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This website was created in order to provide a personal glimpse into the town of Alliston, located in southern Simcoe County in Southern Ontario. Commonly called "the potato capital of Ontario", Alliston boasts acres of fertile farm land and most recently, the home of Honda Canada Manufacturing. Its not just a small town on Highway 89 anymore...

Introducing, the Starship Zehrs!
Zehrs has undergone extensive changes since I last reported on the long and shortcomings of this grocery store. A quick catch-up has Zehrs originally located on the south west corner of Hwy 89 "and the Dairy Queen road" where we now see Dominos Pizza and various other places in which to spend your hard earned $$'s. TSC, now located on Hwy 89 west of town, moved into the former Zehrs location, seeing the grocery store taking up shop directly across the road where it now stands. Some familiar faces from Zehrs early days are still found walking the aisles of the "Starship Zehrs", and is the only "soothing" part of this now longwinded paragraph.

The grocery store battle, in my most humble opinion, has led our friendly, folksy, down-home, pot-o-porridge, colorful, farmsy Zehrs... ASTRAY! Yes, Captain Kirk would feel more at home in the now clinical appearing grocery store. There is something very "UN-warm" when you enter the store now... be it the chrome and white, lowered shelves, or the gatekeepers booth that houses the resident florist. I mean seriously, I miss the rusty shelves that usually had someone's half eaten lunch crammed towards the back. Even the smell of fish is gone... what good is that? Don't even start me on the lobster tank debacle. Set them free, damnit! Does anyone really buy whole fish with the heads still on? Does anybody even eat fish that isn't guaranteed dolphin free and mashed to small bits so that it no longer resembles a sea creature? I'd hate to be in the store when the new shipment of fresh tuna or crab arrives simply because there is no place for the Cornelia Marie to dock and unload. God love you Captain Phil. See why the Alliston north area switched from tobacco to potatoes? Yeah, you thought they were nuts "back-in-the-day" .... but nobody ever died from smoking a spud. The leaves perhaps... but not an earthly "buh-day-duh"....

In closing, Zehrs as it stands now is just a shadow of its former self. I miss the veil of darkness from overhead, the smell of dead fish and the re-frozen freezer goods that melted overnight during the power-down. And for pete's sake, fix the self-scan checkouts so that they work... when they're actually turned on.

Next edition: Sobeys... same convenient size.... same sad faces within its walls....

Q&A's to the Editor:

Q. Do you cover the Potato Festival or the Parade?
A. No, I have not attended a potato parade (or at least admit it), since they flew crop dusters down the main street in the late 70's. If there's no possibility of carnage or destruction, I just stay away.

Q. Who ARE you Life In Alliston people?
A. Who are YOU? But seriously, why does it matter? You're here. You're reading. You're caring. What'zit matter?

Q. Should I move to Alliston?
A. Why not... it beats Keswick or Randwick.

Q. Do you like anything at all about Alliston?
A. Hell yeah I do, why do you think this site even exists? Its not called "Life in Bangkok" or "Life in Poughkeepsie"... I mean seriously... what the hell.... whats NOT to like about Alliston? Even though you can't buy a fresh potato to save your life, Alliston IS the place to be... for me anyway.

Q. Is Honda going to lay off people or shut down?
A. Not from my "sources"... I think if it was going to happen, it would have happened when the global economy went for a dump. Besides, its Alliston that put Honda on the map... or so the saying used to go.

STATUS REPORT - Fish on-a-stick

Earl Rowe Park located just on the outskirts of town greets vacationers and locals alike every year for recreation and camping. One sign that spring is near, other than the robins and fast food litter reappearing on the roadsides after the thaw, is the big FISH that adorns the entrance way of the park. Todays status is: FISH PRESENT

Deep, Burning Questions

Why is the corner of Zehrs parking lot still vacant after they bulldozed the Car Wash and auto body shop? The vacant abyss does not look better! What gives?

Has anyone actually bought a Dominoes Pizza yet?

