2020 has been a year that will go down in history books. It will be remembered as the year our world was turned upside down and halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly, we will remember this year. The bad and the ugly. But what about the good? What about the silver linings?
It’s December, and as we bid adieu to 2020, let’s leave it in our rear view mirrors with just that—a silver lining by supporting local.
As we gear up for the holidays, let’s remember the Canadian entrepreneurs and creatives who are the foundation of our communities.
This year more than ever, as small businesses, freelancers, and sole traders struggle with the fall-out of COVID-19, it’s important to shop and consume local.
As a Canadian, I have often taken for granted the incredible adventures that lay within our borders. This year, exploring local was integral in not only embracing and appreciating our beautiful country, but helping to generate some much needed traffic back into our hard-hit tourism industry.
If you have a travel lover on your gift list, consider gifting them a local stay at a cottage or lodge.
Kawartha Lakes, OntarioGive the gift of getting away with a cottage weekend at Away Cottage, located in the beautiful Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario.
This cabin in the woods is the perfect retreat for those looking to recenter themselves and get out of the city.
Perhaps a mother-daughter trip? A romantic weekend away?
Whatever the occasion, who wouldn’t love a little escape?
Whistler, British ColumbiaGot an outdoorsy individual in your life? Get them a few nights stay at Blackcomb Springs. Nestled mountainside off Blackcomb Mountain, these lodge inspired suites are the perfect, most cozy place to unwind after a day of exploring Whistler. Whether ski season or hiking, there are activities year round to enjoy.
B.C.’s Great Bear RainforestAlthough closed for the season in 2020, Spirit Bear Lodge, tucked away in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, will open its doors again in 2021 to Canadian residents. Start dreaming—and planning—for the rare chance to explore the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world in the company of its traditional stewards, members of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. On land, and by sea, discover a breathtaking natural world, teeming with grizzlies, spirit bears (a snowy white rare, genetic variation of the black bear), orcas, humpback whales and white-sided dolphins.
Sleep soundly in a stunning waterfront lodge, enjoy delicious sustainable Indigenous-influenced cuisine, learn about the fascinating history and thriving Culture of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais People and make unforgettable memories beneath the canopy of the towering forests, dramatic waterfalls and lush estuaries of this special place. All-inclusive packages start at $3,550.00 and include flights from Vancouver to Bella Bella, ground and water transfers, meals and snacks, B.C. beers and wines, and ocean front rooms with private bathroom.
SUPPORTING CANADA’S INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES:
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), has sourced unique Indigenous-made arts, crafts, fashions and treats, perfect for gifting this season.
From delicious spices and syrups, to intricate carvings and paintings, Indigenous artisans weave their Cultural traditions with modern inspiration to create high-quality and striking goods.
No matter your budget or taste, there’s an Indigenous-designed creation that’s a perfect treat for your loved ones.
Maple Syrup Taster Bundle Set, Wabanaki Maple
Tobique First Nation, New BrunswickYou can never go wrong when gifting maple syrup. Wabanaki’s taster bundle includes three bottles of their signature flavours. All barrel-aged, this set comprises of Bourbon, Whiskey and Toasted Oak maple syrup.
Tiger Chocolate Bark, Mr. Bannock Indigenous Cuisine
Squamish, North Vancouver
Bring home a fusion taste of the Coast Salish Cuisine (as seen in the National Geographic, Buzzfeed Tasty and VICE). Chef- created, conveniently packaged, made with quality ingredients, this tiger chocolate bark is inspired by a recipe of Mrs. Bannock.
Made with sunflower butter white chocolate, Belgian dark chocolate, crushed walnuts and sun-dried cherries, the tiger chocolate bark is highly recommended by chef Natrall and family.
Northern Delights, Délice Boréal
Northern Delights Herbal Teas are a way for the Inuit of Nunavik to share a part of their Traditions with you. They begin by picking only the finest plants, then clean and dry them by hand, then ship to Montréal where they are artfully blended with other herbs and spices to create a rich and truly memorable flavour. There are five varieties to choose from.
Purchase the Wooden Gift Box to explore all of the creations that Northern Delights has to offer! This assortment of 35 teas (7 of each blend) takes you on a journey through Nunavik.
