Win a $50 MEC gift card for 18 seconds of effort

I think we’ll have contests every month here at One Year, One Canadian. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

For month #1, let’s keep things nice and simple. There’s a $50 Mountain Equipment Co-op gift certificate up for grabs. To win it, all you have to do is leave a comment on any blog post, follow One Year, One Canadian on Twitter or ‘like’ my brand-spanking-new (and, for the moment, deeply uninteresting) Facebook  page.

If you do all three, you’ll treble your chances of winning. For non-British speakers, that’s double plus one. I figure one of those activities will take you, on average, 18 seconds.

Is the gift card itself manufactured in Canada? I’m doubtful, but I’ll look into it.

  1. Renee (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    This is a fabulous idea, Darren!

    In an increasingly globalized world, this is such a neat way to remind us that our day-to-day existence as Canadians doesn’t have to be tied into the downsizing and off-shoring that’s going on around us, the ongoing exploitation of cheap labour and lax environmental standards.

    We do a lot in this country, provide a lot of raw materials, and all too often just ship it away rather than creating goods with it ourselves. But we used to! And we can again! And it will be interesting to see quite how difficult (or, hopefully, easy) this project actually will be!

    (BTW Month 12: all Canadian internet? Ouch! The best thing about the internet is that it’s from everywhere. On the other hand, there’re what? 30 million people here? So it might not be so bad…)

  2. Volker Zeimer (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Hi Darren,

    I wish you all the best for your project: Big success, patience and alway good nerves :-) .

    It’s so funny, that I leave the really first to comment, because I’m also living my own canadian project right now, because I moved over from Germany with my family 6 months ago!


  3. Volker Zeimer (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Ok, I see Renee…I think i have typed my last comment really to slow *G*.

  4. nancy (aka moneycoach) (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    I’ll be following this with keen interest. I’ve managed to *not* buy made-in-China but Canadian only? that’s impressive.
    ps: if you want a great blanket, wool grown on sheep in Canada, handmade in Canada (PEI) – I found a great one:

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

    Just a note, not to be a downer or anything, the now-infamous red mitts you wear in your photo are made in China; the Zellers they came from has just been sold out to Target; and the ‘Timmy-esque’ theme…isn’t Tim’s now American owned as well?
    It’s going to be a tricky one, but an eye-opener to say the least. I look forward to following your adventures. You will probably have more luck with very grassroots, local home-based businesses for many things…depending on what area you live.

    • Cathitude (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

      @RW, according to their website, Timmy’s is no longer owned by Wendy’s and is fully Canadian-owned. HBC is selling some (not all) Zellers locations to Target. You’re spot on about the mittens, though!

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

    Best of luck!

    It’s an interesting idea and will probably be an eye-opener to those who are following the adventure.

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

    Looking forward to checking out new products you discover along the way – not as brave as you in going a whole year, but could up my Canadian content a little more. Good luck!

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

    I am looking forward to reading about your progress. I also try to buy Canadian and avoid anything made in China.

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

    This is fantastic. I can’t wait until you get to Music, Transportation, and Internet!

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

    Just heard you on CBC radio and love the idea! Here’s hoping you find toilet paper…

  11. Melanie (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Darren I just heard you on CBC’s All Points West, talking to Joanne about your project. I think it will be difficult. Not many products are produced from 100 percent Canadian sourced ingredients. I look forward to following your progress.

  12. Anna W. (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Just heard you on CBC :) I LOVE the idea and can’t wait to see how you make out every month. I look forward to finding some truely Canadian brands.

  13. Kerry (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    Very interesting…I’m looking forward to hearing about local sources and businesses as well as any handmade undertakings you decide is necessary.

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

    Hear about your project on CBC this evening. Will be interesting to hear of your adventures. All the best!

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

    Read about this project on Miss604. Very cool! Especially the accumulation of restrictions idea. Go Canada!

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

    Good luck, eh?

  17. Lucie (Reply) Posted on January 14, 2011

    A really interesting project: very cool! It also makes me questions where all my goods come from. I’m conscious about some things, such as food, but in other areas I’m completely oblivious. Looking forward to following your updates.

