Just this recent summer, I met up with a childhood friend who has returned to Canada. With her mom, she came and settled in the GTA to complete her high school education and hopefully pursue higher-education upon graduation. I spent several weekends with her, helping her get acquainted with her surroundings and to my surprize, she’s doing quite well. Her aptitude in English is superb, so communication here is not an issue for her. Plus, let’s face it – if you live in the GTA, you could probably get by without knowing English, Cantonese or Mandarin would do fine. She even told me that based on school statistics, 95% of her school is Asian and 80% of those are Chinese, accounting for very little language-barrier while at school, other than the need to listen and communicate in English for lessons and class.
But anyways, onto the main point of the story is that for newcomers from Hong Kong or other parts of Asia, it’s a shocker to have to deal with completely different feminine hygiene options. You may think, “Holy, such a big deal over having to buy local pads and tampons?” – but it really is, because feminine hygiene options are integral to peace-of-mind and well-being for most women on a monthly basis. Although I have known this friend for a long time, she had moved back to Hong Kong for many years, therefore, we have not had the close-contact that most of my girls do. With that in mind, she also was unaware of my openness towards menstruation and shopping for feminine hygiene. After breaking the ice a few times of hanging out, we went shopping and I could tell she was keenly checking out the pad/tampon aisle out the corner of her eyes while we were picking up shampoo. It was a whole new world for her – with brands unknown to her or even for recognizable brands, the types, lengths, terminology – and how they work was all different. However, with a male presence, she dare not wander into the aisle. I casually mentioned, “Hey, let’s go down each aisle and we buy what you need” as I tried to encourage her to get products that were useful, regardless of what they were. She eyed the aisle at the end so I took charge and led the way, showing that I was totally ok with her shopping for pads and tampons. I casually wandered off to the side, as I think for a girl who doesn’t know me very well didn’t want me to look over her shoulder as she browsed. I didn’t want to express discomfort though, as I’m sure we all know I lack discomfort towards menstruation (lol) – but more out of respect for her comfort instead.
After a while, she wandered over to me and shyly said, “thank you” – it was cute and she’s a really nice girl. We’ve known each other for so long, but we rarely get to connect because of distance and because the age gap is rather large – 10 years to be exact. However, her hands and basket were empty because she didn’t know what the right things were to use. She asked me if there was anywhere she could buy pads found in Hong Kong and other than T&T (which has limited of choices available at outrageous prices like $10+) and a place in Mississauga, I didn’t have that many other options for her (and we were all the way out in Markham). I do know with the Asian population in the GTA and with so many Asian marts, there are bound to be places that sell them, but where can we find a place where stocking up won’t break the bank? She’s here as a student, so in the form of income, there’s no much… so she’s very good when it comes to spending wisely. We shopped around the area, looking for places that had pads from Asia to begin with, let alone good prices.
Finally, we fell upon a place called “Foody” – a well known (apparently) Chinese supermarket with an assortment of foods and household items, but also, sanitary pads from Asia! I’m not affiliated with Foody in any way, other than a happy customer for providing us with what we wanted at reasonable prices. The supermarket is located at:
豐泰超市Hwy 7 分店 (Foodymart Hwy 7 Branch)
5221 Hwy 7, Markham ON
Hwy 7 夾 McCowan 西南角 (Intersection of Hwy 7 and McCowan Southwest corner)
電話：905-305-9866 (Telephone Number)
I suppose when this “street view” shot was taken, that it wasn’t even built yet. However, it’s in the plaza across from Marksville Mall. Speaking of being in Markham lately, I really miss my ex… after a bit of a scheduling mishap, she’s gotten really pissed off at me (pissed off enough where she didn’t even reply to my birthday wishes to her) and it’s sad. I didn’t hold on to her in hopes I’d be able to win her back one day, but she was a really nice friend to have. I guess perhaps with some time and fate, we may cross-paths again later on in life – because we all know, the world is small. From what I heard, there’s never a “low-traffic” time at Foody, it’s ALWAYS busy… day or night, weekday or weekend. When I was at the parking lot there, it took me 10 minutes to find a spot and it was at like the farthest corner of the parking lot ever.
If you’re new to Canada, live in the GTA area and want to find napkins that you use “back at home” – you can probably find them here. I have to remind you that with any imported item, you can expect a higher cost (especially as compared to buying them local back at home), but it is at least within REASON.
You can get a variety of Laurier Night-Use pads for $7.99, ranging from 12-20 pieces each.
Sofy Body Fit for $4.99 which were completely sold out.
Whisper Day-Use pads for $5.99 for 22 + 2 (24 total) pieces.
Center-IN 25cm Day-Use pads for $7.99 double-packs of 20ea (40 total).
And of course local pads ranging from $3.99 to $5.99 by Always.
You can also get imported Stayfree and Kotex, as you can see, they’re very different than Canadian packaging for these pads but unfortunately the bright lighting caused the price tag to be unreadable and I couldn’t remember how much they were (and consequently, everything along the top shelf). There is also a 400-size (40cm) Elis Night-Use pad which sounds like it can absorb an entire period worth of flow!
Center-IN 21cm Day-Use pads for $7.99 double-packs of 28ea (56 total).
Center-IN 30cm Night-Use pads for $4.99 double-packs of 11ea (22 total).
Laurier Day-Use maxi pads for $4.99 for 32 (64 total) pieces.
You can click on the pictures for a larger view, but as it was taken with phone camera the resolution is not the best. Anyways, if you’ve been searching for a reasonably priced and assortment of Asian and non-Asian sanitary napkins, you can find them here! I’m sure once one of my girls come back from her trip, we’ll be hitting this place up to run some tests on them. For sure I already eyed a few that I know won’t let us down. Maybe if this recently-arrived friend of mine ever shows enough comfort, I’ll see how open she is about this! If you know of any more places, feel free to let me know! Better yet, if you have an online resource willing to sell to Canada and ship here at reasonable prices, DEFINITELY let me know! 🙂
Of course if this friend was close enough to me, I’d probably tease her that this would’ve never been a problem if she used a menstrual cup or cloth-pads, but I doubt I could pull saying that without making her feel all weird, lol… in time, in time 😆