A chain of supermarkets found in western canada. I think IGA stands for Island Grocers Association, but in elementary school we always liked to imagine it meant International Garbage Association. Their prices are lower than Safeway, but still more expensive that most other grocery stores. Their produce is pretty good and they have nifty produce information booklets with cooking suggestions. The rest of their selection is perhaps not as broad as it could be, but they often surprise me with unusual items in stock, like tofulati and the brand of salad dressing I like which is impossible to buy anywhere. IGAs are all locally owned, they say. They don't have in-store pharmacies, and in some bizarre draconian policy, it's damned hard to find an IGA that sells condoms, though they all seem to have 8 different brands of shoe dye. Sigh.

Also an worldwide chain, where IGA stands for Independant Grocers Association. They have their own brand, and their slogan is "Hometown Proud". Also, they have the advantage over the Island Grocers Association, in that they sell condoms. I should know, I work at one!

The U.S. IGA web site says they have a "fraternal relationship" with the Canadian IGA. I don't know if that means they get together at the supermarket reunions and punch each other in the arm, or if they're eyeing each other with suspicion from across the border, or what.

Since it is, as the name implies, an association of independent grocers, each IGA store is unique, and may be anything from a gigantic modern supermarket in the suburbs to an old brick general store on Main Street.

Some of their stores used to go by the moniker "IGA Foodliner," spelled out on the facade with each letter painted in red on its own individual white rectangle. Whether that was supposed to mean that the stores were the size of an ocean liner, or that the interiors were lined with food, no one can say.

I have in my collection a radio jingle for IGA from the early 1970s:

We invite you
To your neighborhood IGA
It's easy shopping, friendly IGA
Where else but IGA?
IGA, ooh-ooh-ooh

That pretty much says it all.


Iga was one of the 68 Ancient Japanese Provinces. Comprising much of modern-day Mie prefecture, it bordered the former provinces of Ise, Omi, Yamato, and Yamashiro. Iga is perhaps best known as the mountainous stronghold of Japan's most famous ninja clan, the Iga Ryu, and was also the birthplace of Japan's most famous poet, haiku master Matsuo Basho.

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