a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Nov, 2008

Join me, and pledge not to shop at Wal-Mart this holiday season

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Yaktivism

There has been a lot of talk during the U.S election about “sharing the wealth.” I’m sure some Americans wonder if this means that Big Government will reach into their pockets and hand their hard-earned money over to welfare bums.

It seems to me (up here in Canada!) that the term “Share the wealth” has become an idea that people either embrace or fear. Did you know, that over the last twenty-five years, 60 percent of American households have lost real income despite working longer and harder? All the gains in income went to the top 5 percent. (from this excellent essay.)

I know many Americans treasure their right to earn money – and for others to fail at it. It’s the capitalist way. But when so many people are plainly struggling to make ends meet, well, the concentration of great wealth in the hands of so few seems greedy and short-sighted, doesn’t it?  Sorry to put it so plainly, but there it is. 

This leads me to the reason behind this post. I’d like to ask you to stop shopping at Wal-Mart, at least over the holiday season, which, as we all know, begins today in the U.S . :)

Mark and I haven’t shopped at Wal-Mart for a few years now. Did you know that the owners, the Walton family, who collectively control over 39% of the company, and are worth approximately $19.2 billion each, for a combined total of $81.8 billion (as of March 2008)? (Wiki)

They’re billionaires, BILLIONAIRES, while the regular folks who work at their stores, helping them make their billions, earn poverty-level wages, you know, to help keep prices down.

I know there are some people out there, rolling their eyes and mumbling things like “bleeding heart liberal” and clicking the “close window” button on their browsers, but I can’t help the way I feel about this issue.

Other reasons not to shop at Wal-Mart:

  • Wal-Mart’s quest for the lowest price means the goods are outsourced to places where working conditions are often sub-par. In 2004 alone, Wal-Mart purchased $18 billion worth of Chinese goods. Oh, and Bye bye American manufacturing jobs! (from here)
  • Wal-Mart crushes efforts to unionize
  • Many of their employees cannot afford proper health insurance
  • I haven’t even touched on food and toy safety, or wage violations. 

Check out these fact-sheets if you want to get informed.

I know that some of you shop at Wal-Mart and don’t think anything of it. It’s just another store, right? What do you think about all this? But before you tell me, first, inform yourselves. Click through the few links I’ve listed above and then tell me if you’re still willing to give the Waltons your hard-earned money.

36 Responses to "Join me, and pledge not to shop at Wal-Mart this holiday season"

1 | Lindsay

November 1st, 2008 at 8:43 am


It’s funny because I just had a huge debate with a colleague at work about this. It got quite heated. ;-)

I haven’t shopped at a Walmart since they closed the store in Quebec for unionizing in 2005. I guess it just feels like I’m getting a low price but at the expense of the employees and the people making pennies, working in appaling conditions to produce the things I buy.

My colleague argued “Why Wallmart? They aren’t the only bad guys out there.” Which is true, I guess. I don’t have an answer for him, but nevertheless, I just can’t bring myself to shop at Walmart.

2 | Mary Lynn

November 1st, 2008 at 9:01 am


I can happily join you. I ‘ve rarely even stepped foot in a Walmart, let alone made a purchase in one. A couple of times I’ve made purchases there out of desperation when I absolutely could not find something I needed anywhere else (there was one year I needed swimming gear for the kids off-season and I couldn’t find any anywhere else in Markham). However, I think I can commit to swearing off Walmart entirely. I’ve never been a fan of the way they treat their employees. I’d rather pay a little bit more and know that my money is going to a company that deserves my business.

3 | vickiz

November 1st, 2008 at 9:39 am


Can do. I’ve never set foot in a Walmart, ever.

4 | Soire

November 1st, 2008 at 10:14 am


I can’t do Walmart. The atmosphere there is always so toxic, and just .. *shudder*

I vastly prefer Zellers when I need things like winter boots or a new pair of kids pantyhose. I find it a much less stressful shop.

5 | Bill

November 1st, 2008 at 10:54 am


I agree with you. We need to keep our business here. When they buy goods in other countries it just helps our economy go down the tubes. This is a great post. Keep up the great work.

