Welcome to One Year, One Canadian

For the year of 2011, I’m living Canadian. For 12 months, I will only buy Canadian products, eat Canadian food and consume Canadian media. I’m going to document this process through this website, and plan to publish a book about my project in 2012.

So, how will my project work? I’m dividing the year into 12 sections, each corresponding to a month. Each month, I’ll add another category where I restrict myself to consuming Canadian products and services. It’s subject to change, but my current plan looks like this. Click to enlarge:

12 Months of Living Canadian
Twelve months of living Canadian.

So, as you might imagine, things will get progressively harder through the year. I’m open to suggestions to how to adjust each month’s focus–can you think of another way I can live Canadian?

  1. Tzaddi (Reply) Posted on January 13, 2011

    What a great idea to explore! I’ll be interested to watch this progress.

    Over at ChangeEverything.ca there was a blogger who documented a year of doing without plastic. She would re-use things she had, but not let new plastic into her life. I often think of that in my daily routine, how difficult it would be to find substitutes for so many of the things I purchase regularly. And, like you, I’m not really into making my own yogurt & such…

  2. Darren (Reply) Posted on January 13, 2011

    Thanks for the comment, and congrats on being commenter #1 on this site!

  3. Harriet (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Great idea. Better set that radio dial to CBC (if you even do radio… Internet dial?). I recommend the movie One Week if you haven’t seen it already.

  4. LisaB (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Very interesting! My partner decided for 2011 he was going to not buy anything made in China, just as an awareness thing for us. It’s already proving a challenge! So good luck to you – look forward to hearing about your experience.

    If you need a good Canadian movie, I recommend Bon Cop, Bad Cop. :)

  5. Dario (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    The strategy according to your chart certainly makes it more manageable but still a formidable challenge.

    For media are you following Can Con guidelines?
    For clothing does everything need to be produced, manufactured in Canada AND owned by a Canadian company?
    Music: enjoy the Rush ;-)

    Super interesting project and im interested in the results.


  6. Kyle (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    This sounds like a great idea!

    I take it you will be trading your iPhone for a Blackberry now?

  7. Jason (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Since food is seasonal, it would be interesting to watch you eat only Canadian food throughout the whole year. Maybe you could consider rearranging your calendar so that your Canadian food phase starts earlier.

  8. Geoff (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Very commendable, but Dario brings up a good point — are you willing to take this to the point where you can verify that all the CONTENTS of the Canadian products are, in fact, Canadian, and not imported from, say, China?

  9. Lisa (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    I’d think that verifying Canadian content would be fabulously difficult on a lot of products – though I’m impressed you wrote to and got a response from the TP people.

    You’re probably up on the whole problem that “Product of Canada” labeling had:

    The guidelines have changed since then, but I’d be surprised if they’re regularly audited or enforced.

  10. Lisa (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    p.s. Super neat project, it will be interesting to watch how the “stunt” progresses.

  11. Michelle Sullivan (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Great project idea, Darren – congrats on making the switch. I hope it’ll inspire others to think about shopping more locally.

    I’m curious to hear the answer to the Blackberry question ;) and definitely agree with Jason that seasonal food is the way to go. I have a chart for Quebec if it’s of any use (and if you read French), otherwise I’m sure your local fruit/veg market or producer association would be able to send you a copy of a version tailor made for Vancouver.

    Best of luck! Looking forward to following your adventures!


  12. Michelle Sullivan (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011


    Gotta love a Nova Scotian girl and Vancouver transplant recommend a film made-in-Quebec.



  13. Theresa Putkey (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    If your travel is Canadian and you want to take a flight, does the airline have to be 100% Canadian owned. For Air Canada, isn’t it partially owned by non-Canadian people? For WestJet, its employees are its owners, so that would mean that people in any air terminal where WestJet flies are owners, which could be in the U.S. or Mexico or the Caribbean…

    What about the planes? Bombardier planes only?

    Good luck!

  14. Zoeyjane (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    I’m looking forward to watching this unfold, and seeing whether your consumption costs raise significantly, or if their demand decreases as a result.

    But I must, smart as that I am, note that the Internet (and therefore Twitter, Facebook and I’m assuming MOST typical blogs and news outlets who are US-hosted) comes last. *insert facetious wink*

  15. Deanna (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Good luck on this great idea – as one who regularly sheds a tear when “O Canada!” is played, I wish you luck in your endeavor.
    I’m wondering if Tim Horton’s is sponsoring you – your logo seems very familiar!

  16. christine (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    What a fantastic idea. Best of luck on your journey and hope you don’t spend too much time at Tim Horton’s.