La Scorbut, Les Épices du Guerrier
Wendake, QuebecIndigenous owned and 100% natural, Les Épices du Guerrier offers a traditional blend of Wendat spices.
La Scorbut is a sauce made from jalapeno peppers, fresh limes and pure Quebec maple syrup. Emulsified with olive oil, it makes a delicious and spicy alternative to a traditional balsamic vinegar.
Wine, Indigenous World Winery
West Kelowna, British Columbia
Indigenous World Winery is a world-class winery that sells award-winning wine on the traditional, unceded territory of the Okanagan Syilx People. The concept for Indigenous World Winery emerged as a way for owner Robert Louie, and his wife Bernice, descendants of the Syilx People, to combine the unique terroir of the Okanagan valley with the Indigenous people’s stewardship of these lands.
When you taste an Indigenous World wine, you are tasting fruit from the land that has supported the Syilx People for over 10,000 years.
Is there someone special in your life who’s feet are always cold? Custom order them a pair of Hopeboots from Quebec’s Atikuss boutique. Snugly clad in hand-stitched mukluks, feet will be kept warm throughout the entire winter season.
The Hopeboots project was launched by Innu businesswoman Josée Leblanc, with the goal of enabling Indigenous women to make a decent living from their skills and labour, after she discovered that many Indigenous artisans rarely earned more than $4 an hour.
Boots start from $1195; choose from four basic models then customize with different styles of beading, colours, and types of sustainably sourced fur trim.
Each pair ordered doesn’t just help to financially support Indigenous creators, it also helps reconnect them with their Culture. Timeless, trendy, and truly unique.
Fur Warmers, Aurora Heat
Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada
Aurora Heat products are the sustainable choice for comfortable warmth year after year. Natural and reusable, they are hand-made by Indigenous fur artisans in Fort Smith.
Sourced from the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program, all fur is wild and not farmed or ranched, meeting and exceeding strict standards under International Trade Regulations.
Hand-Painted Paddle, Onquata
Wendake, QuebecBorn from the inspiration of Lise and Lara, a Wendat mother-daughter duo, the Onquata company is renowned for its hand-painted paddles inspired by First Nations Culture.
Handmade in Wendake, each paddle is custom hand-painted and made to order. Paddles can be purely decorative and are available in different formats, but they also retain their traditional purpose and can be adapted for use on the water.
Photo Shoots with Local Photographers
Have an influencer or small business owner in your life? Get a gift card for them to a photo shoot. Getting professional shots are so essential for business owners and influencers. This gift will be both fun and functional for them!
- Isabella Villani Photo: Isabella Villani is a Toronto-based photographer who specializes in brand, product and portrait photography.
More than that, with every kit purchased, Queen Street Bakery is donating a bag of their Superfood Baking Flour to a Toronto food bank. Feel good gifting.
Virtual Book & Wine Club
Buy a box of wine from your favourite Canadian winery. Gift your friends a bottle of vino along with a book from Book City. In a card, invite them to a Book & Wine Club night over Zoom.
Breakfast in Bed. Check. Dinner Party. You got it. Movie Night. It’s covered.
Gift a themed experience with FARE by Food Dudes. The box is delivered right to your door and is specially curated to provide a world of immersive in-home amusement. Whether getting cozy in your pyjamas or dressed up in your dining room, make staying in fun again.
Whether ordering in, taking out, or securing a gift card, our local restaurants need us right now. It’s best to order directly from the restaurants, if you can.
- Apres Actif, Collingwood
- We’re spending more and more time at home these days and what better way to spend it than to spend it in comfy, cute loungewear!
- Milk Jar, Calgary
- It’s the season for candles. Find the perfect scent for a friend from Milk Jar.
Kitchen & Dining Essentials:
- Entertaining Essentials: Copper Kitchen Goods, Toronto
- A go to spot for cute entertaining essentials like serving trays and copper goods. Perfect for the chefs & gastronomy lovers in your life.
- Caffeine: Hale Coffee, Toronto
- Toronto’s Hale Coffee is selling Holiday Pour Over Kits, inclusive of a hand-crafted pour over stand and drip per, a 12oz stainless steel Miir Tumbler, a bag of “Santa is Real” holiday coffee, and a pack of coffee filters.
- Maple & Honey Goodies: The Honey Bee Store, Port Colborne
- Canadian Maple treats. Enough said.