The original Hunter Motors "on the corner" that is now nothing but a vacant lot looks like they cancelled the noxious weed act. Cut the damn ragweed down! Make the town look lived in, not abandoned! Build a new Dairy Queen or a Piggly Wiggly there!

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Where We Eat Now Boss?

It saddens me to see that John Noodle no longer is open. I do have a theory, however, as to why it was so short-lived. By now, you've all seen the new Shoeless Joe's in the new plaza on 89 west. Although I've not been in there, I believe it is now open for business. Good luck if you have a meal there and please let me know how it is. There is also Crabby Joe's, located almost across the highway and has been in existence now for a couple of years. Again, that's another place I've never had the privilege to dine in so I won't say anything to sway you in one direction or another to check it out for yourself.

Why am I rambling? Back to my theory: If John Noodle had the foresight to spend a little more on his signage and buy and apostrophe and an "s", the place would have been called John's Noodle... not JOHN Noodle. Follow the example of the two Joe's in town... the Shoeless one and the Crabby one. They both followed advertising grammatical etiquette (I just made that up now... 8-)... and pluralized their names. If John Noodle was actually JOHN'S NOODLE... I do believe it would be standing room only. And I did eat there once and in all honesty, it was a tremendous feast! Perhaps if Shoeless Joe's and Crabby Joe's took up a collection for John and bought him some pluralization, John wouldn't be scrubbing floors in downtown Concord now. Think about it. We can take this even further and instead of having all these restaurants all over town, combine them so that they are one: "Shoeless Crabby Joe's John" .... not sure what they'd serve, but I'm sure you'd need some sort of protection even if going for appetizers.

RIP John Noodle. And the reason John Noodle came to exist was because of the curse of the location; nobody has stayed there too long in recent memory. The last attempt at this location was the "Diner" with the 50's-kinda appearance and all the tin advertising signs. There was one fatal mistake made with this one so listen very closely to anyone wanting to start a business: do not, I repeat, DO NOT.... paint a billboard sized mural of the Three Stooges on your wall! Everyone knows that women inherently detest The Three Stooges, so why would they want to dine in an establishment with their likeness glaring at them the whole time?

Its pretty simple, when you break it all down.

Other Places And Their Potato Ranking

Sunset Grill

Canadian Tire Hot Dog Wagon
McDonalds - Walmart
McDonalds - West End
Dorland Campaign Headquarters

Without question, the Sunset Grill is a most welcome establishment in the community. Food galore, and GOOD food! Who wouldn't want breakfast at noon? Even though they close mid-afternoon, who needs supper after a breakfast or lunch at the Sunset Grill? A good chain regardless of its location across the province. A warning: DO NOT GO UNLESS YOU ARE VERY HUNGRY 8-)

The Canadian Tire Hot Dog Wagon as its pumping its hotdog smell into the air, could make a cadaver drool. Whats with hot dog carts anyway? They almost go against all we were taught to believe in when it comes to fine dining, but treat yourself and believe me, its worth it!

The McDonalds at Walmart still seems to be a little rusty at times. Early morning Egg McMuffins either take 10 minutes to go squeeze a chicken and "break an egg" as they describe it instore, or the McMuffin is already made, yet cold. The odd smile wouldn't hurt as you get your "HAPPY meal" handed off to you. Humpfh..... Sorry to actually want a bag to carry it all home in as well...

Harveys. I thought it was a good idea until I decided one afternoon I'd throw some money their way. I pulled around to what still looks like a place under construction, only to find the cook, the guy who runs the till and a couple of girls feeding fries to a flock of a dozen or so seagulls. I mean seriously. I don't want to have my food cooked by the guy who was just touching the beak of an ocean faring albatross just minutes before. And besides, doesn't that just encourage the birds to hang around and crap on peoples roofs and hoods of their cars?

Sinbads. Bandanas, tatoos and all, still bar none the best fish & chips worldwide!

