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Walkable Groceries

We asked students to contribute to the conversation about walkable neighbourhoods in Ottawa. Here's what Mia Wong had to say.


Have you ever wondered if you should walk to the smaller grocery store around the corner or go out on a drive to a larger supermarket chain? Do you have an option?



I compared the distance it would take to run an errand to Farm Boy, a smaller grocery store around the corner, versus Loblaws, a larger chain store within a 6 minute drive away.

Often when living in Ottawa we are not always as lucky to have a grocery store down the road.

The walking distance for a Farm Boy shopping trip on foot includes a 5 minute walk to and from Farm Boy, walking around the grocery store and a trip back to the produce aisle for the forgotten veggies.



The amount of walking for a trip to Loblaws in my car includes walking to and from the house to the driveway, walking to and from the parking lot into the store, walking around the larger store and making that trip back to the produce aisle before leaving.

Although driving to a larger chain store opens up more product options to choose from, driving there will increase your carbon footprint, cost you more money and doesn’t save you the walk!

So how do they compare? The total walking distance of the Farmboy trip was 1.1 km and the total walking distance of the Loblaws trip was 1.0 km. As noticed, the results are not drastically far off from each other. It takes a little more distance to walk to Farm Boy and through a smaller store compared to driving to Loblaws but walking through a larger store.



Before making up your mind in both scenarios there are factors to consider depending on personal lifestyle. Walking to Farmboy is a short, 6 minute, pleasant walk through a neighborhood street that is shaded in the summer. Although driving to a larger chain store opens up more product options to choose from, driving there will increase your carbon footprint, cost you more money and doesn’t save you the walk!


Often when living in Ottawa we are not always as lucky to have a grocery store down the road similar to the Farm Boy scenario which impacts our decision to choose to drive out. So is there something we can do to change this?



~MIA WONG is a student at Sir Robert Borden High School in Ottawa

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