Award-winning Glebe Spree turns shoppers into big winners

By Trevor Greenway

Alex Stecky-Efantis had no idea that playing trivia at Irene’s Pub could net him $1,000 cash. But after a second-place performance at the local pub, he dropped his Glebe Spree ballot in the box and it was later drawn as one of five weekly cash winners. Stecky-Efantis’ wallet was instantly much thicker.

“The first thing we did was we told our trivia team,” said the elated winner, revealing that he planned to treat his trivia crew for all those witty answers over the years. “So next week, we are going to buy them all their dinner and get them drinks and dessert,” he said. “It’s going to be fun.” But a thousand bucks goes farther than dinner at a pub. With their first baby on the way, Stecky-Efantis and his wife will surely be making some trips to Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s for toys or to McKeen Metro Glebe for diapers and groceries.

These are the kind of perks that Glebe Spree winners have enjoyed over the years. Since the contest’s inception in 2011, nearly $100,000 has been given away to local shoppers – from the $10,000 grand prize shopping sprees and daily instant-win giveaways to the new $1,000 weekly cash prizes added in 2017. What makes the contest even more exciting is that all of the winnings are spent in the Glebe, which supports our local businesses. Past winners have spent their prizes on family vacations, groceries, dinners out with friends, toys, electronics, clothing, jewellery and self-care – pretty much everything you can think of.

From left, Glebe Trotters employees Chris Lepont and Emily Hart pose with weekly Glebe 
Spree $1,000 winner Kelly Kilrea and Glebe BIA executive director Andrew Peck at Glebe Trotters in early December. Photo: Trevor Greenway

“Glebe Spree has become a cherished neighbourhood tradition that adds to the magical holiday season,” says Andrew Peck, executive director of the Glebe Business Improvement Area. “We are grateful that our community is passionate about shopping locally and Glebe Spree is our way of spreading the holiday cheer.”

The contest has garnered the attention of the International Downtown Association, which awarded Glebe Spree a Pinnacle Award for its success, and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, which recognized the contest at their annual awards ceremony in 2018.

All of this success is thanks to the popularity among customers and the engagement of local businesses. Walking down Bank Street, it’s hard to miss the decals decorating store windows and the ballot boxes on nearly every counter. The contest just keeps getting bigger and better each year; the new weekly $1,000 draws are what appealed to winner Kelly Kilrea, who said she rushed to get her ballot in early at Glebe Trotters.

“I just spent money and realized that it was the start of Glebe Spree and I remembered that there are the weekly draws,” she said. “It was the first time I have ever played early.” Kilrea still has a feeling of “unexpected joy” from winning the prize and wants to spread that around with donations and secret Santa gifts for loved ones.

“I think I will spend quite a bit of it making donations and then some of it for surprise gifts for people who aren’t expecting it,” said Kilrea. Other weekly $1,000 winners included Darlene Charron, Marjorie McLean and Leila Metcalf, who is donating half of her winnings to the Ottawa Food Bank.

Adding to the excitement of the contest are the Any Day prizes that are awarded almost daily, when unsuspecting shoppers are surprised with $100 gift cards just for walking in on the right day at the right time. The contest wouldn’t be the same without the support of our local businesses, including sponsors McKeen Metro Glebe and Audi City Ottawa as well as all those who donated an Any Day prize. It’s this constant dedication from members, businesses and customers that makes Glebe Spree possible every year.

Stay tuned to find out who the big winner is this year in the next Glebe Report article. You can also follow us online at @intheglebe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit us at

Trevor Greenway is responsible for communications at the Glebe BIA (Business Improvement Area).

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