6 | Tosca

November 1st, 2008 at 11:44 am


As a fellow bleeding heart liberal (and labour organizer), I get all of this. I really do. But, if you want to examine labour, environmental, shareholder/distribution of wealth practices, etc., places like Target or Zellers are no better AT ALL. It might feel better to be able to proclaim that one doesn’t shop at Walmart, but if those same dollars are going to any other retailer (and let’s face it, we all have to get our lightbulbs *somewhere*) like the other big places, it’s not making a difference except to falsely assuage our consciences. Ultimately, the only solution is to consume less overall.

7 | Scattered Mom

November 1st, 2008 at 11:59 am


We don’t shop at Walmart because firstly, we don’t have one where we live. When we go to the city we rarely stop there for a variety of reasons-most of which you listed.

The only way I shop there is when I can’t find things elsewhere.

This Christmas I’m hand crafting many gifts instead, which is far more fun!

8 | mrsgryphon

November 1st, 2008 at 12:41 pm


I was 100% anti-Walmart, from a city in Ontario that fought against big box stores for years and only recently did a Wal-Mart get permission to move in. I had only ever actually set foot in a Wal-Mart once, and was completely turned off… that is, until I moved to a small-ish town in Alberta and had a child… now I’m kind of stuck. There are certain things that just aren’t available anywhere else in our town, and unless I want to pack up the toddler and drive 30 minutes into the city for another option, I’ve ended up gritting my teeth and crossing into the dark zone.

I get grumpy every time I do though, because I invariably get sucked into this great deal or that toy for the girl and I don’t WANT to. I don’t like that every single children’s product is branded, I don’t like that my friend who’s running a fabulous scrapbooking store in town has to compete with Wal-Mart’s undercutting prices and I don’t like that there is a McDonald’s right in the store. If that doesn’t say something about the consumerist quantity-vs-quality mentality of Wal-Mart, I don’t know what does. I want to go in, get the Pull-ups I came for and leave. After a recent excursion there, where I waited in line for over 30 minutes to buy my sad little purchases (and was accosted with children’s branding from every angle – my child is 2.5, she doesn’t need Barbie or Bratz ANYTHING, thankyouverymuch), I decided that I really will make every possible effort to not go back.

I need to get back to my idealist 20-something self and seek out those independent/Canadian-owned small retailers. We can afford the extra pennies that it costs to treat employees well and source well-made products.

9 | Catherine

November 1st, 2008 at 1:41 pm


As an American with twelve Wal Marts within50 miles, I seldom shop there. When I lived in the midwest I would alway shop there. under the belief that they actually had good deals. Now I am a step parent and have one on the way and I vow to Never shop at Wal Mart or Sams Club. The way people are treated, the way the employees are RUDE. The clothes do not last more then a few washings before needing re sewn or just plain thrown away. The groceries although usually a little bit cheaper, are not normally worth the lack of customer service I get all the time…

10 | Ginger

November 1st, 2008 at 5:32 pm


We always shop at Walmart or Target. As I sat and thought about your post I asked myself why. I have a good friend that has been trying to get me to avoid Walmart for the 2 years I have known him. Anyway, I came up with two reasons. One is convenience. There are 3 Walmarts and 2 Targets within a 10 miles radius of our home. Second, I can buy everything I need for a week for around $50 at Walmart. What can I say…they have cheep prices.

Money has become even more important now that our income has been cut in half when I quit to stay at home with our twins (now 2 months old).

But I looked at those links you had. Then I looked up some info about Target. And then I thought some more about my two reasons for shopping at Walmart or Target. I started wondering if I could shop at a regular grocery store for only a little more than what I pay at the big box store. I don’t know. But I am going to find out. I was just about to go shopping at Walmart for our week but now I think I will pick a grocery store near us and see what it will cost.

But all the grocery stores near us are also chains, and I wonder if they are really any better. We don’t really have small, locally run stores here in my part of Texas. I am sure it is because they can’t compete with the likes of Walmart and Target.

Walmart and Target are a way of life around here. At least for a majority of people. However, you are right. I don’t want to support such openly bad practices. So, I pledge to begin changing our way of life. I don’t think it can or will happen over night. I am going to have to research and find alternatives. But I think that it is possible.

This is one of the reasons I love your blog so much. You encourage me to think about things and question what I do. Thank you so much! :)

11 | Miss Vicky

November 1st, 2008 at 6:44 pm


Not a hard pledge for me to make, as I am a long-time Walmart-avoider.

