By Isabella Keats
Small businesses are the cute shops you walk by on your way to school. They’re where you got that super cool keychain or that comfortable sweater you love, but most importantly they’re what shape our community and gives us our uniqueness.
With the holidays coming up and Toronto going into a second lockdown, small businesses are taking a hit. The lockdown restrictions mean that most small businesses are closed but allowed to do curbside pickup, whereas big box chains are open. With a few tiny adjustments to our shopping habits we can support our local stores and make a difference.
For starters we can acknowledge where we shop and why. Often around the holidays people will turn to Amazon, malls and large name retailers because it’s what is easiest. I’ll even admit to doing this when earlier in November I wanted to buy hair dye. I went to Shoppers Drug Mart, even though on my way to Shoppers I passed two independent hair salons.
When buying online most people use Amazon, but there are other alternatives. Etsy is a website and app that lets you buy things that are handmade by people who don’t work for large corporations. Now you might be thinking, “Isabella, Etsy is an online shopping app. That isn’t a local store.” Well you would be right except Etsy has a feature where you can filter your search and change the shop location. You can set this feature to only show you creators in Toronto.
A short walk around your neighbourhood and an open mind can lead to a lot of in-person finds. Think of it like this, why go shopping at a store you’ve been to hundreds of times when you can go into a store you’ve never seen before. Shopping in a new store can really open your eyes because it shows you just how creative people are.
Over the weekend I decided to walk around Harbord and look at what stores are in the area. All these small businesses are under a twenty minute walk from Harbord and if you are looking for gifts for the holiday season they are great options to shop from locally.
- Goldspell, 739 Bloor Street West
- The Rock Store, 154 Harbord Street
Candy/ Baked goods:
- Harbord Bakery, 115 Harbord Street
- Stubbes Chocolate, 653 Dupont Street
- BMV Books, 471 Bloor Street West
- Thunder Struck Books, 386 Bloor Street West
- Doug Miller Books, 650 Bloor Street West
- Curiosa, 320 Harbord Street
- Red Pegasus, 628 College Street
- Snakes and Lattes Annex, 600 Bloor Street West (board games)
- Hanji Handmade Paper and Gifts, 619 Bloor Street West
- Jux-ta-pose, 616 Bloor Street West