  18. Linda (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Quite an undertaking! I’ll be following your blog closely. I watched a CBC documentary a few years back that mentioned that companies can label a product as “Made in Canada” if at least 51% of the product costs are Canadian. An example was a jar of minced garlic…the garlic was from China but the bottling, labelling, and processing were done in Canada. Just some food for thought :)

  19. Tyler Ingram (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Read this over on Rebecca’s blog. Cool idea, and will be following along to see how far it can go!

    Btw love how you incorporated Tim Hortons the design ;)

  20. Anita (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    All the best in your endeavours, I am keenly interested to hear about your adventures along the way. We lived overseas for a few years, and since returning home we’ve been thinking more and more about how we can support, in various ways, our Canadian culture. Looking forward to hearing about all your insights.

  21. Dominick (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Wonderful idea!

  22. Marlana Ciraco (Reply) Posted on January 15, 2011

    Most of the times i visit a blog I see that the construction is poor and the writting bad. On the contrary,I have to say that you have done a good job here.

  23. Carol (Reply) Posted on January 16, 2011

    Interesting idea. I am keen on following your progress.

  24. Tim Ayres (Reply) Posted on January 16, 2011

    Hey Darren,

    I’m intrigued by your latest project and I look forward to reading about your experience. Great looking site, by the way! Can’t wait until December, it should be somewhat interesting to consume only Canadian Internet.

  25. Raia (Reply) Posted on January 16, 2011

    Very interesting concept, it will surely be an interesting read for the next year.

  26. Katherine (Reply) Posted on January 16, 2011

    I pride myself on being Canadian, yet I did not think of the possibility of consuming purely Canadian products/commodities. You are an inspiration and hopefully many people follow you in your endeavour to live in a “true Canadian” economy. Good luck to you!

  27. Carissa Kasper (Reply) Posted on January 16, 2011

    I’m looking forward to following your journey!

  28. Kevin (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

    I’ll be checking in regularly to see your progress!

  29. Sarah (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

    I am really looking forward to watching your progress and finding out more about Canadian businesses that I can support. I am glad you have a page on FB (which I liked!) so I can be reminded in multiple ways on how you are doing!

  30. Jennifer M. (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

    What a great idea! I wish you the best of luck.

  31. Amy W. (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

    Saw this on Twitter, good luck! I can’t wait to hear how your committment to only watching Canadian television goes…yikes!

  32. Chelsea Barr (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

    Saw your story on miss604, sounds really interesting. I sit on the “green” committee for our company and am passionate about being more “green” myself. I am hoping to learn about some great Canadian companies and even purchasing items more locally make a difference. Cool adventure, good luck!

  33. Barbara (Reply) Posted on January 17, 2011

    I think it will be many surprises and we’ll see many reputed Canadian Brands not supply by canadian suppliers… To follow on your blog!

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

    Best blog I’ve read aboot all day.
    I can’t beleaf you came up with such a unique idea.
    …atrocious puns aside, good luck!

  35. Natalie M (Reply) Posted on January 18, 2011

    Looks interesting! And potentially very difficult! Good luck!

  36. Heather (Reply) Posted on January 19, 2011

    I’m very intrigued by your project and look forward to following along.

    I’m following via RSS feed, by the way. It appears that you haven’t considered that many people will follow your exploits this way. It would help if you were to add an RSS button and set your site to produce full feeds. As it is, most of your posts come through in my feed reader without the images, which isn’t nearly as appealing. Just sayin’ …

  37. Janis La Couvée (Reply) Posted on January 19, 2011

    All the best Darren. What a challenge. Now following on Twitter and look forward to reading your updates.

    I live on Vancouver Island – apparently we only have enough food for 3 days if our transportation links go down. At one point (around World War II) almost all of our food was grown here.

    There is a cost to living in “The Best Place on Earth” but perhaps the tide is turning. Cynics will want to say that we cannot sustain our current population with local, home-grown initiatives but, in my opinion, every little step we take, collectively counts.

    Raising awareness, like you are doing, plays a crucial role in changing mindset.

    Thank you!

  38. Tara L. (Reply) Posted on January 19, 2011

    What an interesting idea you have for the blog here… I was sent by a friend and am very interested in your project. Thanks for the little giveaway – I follow you on Twitter and FB!

  39. Lindsay (Reply) Posted on January 20, 2011


    I heard about your project on the CBC and am excited to follow your progress in the coming months. I am in a sustainability class right now and have posted your website for other students to follow as well. Best of luck!