The biggest store I shop at is the Superstore, and then only for stuff I can’t really get in the small businesses along my strip. And at least they are unionized. Even though money is tight this year I can’t bear the thought of what little money I have go to line the pockets of billionaire labour exploiters. It may cost more to shop at the small businesses along my strip, but I figure I also save in gas… and guilt.

12 | elizabeth

November 1st, 2008 at 8:32 pm


I really dislike generalizations. to write:I know many Americans treasure their right to earn money – and for others to fail at it. It’s the capitalist way “

It’s your blog – your space, but I do choose to close my browser on your site, permanently. Such kind of talk divides people, and I am so over this kind of rhetoric.

13 | andrea

November 1st, 2008 at 8:45 pm


Sorry you feel that way elizabeth. I dislike generalizations too. I did say “many” … as opposed to “all” or “most.” Many Canadians treasure the same right to be rich beyond measure.

14 | andrea

November 1st, 2008 at 9:01 pm


I also wanted to add that I know that this post is mostly preaching to the converted. The kind of people who hang around here might already share similar points of view. Thanks everyone, for your thoughtful comments so far.

And thank you GINGER! Thank you for being so open-minded. I was hoping to hear from people who shop there. I have always wondered if (a) people knew the whole story and (b) cared (c) what if they KNEW and just deny it because they just don’t want to give up shopping there?

If you (not just you Ginger, but anyone) can’t give up shopping there altogether, the next best thing is drastically reducing the amount you spend there. Is that your source for diapers? Well, buy the diapers and walk straight back out. DON’T buy the cute plastic sunglasses. Don’t buy a 4L jar of pickles. Don’t buy clothing.

And don’t choose Wal-Mart as the place to do your Christmas shopping.

Better yet, as other have suggested before me, buy less and support smaller & local businesses.

p.s. to Ginger. I’d be surprised if your local grocery chains are much more expensive than your local Wal-Mart(s). Wal-Mart is their competition, so you’d think it’d be in their best interests to keep prices low.

15 | Mark

November 1st, 2008 at 9:12 pm


One of the best documentaries I’ve seen on Wal-Mart….


16 | andrea

November 1st, 2008 at 9:13 pm


fyi – Some info re: wages on this site. (Watch the video at the top of the page)

17 | LO

November 1st, 2008 at 9:46 pm


Walmart is toxic. I felt it when i used to shop there. You can’t pay me to go in there. Between all the crap shoved everywhere so that you can’t move a cart and the awful service (well, more like lack of service) and the very ‘lo lo lo lo’ morale……..it’s awful…..I know I can’t change the world and don’t want to but I am bothered by the likes of Walmart and so I don’t shop there!!!!!
As for the back and forth about generalizations and rhetoric and turning browsers off…….free speech and such and agree to disagree instead of turning something into more….:) Andrea don’t feel you have to answer back to some-that’s what they want:)

18 | Nicol

November 2nd, 2008 at 12:35 am


I totally agree with you! I “banned” Wal-mart from my shopping some time ago.

19 | Kathleen

November 2nd, 2008 at 9:22 am


There will always be people with the wealth and hideous values as shown in the article. They should not be admired or looked up to for sure. The part I don’t understand about this “share the wealth” thinking is that if you create a business that is incredibly successful you shouldn’t be punished. So just how much do you want the top wage earners to “reinvest”. Since the top 20% of households paid 86.3% of all taxes in 2005 and the bottom 80% of households paid 13.7% of the tax burden, how much more do you want to tax the hard earned success of others? Since more than 40% of filers do not pay any taxes at all, how much do you want steal from others who have worked hard for their success and put it into the pockets of lower income households?
I do not shop at Walmart for all the right reasons but Target gives a ton of money back to each community it is in, they should get some credit! I also don’t think there will be as many contributions to charities from the wealthy with the new tax plan, I don’t think people realize how much money these people contribute to the world in scholarships and charities, tax them more and some of these organizations will surely recieve less and it will become clear that thye were already sharing the wealth.

20 | Kathleen

November 2nd, 2008 at 10:39 am


The one thing I forgot to mention is I do not trust the government (Democrats and Republicans) to manage and spend our tax dollars responsibly so do not want to give them more to mis-manage. Good people do share their wealth, let them give to which organization they choose. Here are 3 examples of the mismanagement of our money by our elected Congressman:
In a Defense Bill;
for ‘The First Tee”, whose purpose, according to its website, is “To impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life enhancing values through the game of golf.” Defense bill?

