I Went To Bulk Barn For The First Time Since Moving To Canada & These Things Blew My Mind

Life changing.

Janice Rodrigues in a Bulk Barn store. Right: A Bulk Barn in Toronto.
Associate Editor

Janice Rodrigues in a Bulk Barn store. Right: A Bulk Barn in Toronto.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

There are a lot of things I've been able to experience for the first time since I moved to Canada from the UAE, from the local candy to the harsh cold of winter.

But I never thought a highlight of the move would be getting to check out some of the local stores and, yes, that includes Bulk Barn.

For the most part, my trips to Canadian grocery stores haven't been the best, mostly due to the inflated food prices right now (I'm looking at you, Loblaws).

And, while I had heard of Bulk Barn before, I just figured it was a bulk-buying concept (sort of like Costco) and since I'm living alone, I didn't quite see the point.

I can't believe how very wrong I was. Because Bulk Barn is actually kind of the opposite, and is a great place to go if you're shopping for one.

What's more, it's only after my trip there that I realized it's so much more than just a grocery store.

Here are some things that just blew my mind about Bulk Barn – and why I'll keep going back.

The variety is staggering

Giant vats of nut butters and more.

Giant vats of nut butters and more.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

I'm not sure what I was expecting Bulk Barn to stock, but it was perhaps huge vats of mostly non-perishable goods. Kind of like nuts and sweets, neither of which I am particularly enthusiastic about.

But, the variety totally blew my mind.

For example, the nuts aisle had several varieties of peanuts, almonds, and so much more.

And then there were things I hadn't expected in my wildest dreams. Dog treats and pet food? Yup! Varieties of granola? Check. Coffees and specialty teas? Of course.

There were more varieties of rice than I knew existed and so many more niche products like mixes for mac and cheese sauce, soups, and waffles.

I've never even seen some of these products sold without packets in my life. What a mind-bender!

The candy section is on another level

Reese's Pieces at Bulk Barn in Canada.

Reese's Pieces at Bulk Barn in Canada.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

Speaking of things I'd never seen sold without packaging, Bulk Barn actually had containers of some of my favourite candy!

That includes Hershey's Kisses, Skittles and Reese's Pieces. They even had "Christmas Smarties" when I visited, which were just the red and green ones, as a little tribute to the holiday season.

And if that wasn't enough, the candy section had varieties I'd never seen before in my life.

This includes giant jawbreakers with quirky names like Okeydoke, Candy Blox shaped like Legos, and pink candy called Chicken Bones.

I literally felt like a kid in a candy shop.

You can pick as much as you like

A lot of stores have great variety and decent prices, but this is the first time I've been to a store in Canada that actually let me pick the exact portions I wanted.

And this has been an absolute game-changer, especially for someone like me who lives alone.

Canada can be expensive for singles, but this store gives me the opportunity to buy exactly how much I want, which translates to lower costs and less waste. A win-win!

The spice section is as diverse as it gets

Spices at Bulk Barn.

Spices at Bulk Barn.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

This is another absolute win.

I've often struggled with finding the right spices in Canada. And, when I do find them, they're either outrageously expensive (again, looking at you, Loblaws) or sold in a quantity that I'm not willing to buy.

So, the fact that there was such a great variety of spices from around the world was pretty cool.

I spotted shawarma mix, Thai spices, tandoori mix, souvlaki seasoning and Montreal steak spice, all in one row.

If one store captures how diverse Canada is as a country, it's probably Bulk Barn!

You can grind your own nut butters

Nut butter at Bulk Barn.

Nut butter at Bulk Barn.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

In Dubai, I would go to a store called Spinneys just because it allowed me to make my own nut butter.

I hadn't seen this feature in Canada at all until I went to Bulk Barn, and I can't describe just how delighted I was to finally find it.

I just think it's really cool to have the option to make your nut butter and buy the specific quantity you desire.

But, if you don't fancy the DIY route, there are also vats of already-ground peanut butter products, whether you like it smooth, chunky or organic.

They even have other nut spreads, like cashew butter and hazelnut butter.

It's a baker's paradise

Cake trays at Bulk Barn.

Cake trays at Bulk Barn.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

I love baking, and I'm a bit gutted to have discovered Bulk Barn a whole nine months after arriving in Canada.

Not only can I pick essentials according to quantity, but there's a stunning variety of baking accessories to purchase, from trays to cake levellers.

And don't get me started on the edible decorations, sprinkles and ready-made icing.

Not only that, but you can also find ready-made custard and pie fillings, something I've never actually seen before.

And, since I (like everyone else) dabbled with bread-baking during the pandemic, I was floored to see the types of flour available – from buckwheat to pizza crust.

They have more than just food

Storage containers at Bulk Barn.

Storage containers at Bulk Barn.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

And finally, just when I thought Bulk Barn couldn't get any cooler, I also learned that it doesn't just sell stuff to eat!

The store also has an interesting, albeit smaller, section for soaps, shampoos and personal care.

Add this to the other stuff they sell, like storage jars, vitamins and supplements, and this is a pretty well-rounded store.

It's just a pity it took me this long to discover it!

Love ya, Bulk Barn!

Janice Rodrigues
Associate Editor
Janice Rodrigues was an Associate Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian immigration and passports, and is based in Scarborough, Ontario.