Can the Metro-Loblaws toss up be solved once and for all?

School has started and students that don’t have meal plans will begin to do their grocery shopping. The most popular places to go (and the stores closest to campus) are the Metro and Loblaws on Rideau. But which one’s better?

Location

Loblaws is found near Friel Street on Rideau Street, about a 14-minute walk from the University Centre. Whereas Metro is 11 minutes away, closer to Cumberland Avenue. So in terms of distance, Metro is slightly closer. However, fun fact: the Loblaws is found just a little ways past the LCBO on Rideau, so if you need to do a different kind of shopping, then Loblaws may be more convenient for you.

Deals

Loblaws and Metro both have student discount days on Tuesdays and Thursdays where students get 10 per cent off their purchases on food. Loblaws also has the optimum rewards card, in which you get points and deals weekly for both Loblaws and Shoppers. It also has a new service where you can now shop online and then go in store to pick up your groceries if you are running late. Metro does not have a reward system at this point.

Price

If you can find the deals, Metro can be a bit cheaper, however Loblaws has been known to be cheaper over all. They seem to have more deals weekly, and by using the rewards system you can get some out of budget foods for budget-friendly prices.

Parking

For those of you who drive, both have parking available. Metro has a parking lot above ground. Whereas Loblaws has an underground parking lot where you are given a card that needs to be stamped at checkout in order to park for free.

Availability

The two stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Safety

For those students who aren’t aware, Rideau Street can be a scary place and a lot of interesting and stressful events—raccoon fights, anyone?—tend to take place there. But students need to get food, so which of the two grocery stores are less likely to leave you with an adrenaline rush?

Now, it’s impossible to deem which one is less likely to have a disturbance. However; when I’m down on Rideau, there always seems to be more happening outside of the Metro than at Loblaws. This might be due to the  people loitering in the parking lot for long periods of time. Loblaws, due to the underground parking, tends to have not as much room for people to group and hang out.

Limiting your shopping to daytime hours does make a pretty big difference with either store. While at night time it can get a bit rowdier on Rideau Street, with its proximity to ByWard Market bars, daytime shopping tends to be a lot quieter.

The verdict

Personally? I have an optimum card so I tend to only shop at Loblaws. It feels safer for me and I find the deals tend to be more frequent. But when all is said and done, everyone’s different—I’ll leave it up to you to decide.