In Agriculture Bill:

for wood utilization research in 10 states requested by nine representatives and 16 senators. Among the research are as is “refinement of processing technology for laminated veneer lumber for furniture, flooring, and other specialty industries.”


For Olive Fruit fly research. Part of this money, $211,509, is to be spent in Paris, France.

Honestly, give them more to throw away?

21 | nancy

November 3rd, 2008 at 12:51 am


I don’t do Walmart.

Can’t say I never have, but the very few times I have I (1) did not enjoy it for oh, so many reasons and (2) felt guilty for all the non-Canadian reasons.

Haven’t been back in 4 years, have no intentions on returning.

Great post Andrea!

22 | lacoop

November 3rd, 2008 at 6:03 am


Great post. Our family (kids included) were talking about this very subject the day you posted it. We avoid shopping at Walmart and any business we feel is unfair and generally not good for the planet. When we give gifts these days we tend to make a donation (e.g. Plan Canada, WWF, etc.). We have so little faith in government or business these days – a sad thing which is going to lead to bad times in the future. And when it comes to food, we really make an effort to buy from a business where we at least have some recourse if something goes wrong – what can you do when you buy some product from China (which is mostly what Walmart is) with a toxic chemical? Nothing. Good luck calling the company to complain. And good luck with a lawsuit in China.

23 | andrea

November 3rd, 2008 at 8:17 am


Re: rich people and charity. I’m not sure if I buy the fact that if the richest people were more heavily taxed they’d give less to charity. AND I’m sure the Walton family gives a lot of money to charity – how could they not. But looking at this one case, you have to agree that the income gap isn’t a gap – it’s a chasm. The top of the WM foodchain makes billions of dollars, and the bottom makes minimum wage… which is not enough money to live on.

24 | Ginger

November 3rd, 2008 at 9:12 am


So I thought I would write a quick update here on my shopping trip to the local grocery store. I went last night to Kroger, one of the chain grocery stores near where we live. It is one of their Signature stores, which means it offers high end groceries. We have shopped there before and an average trip was anywhere between $60-$100. However, last night I went in with a set list of items that I would need for meals this week. Then, instead of just grabbing a brand label from the shelf I looked at all my options. I found that I could buy the store brand and save just as much money if I shopped at Walmart where I buy the store brand. I made it out of the store with everything I needed for the week, plus a few extras for under $40. I have a store club card that saved me almost $8 on top of the savings of buying store brand. I was very pleased. I have always liked this store better for many reasons and if I need a specialty item I am more likely to find it at this store, which means fewer trips around town shopping. Fewer trips means I save time which is a top priority for me right now!

I must admit that all of my excuses for shopping at Walmart now seem pretty flimsy.

Anyway, thanks again for writing this post. I enjoy challenging myself. I feel like life should be about constantly improving and challenging the way you do things. I think it is easy to fall into patterns that become habits and habits are easy to follow. But habits and patterns should be examined from time to time, because maybe there is a better way. And in this case, there is definitely a better way!

25 | savvymomdotca

November 3rd, 2008 at 12:58 pm


I completely agree with how you feel about Wal-Mart. During university, I knew several classmates that worked there and they complained about the pay, the environment and basically, about everything. And, they have every right to.

I prefer to shop at Zellers because they have more green products than Wal-mart. And this season, I hope that more people will have a green Canadian Christmas and shop at Zellers. The first thing I’m going to buy today is energy-saving lights from my local Zellers, recommended to me from a fellow green Canadian: http://www.sharesavvy.ca/cities/toronto/reviews?category_id=7

Like the person who posted above said, you can change your habits for the best: you can save money, save the environment and stay away from the money-thirsty big-wigs like Wal-mart.

Take care,

26 | BeachMama

November 3rd, 2008 at 6:24 pm


After many months of not shopping there, I have only just returned for but a few reasons. 1) the exact same toy, food item, wool is considerably less then the next big box store (read: Toys r Us, Loblaws, Zellers) and 2) Walmart is just down the road from me, so I save in driving and gas and if it is a lovely day, I can even walk. I won’t promise not to shop there, but I will promise to try not to. This Christmas I am doing the handmade Christmas again, so unless they carry the supplies I need at a lower cost, I won’t be shopping there :).

p.s if there was an alternative closer to me I would not shop there at all.