    Love the blog design and layout.

  17. Andrea Coutu (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Sounds like a fascinating project! As a parent, I find it a big enough struggle to try to find myself and my family locally or organically grown foods and to try to make sustainable choices. You’re taking on something most of us — even the hardcore locavores — could not imagine.

  18. Julie Ovenell-Carter (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Darren this is intriguing. *Why* are you wanting to do this? What’s your hypothesis (if you will)? What are you trying to “prove”–if anything. I’m genuinely interested in your answers!

    Also, I’m curious to know since I have, for years, focussed my travel writing on Canadian destinations: will you change your holiday patterns too? Will you be travelling more extensively in Canada? Or have you always be someone to “travel at home”?

    I’ll link to this blog over at WhyGo Canada and shall follow with great interest…bonne chance!


  19. eddie (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    You are a knob mate.

  20. VivianLea Doubt (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    I am simply adding to the remarks about how neat this idea is, and I shall follow the results with interest. I have to say that my efforts to find Canadian sources have led me to either make my own or do without, often…so I am intrigued that you’re doing the work that many of us give up on. Cheers, and I look forward to reading more!

  21. Kev (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Just heard the tail end of your talk with CBC. So I thought I’d check you out! Nice work. I’m looking forward to your posts!

  22. Michael Heacock (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Concerning the book you link to on your About page … shouldn’t you be linking to Amazon.ca, rather than Amazon.com?

    I realize that your Internet problem is 11 months away … but what are the rules there? What about email?

  23. Kate (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    I have my own business in BC making natural soap, shampoo, other body care products, plus household cleaning supplies. I already have a soap that I call The Canadian. Please contact me. I love your project!!

  24. LRS (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Good on you! It is funny how folks want the rules and regulations for the new “religion” beforehand rather than seeing it as a year of discovery and how far it will take you.

    I love your logo. And indeed, surely you were made in Canada!

  25. Yuri Artibise (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    g’Oh Canada!!!

  26. SnowWhite (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Regaurding your CBC interview where you mentioned that you figured you might stuggle finding Canadian clothing…if you make it up to the Okanagan, Penticton specifically there is a store here that caters to the canuck at heart. I believe all their products are made in Canada either using recycled materials or whathave you (you’d have to ask them for specifics) but they get stuff from designers all over the country…most of which are made by hand and, I must admit: are very cool.
    \if you can’t come up in person the bossladies ([email protected]) are very accomodating and will help you find what you need I would imagine.

  27. My 2011 Project: One Year, One Canadian

    [...] should be fun. As per this post, I’m adding a category of Canadian products and services each month, so the effect is [...]

  28. Mirella (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Funnily enough I got to your blog through one of my readers :)
    I wrote on my portuguese/brazilian blog few posts about Made in Canada products and he suggested me to come to you blog!!!
    Good luck on your endeavor :)

  29. Chery Schenk (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    This is great. Good luck on @1y1c.

    Possibly, if there is a child in your world, you will check out my site for one of your Canadian books. We are proud that our book is 100% Canadian – written, illustrated and printed in CANADA.

  30. Doug (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    All the best in your venture. Are you going to change your web hosting from a server in Dallas to one in Canada?

  31. Doug (not the same one above me) (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Good luck with this, if you really want to give all Canadian a shot come on up to Ontario in the summer, (ours) and I’ll treat you to some Canadian football.
    I’m assuming though that you’re in the USA.

  32. Matt (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    I’m curious how you’ll select Canadian-only music. Must it be recorded/produced in Canada? Perhaps more than 50% of band members should be Canadian? Or maybe the songs ought to be written by a Canadian? I really enjoy Canadian bands… I’ll definitely be interested to hear how you like the Canadian music only part of the year.

  33. Lesli (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Heya Darren..
    I just heard you on CBC..yay for being Canadian!! I see that August is your ‘travel’ month. Weeeellll..in the Yukon Territory we have the most awesome LOCAL owned airline..Air North. If you happen to travel on that airline from Vancouver you will even get FOOD!!..that includes wonderful fair trade coffee from a local Whitehorse shop. You can also stay with pretty much anyone that you want..that is totally Canadian! Yes..the north is still very much open arms to people with stories. We try to support local everything..including recycled clothing..sorry though..even third or fouth hand clothes are not Canadian made..but good for the environment. You will find endless hours of local Canadian music here (I have over 50 cds of local musicians. mostly produced in Canada too!). Can you tell I love where I live? Yep..if you end up in the YT..come visit..in magnificent Tagish YT..we will put you up! Have a blast of a year!

  34. Laura (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Why on earth aren’t you taking advantage of the BC growing season and starting your food phase earlier?