    P.S. instead of t.p. you could use home grown Canadian foliage :)

  40. Catherine (Reply) Posted on January 21, 2011

    I read about you in todays Calgary Herald and immediately logged on to your website. I think it’s a terrific “experiment”. It reminds me of “The Year of Living Biblically”, which was a great book…..and I look forward to reading your book, about your experiences.

    I take care of a family of 4 and I would love to reduce our footprint and have all of our purchases support local/Canadian companies, so I will regularly check in to the website to see how things are going for you.

    Good luck!!

  41. Daniel (Reply) Posted on January 21, 2011

    Non English-speaker here! ;)

  42. Daniel (Reply) Posted on January 21, 2011

    Ups, the last comment was entered with a wrong e-mail. Sorry!

    Could you delete it? Please. Thanks!

  43. B. Belerive (Reply) Posted on January 21, 2011

    MEC buys many of its goods from the human rights abusing state of Israel. I boycott MEC daily and recommend you do too in promotion of human rights and social justice worldwide.

  44. Julia (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Sounds like a cool project; I will bookmark your site and check in regularly. I don’t have a twitter account (and am going to resist getting one), so please don’t post the best stuff only there.

    Thanks for undertaking this challenge; looking forward to reading about it over the year.

  45. Cristina Capatina (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Just saw your story on CTV’s website – super intriguing, and thank you for taking action on what many of us have pondered about for some time. I look forward to reading about your experiences, and please don’t be afraid to dig even deeper on the issue of “what is really made in Canada” through “Canadian washing” (see CBC’s Marketplace on the topic, especially focusing on fish).

  46. Bob3rd1 (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    I will keep reading your blog site all year.
    Wish you much success.

  47. Tim Gould (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    It is so hard to really find only Canadian made products. At one time Zeller’s was supposed to be purely Canadian owned now, they state America owns the chain.
    Congrats and best of luck on your journey!!

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

    Hi Darren,

    I’m intrigued by your project and have passed it along to about 100 people via my discussion board for a class I am taking at U of T called “The Cool Culture Soul Machine”. We’ve been examining what it means to be Canadian and where we get our cultural identity from. I came across your blog while trying to brainstorm Canadian companies and goggled RIM, with your blog coming up as the second news result. I’m sure my classmates will all be as interested in your project as I am! I love your appropriation of the Tim Horton’s logo and am wondering if you are a coffee drinker.

  49. Jeff^0 (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011


    Herd your name twice in one week! I was going to check out your regular blog when I came across this one VIA Miss 604. What a great project! I’ll be following with great interest. I’m not just saying that to get the gift card either, but I want it.


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

    Thank you!
    I have been on my own mission for 5 years now, and it is great to see how many other respondents are just saying NO to products that come from away, and Yes to those made/grown/owned here in Canada. Are you starting to realize that you should have declared that you would live Canadian in a year, not for one, as the year will be long gone by the time you even get close.
    Please do something about the spreadsheets, in order to make the database more efficient as a quick reference. Information is one’s best friend when trying to live an authentically Canadian lifestyle. Think of the impact of Oprah’s Book List on the publishing industry. Perhaps a Rogue’s List of companies that actively deceive us would be nice.
    If we are willing to keep spending our money on products from away, no matter how convenient to purchase or difficult to substitute, then we can’t affect change. It’s the power of the purse, and deciding that you don’t actually need those Nikes/iPhones/frozen pizzas is a good place to start. Are they crying over the loss of my business? Not so much. Would they be crying if everyone else joined me? Absolutely.

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

    Tim’s lawyers are probably thinking about a copyright problem with you but what they SHOULD be doing is sending you doughnuts every day…

    Then you’d have to go on a Canadian diet in month 3.

    bon chance

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

    You should start a group of people doing this; have people join you from all over Canada. It would make the researching that much easier.

  53. Canadian Girl (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Great idea, Darren. I always try to “buy Canadian”, but don’t always know what’s available. Your site will definitely help with that problem. All the best!

  54. Terrie (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    good luck with the project I look forward to your findings

  55. Claude Desgagne (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Excellent idea! This past Christmas, I just happened to notice that every single toy under our tree was made in… you guessed it… China, except for one (unfortunately I can’t remember which one it was). SInce then, I have vowed to make a conscientious effort to look at where everything is made before I buy it, and perhaps, if possible try to buy Canadian.

