Sunday, March 11, 2007

Canadians, I need your help!

Last Friday my spring break began and I spent the day driving from Massachusetts to Michigan. I actually enjoy driving, so I didn't hugely mind the 12 hour trip, though it certainly isn't the prettiest drive in the world. The middle leg of the trip is through Canada, and I alway make a point to refuel my car (and my iced tea supply) in Niagara Falls, NY so I don't end up with excess Canadian money that I won't use.

But as I drove down the uh, beautiful Wayne Gretzky Parkway, I got to thinking about what I may be missing by speeding through "our neighbor to the North." For instance, I've heard a rumor that you can buy pink grapefruit flavored Mentos in Canada. Anyone have proof that such a delicacy exists? And I know that there are a lot of beauty products that are unavailable in the U.S. (like European sunscreens, for instance). So I need to ask a favor of all the Canadian readers (and I know you're out there! No more lurking!)... when I drive back in 2 weeks, what exclusively Canadian foods/treats/beauty products should I try? I won't have time to go an explore any cities or browse through malls, but there has to be a number of things I can get at a grocery or drugstore. Any recommendations?

And finally, I have a message for New York State: Your Thruway is wonderful. For those of us who regularly drive the 300 mile stretch between Albany and Buffalo, there is no better route. People drive fast (a godsend for a trip this long), cops are mysteriously absent and there's a clean, non-sketchy rest stop every 20 miles or so. This is all admirable. But there is one very important thing missing from your Thruway, and that's Subway restaurants (or any healthy eating options in general). In those 300 miles, there is not ONE sign for a Subway, and the restaurant options within the otherwise lovely rest stops are limited to Cinnabons, Dunkin' Donuts, Burger King, Edy's and the like. Have you considered that your drivers might want something that isn't going to give them a heart attack?

Do you realize that the lowly Ohio Turnpike basically kicks your ass when it comes to dining options? They have Panera Bread and Au Bon Pain and Max and Erma's (a great Midwest family chain). Salads and sandwiches and wraps that fill you up but won't make you feel gross when you're still driving 6 hours later.

I realize that it's very unlikely that any New York state or local representatives are reading this right now, but I just had to get it off my chest. If any upstate New Yorkers have suggestions for where I can find healthier food without traveling too far from the Thruway, please let me know. And thanks to everyone else for allowing me to indulge in this rant.


Holly Golightly said...

Its no myth, they really do have grapefruit flavored mentos in Canada. Get a lot, though, because one packet will last you oh, about 10 minutes; they are that good. Oh, and btw, get a packet for me, too, please <3

Anonymous said...

We do indeed have pink mentos. I have no idea what is canadian only and what isn't so i cant really help you...but maybe stop at a tim hortens?

deedee said...

Ketchup and dill pickle flavoured chips!

Meg said...

Anon- you know I didn't consider the fact that if you're Canadian you probably don't know which products are unique to your country... maybe some expats might have some good suggestions for me. We actually have Tim Horten's in Michigan and I never considered that they aren't everywhere (though now that I think of it I realize that I've never seen one on the east coast).

shazsnod said...

heard a rumour you dont have smarties! is it true? get them and a large double double at tims.

Anonymous said...

I am a lurker from Canada who just discovered your blog a month ago and read it all the time! Now I have to leave a comment:

Please try some of the Canadian only chocolates we have (yes, smarties is one).

As for skincare:
try La Roche Posay (especially the sunscreen and the ceralip lipbalm)
Avene (love their masks! and Diacneal is fantastic)

For Canada-only makeup please check out

Quo (only available at Shoppers Drugmart)
Lise Watier

Hope this helps, and thanks for the blog -- it is a lot of fun to read. I live in Ottawa by the way.

Meg said...

Yay for lurkers coming out! Thank you for your suggestions, they're great. I haven't tried any of those beauty lines (except for La Roche Posay, which I LOVE but have to buy online, so I'll be sure to stock up!) And people on Makeup Alley are always raving about Avene, so I'll have to try that.

I'll let you guys know what I pick up and how I like them.

Also- I only just realized that there are two kinds of Smarties:

Very interesting.

Anyway, I really appreciate your comments, don't be scared to say hi again!

megan said...

I really like a Labello lip gloss, called CareGloss & Shine, see my thoughts on it here. You can find that in any drug store in Canada. Candian mini-eggs are much better than those we get in the US. And if you are a fan, the Coca-cola is made with sugar in Canada and tastes much better.

I asked a similar question and got quite a few responses, you can see them all here, though a lot of those are Vancouver-specific.

Miss A said...

You NEED to get your hands on some Avene. It's the best skin care line ever!!!
I love it!

Ps- Love your blog too!

Christina and Emily said...

The pink Mentos are fantastic and I dont think the US has Aero bars either, which are good if you're into plain chocolate.
I would reccommend Quo beauty products too (in Shoppers Drug Mart) I heard a rumor that they're made by MAC cosmetics too, but they're cheaper--they have great make-up brushes if you're in the market.
There's also a bath and body line called 'Cake' that was developed in Canada, you might have it in the US though, everything smells like sugar and cake batter! You might have to go to a specialty store to get it though. I hope you enjoy your next drive through Canada!

Meg said...

TO ALL COMMENTERS: Canadian ladies, you rule! I may never make it back to the U.S. after this trip.

the addict said...

I second the recommendation for Aero bars! I have a Canadian coworker who brings back bags of chocolate for me whenever he goes back. And when I was there the last time on a ski trip, I loaded up a whole tote bag!

The best: Coffee Crisp (like a mocha KitKat), Crunchie (sponge toffee coated in chocolate; like a malted milk ball texture but toffee flavored...SO GOOD), and of course Aero.

Check out, you can order all the candy as well as some other hard-to-find goodies!

Anonymous said...

La Roche-Posay's Anthelios sunblock is incredibly cheap here. I used to have to buy it from my dermatologist when I lived in the States. Here they have it at the drugstore -- for about 1/5 the price! I don't find the shopping that great here to be honest but I LOVE the drugstores -- Shopper's Drug Mart has beauty boutiques in some of its locations with all kinds of unexpected goodies, Comptoir Sud Pacifique fragrances and Smashbox makeup, for example. If you are near Toronto try to get to the flagship Holt Renfrew store -- kind of the Canadian Barney's.

Anonymous said...

Quo makeup is quite nice but Lise Watier I find disappointing. Lancome is a drugstore brand here. Shopper's Drug Mart also carries the British brand Rimmel.

Anonymous said...

As a Buffalo girl who spends most summers in Canada, I've been shopping there plenty of times so I can tell which things we don't have in the US. Canadian smarties are amazingly delicious, and so are the "all dressed" potato chips. For awhile only Canadian starbucks had maple flavoring for lattes and such, but we have it now too. Generally Canadian ice cream brands are especially good, particularly the mint chocolate chip.

As far as the thruway situation in Ohio is concerned, maybe I was driving on a different highway when I went back and forth from school there, because my mom and I still kid about how pathetic the rest stops were there. We never saw one that had more than a few vending machines, and half the time those vending machines weren't even inside!! I'll take NYS thruway anyday of the week over that!! At least you can get some fruit or a somewhat healthy salad at McDonalds...

miss kitty said...

Okay, so coincidentally my Shopper's Drug Mart booklet of stuff-I-can-buy- and-get-bonus-points arrived today as a handy reminder of some beauty product lines you can get in the (yay!) Beauty Rx Centres: Biotherm, Clarins, Lancome, Prevage, Avene Eau Thermal line, Dior. Hmm. Okay, I really don't need anything but I just talked myself into going.