McDonalds West End. The renovation of what was once a place teeming with freakish clown art was an act of kindness to all who step through their doors. A crackling fireplace.... strategically placed televisions.... nice hidey-hole places to sit and enjoy the ambience.... aaaaaaaahhhh so lovely. No wonder Gary Dorland hangs out there now instead of Tim Hortons. Free coffee refills. No screaming brats. Gentle lighting.... All thats missing is a piano bar and lounge singer!

Dorland Campaign Headquarters: please refer to McDonalds West End writeup. Thank you.

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Walmart Expose

First off, Walmart is the place to find Mr. Polka. Yes folks, its true and my crack-spy photographer grabbed this shot one brilliant sunny morning at the Alliston Walmart - isn't that just a sight to behold? I've been in the store several times, just trying to imagine who this famous individual might be and I have it narrowed down to one of the two male greeters. I am waiting for the final hint, and that'll happen when he meets me at the door one day wearing lederhosen, a green felt cap with a feather and smells like an accordion. THAT'S when you know you've become famous, like Mr. Polka must be! Use your nose and sniff around for a squeezebox... yeah, that's the ticket! No wonder daddy can't sleep at night....

Anyway, once you get past the fact that Walmart has a polka department, you will discover the most delightful greeters and checkout clerks on the planet, truly. How can you not love a white haired, sweet smelling woman that looks like she should be presenting you with a tray of cookies, your favorite blanket and a warm hug... come on people! Once past the greeter du jour, an ocean of opportunity lays in front of you. I mean, did you check out the Halloween section alone over the past few weeks? You could outfit a Broadway version of Dracula, The Munsters, Princess Goonfish and Pirates of Penzance from the goods in one aisle alone! The pet department sells everything but pets... the pharmacy section can not only give you a clean shave, but erase ugly varicose veins, restart your heart and give you a back rub! Check out the electronics section and you could recreate Bay Street in your own home! Food? You want food? Excellent bakery, excellent produce and enough of a variety of oddball brands the other stores don't have to make you think you're shopping in Windsor.

The thing about Walmart is, if they don't have what you're looking for, chances are they have all the stuff needed to make it. Thats the kind of store I want. Then to end your voyage through the store, you can evacuate your bowels in their nice restrooms and then fill'em up again at the instore McDonalds. How can you beat that?

This store opens at 7am !! Thats EARLY! Earlybird shoppers LOVE this place especially since half the stores in town (more like 90%), don't open until 9 or 10 am! Now Zehrs decided to open early to compete with the 24 hour Sobeys and the early rising Walmart. Now THAT'S a forward thinking quality move right there!

So what's with the controversy of Walmart shutting down the main streets of all the small towns across Canada and the US? Who knows, they're usually all closed until someone rolls out of bed and shuffles around to find their keys, wipe the drool off their faces and unlock the doors. No wonder Mr. Polka sought refuge at the east end of town as the pillars of Walmart began to rise in what was once a field of crops. Walmart came calling with lower prices and actually opened their stores with hours that can make everyone happy, unlike the "by chance or by appointment" mentality of other places. Chances are they sucked anyway.

Welcome to Alliston Walmart!

Slash those prices and ring my bell baby! May your happy smiling face long outlast those who feel they are owed a customer!


And What The Hell is With This?


As seen everywhere in Alliston. What happens when it rains? When it snows?

More Eye Candy  
Is it really good to call a place that gives your body a workout, SNAP? .... ouch
I have an observation: either people need to have more garage sales, there needs to be more drop boxes, garbage day should be more than one day a week... or people need to stop buying crap!
It's so sad.... this is the "before" picture
Oh yeah, people just couldn't wait to lease all these units. Look how full the place is! And by the way, what happened to STARBUCKS and QUIZNO's? What a scam...
One of the few places that actually had the fortitude to go ahead and open. The butcher shop is another. But why OH WHY do stores think they don't need to open until 9 or 10 am?
Scientific American had a great story on the worlds biggest potato if you're interested. I personally think it looks like some sort of garden gnome from Chernobyl but hey, thats just me. Read about this amazing find here (don't worry, this isn't some sort of spammy bastardized link) A new window will open so don't be alarmed.

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