    Best of luck! We will be following you closely.


  56. Penny Simpson (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    This is such a worthwhile try. I will be glad to follow how you do. I have just been checking out Purex TP for you. As an ab out-to-be-retiree, I am going to try to maximize my local and Canadian food, just for the ingtellectual stimulus!

  57. Jodie (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    Hi Darren! I am so inspired by your choice to live only on Canadian goods this year. I run a Vancouver based website that compiles and displays specials on organic, natural, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc foods. I include where the item was “made” and I have also discovered how difficult it can be to get accurate information from manufacturers.

    I don’t know where you live, but until March 11, Stongs on Dunbar is doing a promotion that highlights products made in Canada and/or with Canadian ingredients.

    If you are looking to save a few dollars in your venture, you can always check out my site at

    Looking forward to more posts! :)

  58. loonietoons (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    I look forward to following your journey. Am interested in how your product research will help me with me consumer needs. Thank you

  59. Linda (Reply) Posted on January 23, 2011

    I think that is very interesting what your doing, i will keep reading, your a inspiration. Good Luck.

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  61. Gina (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Dear Darren,

    I am very happy to read about your endever. My family and I have been living “Canadian Friendly” now for 10 years. It get very easy after the first year. Our rules are simple, Canadian first then North American and lastly (if we really require it) from a respectable area. Our furniture is all canadian made from Canadian materials, as are our floors. I cook and bake with only Ontario/Canadian products (often from our own garden). Clothes are easy to find. The only person who has a hard time with our family policy is my husband, who loves electronic stuff. However, he only buys from “Canada Computer” who is a Canadian company (well better than nothing I guess, LOL).

    Please feel free to contact me if you are in need of any resource info.
    Good luck and well done!

  62. jim hill (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Hey Darren…,good luck with this! I`ve been trying to buy locally based products/foods etc. on the 100 mile diet concept here in prince george, going to local farmers markets etc., but i think i`ll go the next level after reading of your project. I watch labels in stores/supermarkets and try to buy “made in canada only”..but i always thought it would be impossible to find the gold star products you speak of because there are bound to be at least one toxic chemical or questionable ingrediant that is imported from who knows…but hearing of your project gives me hope that, hey, maybe we can find goldstar products in canada…again, best of luck Darren

  63. Julie Szabo (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    This is amazing, born and raised in Montreal, I have also married a man who is focused on being self-sufficient and consuming products which are locally available….we grow many of our own vegetable, support local farmers and use many organic household product. Great initiative! I just had a bowl of granola cereal from La Fourmi Bionique, started and owned by two local business women. Good luck, look forward to following your quest. Julie Szabo (Darby by marriage)

  64. Pat (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Very interested in your journey. I always try to buy Canadian, but it is very difficult. Can’t wait until you try and find Canadian fish. It was an eye opener for us!!

  65. Deryck (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Great journey! I try, but it’s getting more difficult; not impossible, but certainly hard. Keep up the great work.

    Peterborough, ON

    ps eat Quaker stuff from Peterborough for breakfast!

  66. deemc (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    What a great idea. We are always trying to Canadian. I look forward to seeing what you find. Thank you

  67. Rick Newcombe (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Great idea! I’ve been living this way…as much as possible for some time now. Best of luck Darren!

  68. Mark (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Thank you for doing this Darren! You have my support and best wishes for a hugely successful year :)

  69. Andrea (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    What a cool idea! It’ll be interesting to follow your story throughout the year. Good luck!

  70. Andre (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Kudos to you Mr. Barefoot!

    I typically don’t follow blogs; however, after seeing your story on CTV, I was quite intrigued and interested. As many others have expressed, I too, am keen to follow your journey because (admittedly like others) I am too lazy, disorganized or non-commital about doing this myself.

    I would have to say one thing, though – I am not a big fan of your spoofed logo.

    Best of luck and looking forward to following along, as I am certain to learn a great deal from it.

    p.s. With regards to clothing, will that include footwear… would hate to have to resort to keeping them bare!