  35. LA (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Love this idea :)

  36. Fait au Québec (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Cool, good luck it is doable although very hard. I tried and still I am trying to buy only Quebec made products. (a notch harder) I blogged about it for some time. The future is local. Gotta love apples :)

  37. RJ BIbley (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Hockey, dude.

  38. Bill (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    I love this idea, but as many others have pointed out “Canadian” can mean a lot of things, especially Canadian media.

    Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, X-files, Smallville, outer limits, V, and many other shows are American owned but filmed in Canada.

    Canadian owned and filmed in Canada shows are Little mosque on the prairie, Starlost, kids in the hall, Corner Gas, and Todd and the book of pure evil. You should definitely check out Todd and the book of pure evil.

  39. The Beer Goggler | Sometimes, All It Takes Is One More Drink...

    [...] Welcome to One Year, One Canadian (1Y1C) [...]

  40. Kat (Reply) Posted on January 19, 2011

    Kudos to you for taking on this great project. I admire your determination, I just wish it wasn’t required. Wouldn’t it be great if the things sold in Canada were, more often than not, MADE in Canada? I have a hard time finding things that aren’t made in various parts of Asia; and look forward to following your quest and stealing tips on good ol Canadian products to buy! GOOD LUCK & have fun!

  41. iain (Reply) Posted on January 19, 2011

    for clothing check out:

    Wing and Horns – Vancouver made
    Naked and Famous – Jeans
    Omega – Dress shirts and pants
    Dion – Ties
    Dayton – Boots
    Canada Goose – Coats

  42. Mike Vardy (Reply) Posted on January 20, 2011


    This is an awesome idea…can’t wait to see how it unfolds (or in the case of your toilet paper dilemma, unrolls)!

    All the best,
    Mike Vardy

  43. m (Reply) Posted on January 21, 2011

    As for movies, I’d highly recommend ‘the Seducing of Dr. Lewis’.

  44. Mickie Rowsell (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    So looking forward to seeing how this project unfolds. I’m putting it on my Facebook profile to spread the word.


  45. Kelli (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    This should be interesting and I’ll be following your blog. Good luck!!

  46. Doug Thomson (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Hi: I read you are looking for shaving cream. If you contact a Registered Aromatherapist in Vancouver who is registered through the BCAOA (http://www.bcaoa.org/) or Pat Antoniak, RN, RA, EOT (Email: – Website: naturalcomfort.ca) she should be able to either make you such a product or tell you where to get such a product in greater Vancouver.

    Do not go to body shop etc as most their products are foreign produced and they use chemicals.

    While most essential oils are from other countries, a qualified aromatherapist can produce a shaving cream (and soaps and other cleansers) using Canadian made essential oils (Spearmint, pine, sage, lavender, etc) and all natural creams. Totally Canadian made.

  47. Jacqueline (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Look forward to hearing how your project unfolds and finding about some of the wonderful Canadian products available.

  48. TimCanadien (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Good luck man. I’ll follow your progress and will try to help if I can by keeping an eye out in the Kitchener-Waterloo region for anything I think might help in your efforts.

  49. Laura (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    I find this project very exciting and inspiring! I’m looking forward to seeing the transitions each month and finding out about more nationally-based products and services that I can support :)

    I figure that you have thought out your rationale for when each stage is being introduced, but I personally think that your travel should begin earlier in the year (or you should at least take advantage of it once you start in September!). We have a beautiful country that is so diverse; I always wonder why people insist on travelling out of the country for their vacations. I would highly recommend a roadtrip!!

    Good luck!

  50. Brian (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    It would be interesting to hear how you made your monthly choices. I would think the “Music” one is fairly easy (for a Canadian), why not put it on your list earlier?

    I hope you are using Canadian website hosting and good old Canadian software! It’s too bad Facebook and Twitter don’t have much of a Canadian component…

    Fortunately for you, Canadians make a lot of good booze.

    Good luck with it, it’s an interesting project.

  51. Nathalie Rose (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Only Canadien EH? What about those Vancouver 2010 “Made in China” mitts you are wearing??????

    • Michael O (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

      And like when our moron Ontario Premier Dalton hires a chinese company to make Canadian/Ontario flags. WTF! I really am getting sick and tired of politicians.

  52. Lindsey (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    An interesting and worthwhile effort! I think it may be harder than we might imagine consuming only Canadian products/services. The time it would take to source small to unknown Canadian brands and points of manufacture will be consuming in itself.

    As you come across Canadian Made products do you plan to catalogue them in a database & share them? Making the Canadian Made products known to other Canadian residents has the potential of spurring on support for locally made products, making it easier to buy local.