27 | The Moffman

November 4th, 2008 at 8:17 am


Too bad we didn’t get into this discussion when we were over to your place for dinner. That would have been pretty interesting.

I haven’t read through any of the links you suggested (I will try to do so later on), but right up front, the fact that the company is into busting unions is an incentive for me to give them more business. I realize this may start an angry tangent, but how’s this for a generalization: Unions are a relic of a bygone era that have no place in 21st century Canada. We have laws that govern minimum wage and everything else about labour practices. Although the standard that is set for minimum wage is probably too low, I can’t personally fault a business for paying their employees the lowest legal wage at which they can find people to staff the positions. If I felt strongly enough about the unfairness of minimum wage, I think the proper target of my wrath would be my MP, not my local Wal-Mart.

Anyway, we don’t shop at Wal-Mart very often, for various reasons. First, I do always feel better if I can buy something at a nice mom-and-pop-type operation. Having worked at a couple such places myself in my high school and university days, I know they generally do provide better customer service. And, like most people, I do appreciate being able to walk into a business and be recognized. Second, I don’t like how busy it is at Wal-Mart; I’m not big on crowds or waiting in line. Third, we don’t go there because there isn’t one that’s geographically convenient, and there are places nearer to home where I can pretty much everything they sell at the Wal. All that said, if we happen to be in the neighbourhood, and I know they have what I need, I won’t hesitate to stop there. At least their stores seem to be clean, well run and well stocked. By comparison, the Zeller’s that is near our place is dirty, poorly staffed and poorly organized. I try to avoid that place if I can.

My shopping habits are pretty much dictated by which stores a) have what I’m looking for; b) provide good customer service; c) are close by; and d) provide a comfortable shopping experience; in that order. Within reason, price isn’t a big consideration. The amount of profit that business makes most certainly is not a consideration at all. Unfortunately, you don’t find out about customer service until you need it. As a general rule of thumb, for bigger ticket items, I will try to find a smaller store; I’ve had miserable experiences with big corporations (let me give a shout-out to my arch-nemeses at the Brick and Future Shop). I have also had some good experience with some bigger stores (I’m thinking of Sears off the top of my head), but I don’t have any experience with Wal-Mart’s service, so I can’t comment on it intelligently.

As far as the merchandise itself goes, if there is a choice between a North-American-made/grown item and, say, a Chinese-made item, I’ll usually pick the one that comes from closer to home (again, within reason as far as price is concerned). Often it’s not even an option.

Anyway, at our new place, there will be a Wal-Mart within walking distance. But since there are also lots of small shops, plus an Independent Grocer and a Canadian Tire within a short walk as well, I still don’t see us shopping at Wal-Mart very often.

28 | mark

November 4th, 2008 at 8:45 am


Scott. I have this pearl of wisdom to add.

Unions exist because of poor management.

If you truly believe that every company will be universally fair to their employees then you are deluded. It’s more than just the wages. It’s about benefits and pensions and protection from discrimination.

I’m in a Union and I don’t believe for a second that I would have all of the protections and benefits that I have if it wasn’t for the Union.

Unions aren’t perfect but they provide checks and balances to companies that treat their employees poorly.

Those laws you speak of often aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Many companies easily circumvent the law or indeed flaunt the laws knowing full well that a single employee will not bother fighting through the courts over something like overtime. I know in one of Andrea’s last job they frequently worked their employees past the legal number of hours before overtime was to kick in.

If you questioned it you were likely to get fired. Now it may seem the right thing to do to was to fight this, but it would take a long time to work through the courts and in the meantime you’d have no wage so the easiest thing to do is just put up with it…and companies rely on the vast majority of employees who are afraid of losing their job.

Wal-Mart is like that too. If they paid their employees a half decent market value wage…if they gave them decent health benefits…if they didn’t work them past their scheduled hours…then there would be no reason to unionize.

Unions exist because of poor management.

