers some of the best prices on gluten-free goods that I’ve found anywhere. Also, a couple of websites offer shop listings (and, frequently, a lot more): Gluten-Free Ontario and Celiac Canada.