  71. Brenda (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Darren, What a refreshing idea and good luck with this journey. I live very close to the U.S. border and I’m surrounded by people who skip over the river to buy everything from groceries to gas to clothes to cars – and I can’t stand it! I am known within my school as the one who will do anything in the name of supporting Canadians and being loudly patriotic. I teach small children so I feel the need to get them on board at a young age! I was absolutely thrilled to hear of your project and can’t wait to hear about all the products you end up using. Way to go! You have inspired me even more – and I’ll certianly be taking your story to work with me!

  72. Andy Kass (Reply) Posted on January 24, 2011

    Like the others, I’m here for the cash (if there’s one thing you know, it’s website marketing). I’m from south of your border, but hey, Canadian Dollars are worth more these days. Just one question: MEC, is that how you say REI up north?

    I like the whole idea, and obviously, it’s getting good traction from others as well. Just one gripe: your lede says “For 12 months, I will only buy Canadian products, eat Canadian food and consume Canadian media,” but then you disprove that in the very next paragraph. To be honest: “Over 12 months, you will gradually replace most of your consumption with Canadian products.” At the end, you will be ready to start a year of only buying Canadian.

  73. Mel (Reply) Posted on January 25, 2011

    Great idea you have here! I’m glad you found Prairie Naturals – truly fantastic products. I use Nellie’s Naturals for laundry detergent, based in North Vancouver, BC. Their dryer balls are fantastic. I hope they make it on your list as well.

    Also, don’t forget to include Vega nutritional products ( for optimum health based in Port Coquitlam BC and created by our very own Canadian super triathlete, Brendan Brazier.

    That’s all I have to add for now. I’ll go ahead and “like” your fb page :)

  74. Jeff (Reply) Posted on January 25, 2011

    Wishing you the best success. My seven year old son, just commented that it seemed to him that eveything was made in China. Good Luck and keep hunting.

    Jeff & Cam

  75. chris o (Reply) Posted on January 25, 2011

    Looking forward to seeing how the project goes Darren!

  76. Angela (Reply) Posted on January 25, 2011


    What a fantastic project to embark upon. Very few true Canadians strive to seek out Canadian-made and sourced products… most of our basic needs can be satisfied with Canadian-made or even locally-made products with effort, and of course price.
    It is our constant effort to entirely furnish our home with Canadian made and soruced (yes, we have trees here in this country…!) furnishings; the extra cost is worth it, and the pieces will most certainly last longer!

    What a great effort on your part – we look forward to learning more about what is available in our great land in your forthcoming newsletters!

  77. Catherine, QC (Reply) Posted on January 27, 2011

    I’m really excited to follow this project as it unfolds! I’m making this year the year I switch to natural skin products. With this resource I’ll be sure my new choice of products are canadian too! Your spreadsheet has already helped!
    Also, I like the way you lay out your schedual… the efforts you’re starting with have the potential to have the greatest impact on the environement and economy.
    Travel and music should be fun… so much great stuff to explore there!!

  78. David P (Reply) Posted on January 28, 2011

    Good luck – I look forward to reading your blog. I think this is a great idea.

  79. Sandee (Reply) Posted on January 29, 2011

    really excited to follow your blog and tweets. best of luck!

  80. Frank Wayne Mottl (Reply) Posted on January 31, 2011

    Hi Darren,
    I think this is an awesome idea. Just think if everyone in Canada bought 100% Canadian. It would have a great impact on our economy and our national pride.

  81. Ric (Reply) Posted on January 31, 2011

    I was going to post to this blog, but I saw so many posts on here that I felt I didnt have a chance to win anything. So I decided against it. Oh well, better luck next time. LOL

  82. Anita (Reply) Posted on January 31, 2011

    I too always try to buy as much canadian as I can find….think it helps promote jobs for canadians…

  83. Kye Grace (Reply) Posted on January 31, 2011

    This will be very cool to watch Darren. It’ll be interesting to see what items are hardest to source from a Canadian producer. I am also very curious to see what your cost differences will be.

    Good luck and I will keeping a close eye on your journey!

  84. [...] As regular readers know, there will be a contest each month on Last month I gave away an MEC gift card. [...]

  85. Mick (Reply) Posted on March 8, 2011

    You realize that Canada’s economy relys heavily on EXPORTING resources? Don’t you think its a little hypocritical not to buy products from a country we export to?

    People in developing countries need jobs too, why not buy products from them?