  53. Sandra (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    I think it’s fabulous what you are doing. About five years ago a group of us were going to put together a mag., naming all Canadian products, from food, clothing, and farms that sell directly to the public and all stores and restaurants owned and operated by Canadians. I would like to see more products made in Canada and support them. I look forward to following your year of buying only Canadian.

  54. Sandra (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    There is a fabulous meat store/farm out in Pitt Meadows, on Dewdney Trunk rd, called HopCott market, that raise and bring in local meat. They carry everything from Beef, lamb chicken and even make their own beef jerky. Check it out!

  55. Rita (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    I am so interested in following your experience. Love your idea; wish I would have thought of this; I do believe you will have better success in your venture than I would have in northern Ontario. Good luck!
    Go Canada Go!

  56. Cathy Cassidy (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    In advance of your February challenge, hemp is the fabric most likely to be sourced in Canada. There are a number of other househhold, body and food products made from hemp as well.

  57. Jackie (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Great project. Are you tracking your costs? It will be interesting to see the cost of buying Canadian. I think many people shop the way they do – at the Costcos and Wal-Marts of the world – because they think it to be cheaper. They think shopping local has a higher price. Does it?
    It is a wonderful idea to shop Canadian but cost comes into play for many Canadians – especially families. If given the choice of paying more to buy Canadian or saving money by purchasing something non-local, the average person will opt to save money.
    It seems reasonable to think that locally-produced products sold locally should be less costly than imports but that is often not the case. It will be interesting to see what you find. Perhaps consumers will be surprised to learn shopping Canadian is not as pricey as they think. Or, conversely, Canadian producers will see there is a huge interest (market) in shopping local and move to make their prices more competitive, thus making it more attractive to even more people.
    Good luck!

  58. Joan (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Seem to me you will require an office chair. Our motto is “Made in Nova Scotia, not in China”.

    Good luck, great project.

  59. Derek (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    A whole year of just Canadian movies and television?! I feel awful for you, Darren! At least the music scene has leapt forward to respectability and even excellence in some cases…

  60. Dave from Spallumcheen (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    During March can you let us know if that Littlest Hobo video marathon works out for you?

  61. Michael O (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    When I saw the news about you going 100% Canuck for one whole year I was very happy. It seems quite apparent that too many North Americans have forgotten what it means to support local business and “CANADIAN” business. It does make a difference when you choose to buy something made in another country or directly in our beutiful land. Many people don’t seem to realize that there is an International effort by world banks, global elitests, illuminati to DE-INDUSTRIALIZE North America. Which is why we’re seeing so many products being made in China/India and other countries. My anger is that it doesn’t make our country better, puts people out of work and the products usually break down because they are so cheaply made. With all due respect to ANYONE who reads this..I am BEGGING all of you to please..please take a look at this website. http://www.infowars.com Alex Jones has been warning people about a global agenda to put Americans/Canadians out of work and move us to a “SERVICE BASED”. He has also warned us about fluoride in our water/toothpaste which does create cancer, chemicals in our foods, and the fact that 9/11 was an inside job. There is also direct proof that THERMITE, a high grade military explosive was found in the WTC rubble and in building #7. There is also MUCH more that he warns us about. PLEASE don’t be brainwashed by main stream media! Check out this site please! AND SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY AND THE ECONOMY OF YOUR COUNTRY! I love my country and Canadian made products! Good on you and I wish you all the best! I am really starting to hate wal-mart and it seems almost NOTHING is made in Canada they sell.

  62. Karen B (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    I`ve just returned from a grocery shopping trip, and I couldn`t find fish that wasn`t a Product of China! Unbelievable! I`m interested in your experiment because we can`t support Canadian sources if we don`t know about them.

    • Mo (Reply) Posted on January 25, 2011

      Go to steveston village and buy fresh Canadian fish direct from the fishermen.

      • Karen Bishop (Reply) Posted on June 2, 2011

        I live in Thunder Bay, ON. There is no commercial fishery here.

  63. Mo (Reply) Posted on January 25, 2011

    Dear Darren,
    I admire you for your initiative.
    I have been living Canadian since March 1997. Anytime I go shopping I only buy products and goods that have maple leaf on them with the sign saying made in Canada or produced in Canada. I am just wondering why other Canadians do not feel the urge to help local economy by which they help their community and themselves.
    Keep up the good work.
    Vive le Canada,

  64. My 2011 Project: One Year, One Canadian | BlogsCanada.ca

    [...] should be fun. As per this post, I’m adding a category of Canadian products and services each month, so the effect is [...]