29 | The Veg Next Door

November 4th, 2008 at 9:18 am


Quiet Fish probably didn’t intend for this post to be about unions but I feel that I need to add my two cents. I totally agree with The Moffman’s statements about why we shop or don’t shop at Wal-Mart (and not just b/c he’s my husband). I do want to add tht I’ve worked for many, many companies with and without unions. Management plays a huge part regarding employee morale and treatment. In my experience I had maybe one or two bosses that were actually management material.

My experience with unions was LESS than satisfactory. In fact, I found that it protected the people who worked less and/or had behaviour problems. One woman in particular was a bully and was never disciplined for her actions b/c of union protection.

Overall, I don’t think that not shopping at a big box store b/c it’s a big box store is a really good reason. Why penalize a company that started off small and grew into something big? Isn’t that what’s great about capitalism? Everyone has a chance.

30 | andrea

November 4th, 2008 at 9:20 am


Thanks Moff, for the huge de-reail. ;)
A quick add on (I don’t have time to hang out here today!) but if you’ve ever worked for a union you’d have a really good understanding of how valuable it is to have someone on your side in a working environment.

Mark mentioned one of my past jobs – he’s right about the OT. It was this unspoken thing… we were required to put in many hours of unpaid OT. If we didn’t, we’d be labelled as “uncooperative” and just lose our jobs. I was pretty young and stupid back then, and it sounds crazy, but but I was afraid of losing my job and I didn’t think I could find another one. And this was Ottawa, a relatively big town. What about those who work in Smallsville, where WM is the biggest employer after having wiped out all the mom and pops along Main St.?

31 | andrea

November 4th, 2008 at 9:23 am


Veg – did you watch that PBS documentary about WM? Mark linked to it somewhere above. If you watch it, and still think it’s okay for WM to be WM and not pay its workers fairly, well, okay then. :)

But watch it!

32 | The Veg Next Door

November 4th, 2008 at 10:00 am


I will watch it. Perhaps it will change my mind. I think it surprise most people that I even support WM considering my “pie-in-the-sky” ideas. :-)

33 | Sonya

November 5th, 2008 at 10:42 am


Thanks for this post, Andrea! My husband and I are already fervent anti-Wal-Mart shoppers (because of the atmosphere, slave wages, union-busting, etc), but now I have more reading material to back up our stance. ;) I’ll be sure to write about this on my blog and pass on the word about your challenge…

34 | Jennyjag

November 5th, 2008 at 11:11 am


I agree…somewhat..actually, I’m not sure. I shop at Wal-mart but really try to avoid it. Mostly because I find it depressing going in there – I feel sorry for the people shopping there and even sorrier for the people working there.

Shopping is one thing, but could we really tell people to stop working there? Not shopping there is the best we can do as mid-to upper income urban moms? It seems like an incomplete thought. Here’s what I mean:

The employees seem hard done by (exploited?) but at the same time, it’s a job. And I bet that’s the bottom line for a lot of them. I’m thinking of Smith Falls, which has been hit hard by manufacturing losses, but Walmart is going strong, providing jobs and cheaper prices for many low-income residents. Choosing not to shop there seems like such a ‘bourgeoisie’ thing to do. But choosing to stop working there may not even be an option. And it’s not my place to tell those folks they shouldn’t be working there.

Thanks for this post. I was up at 4am thinking about it. A bit of sleep deprivation but hey, you got me thinking!

35 | andrea

November 5th, 2008 at 11:27 am


No, of course we can’t ask people to stop working there. And not shopping there isn’t the best we can do. I look at it this way … I avoid Wal-Mart because they don’t fit my idea of “good business” and I don’t want to support their model. But I WILL spend my dollars at places that do… and that includes smaller (and more local) stores.

Every time we spend our money we are voting for what kind of world we want to live in. And this one way I have chosed to do it.

Here’s something to think about: does WM improve our lives or not? Has it helped or hindered? How has it affected other stores in those small towns, and how has it affected the manufacturing sector in North America? Those people who work there, do they feel trapped by their jobs? Why won’t WM give their employees a better wage? Why is there an issue with unpaid overtime?

(some answers to those questions are raised in that PBS documentary that was linked to earlier.)

36 | Ura Weerdo

December 2nd, 2008 at 8:28 pm


Oh wow! 35 comments are really going to stop Walmart from being rich. HA!
I’m sorry to say that I like Walmart and it’s actually decent store from where I’m from.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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