By Serena Lemieux
The winner of last year’s Glebe Spree, Joy Kardish, submitted her winning ballot while buying cupcakes for her grandchildren. Lucky grandkids, lucky Joy! Asked why she participates in Glebe Spree, she says “I love shopping in the Glebe because the shop owners are so friendly, and I like to support local businesses.”
Kardish spent her $10,000 winnings at Glebe Trotters, Magpie, Phi Beauty Bar, McKeen Metro, JD Adam, Third Avenue Spa, Stomping Ground, Von’s Bistro, Cantina Gia, Davidson’s Jewellers and Bloomfields.
The Glebe Spree, which runs from November 15 to December 31, has been a community favourite since it started in 2011. It gets people talking and excited during the holiday season. As an added bonus, it gets shoppers out to support small businesses.
Shoppers can enter the contest by filling out a Glebe Spree “passport” with ten $15 stickers which are earned by shopping in the Glebe and entering the complete passport into a Glebe Spree ballot box at a local shop.
It’s a big community-building project, according to long-time participants. “Locals now know about it and look forward to it,” said Ian Boyd, owner of the record store Compact Music. “As merchants, we think it’s of great value to us and certainly hope everybody in the whole world does their Christmas shopping in the Glebe.
“This Christmas, forget the internet and shop local. The local stores will do a much better job, get you the right stuff, and you’ll see a little bit of character from all the same people every day. Name a big brand, and you’ll see different people in the store every time. Not at Compact, you get the old man in the record store.”
The contest is also a good reminder of the great community shops you can find just off Bank Street. ORESTA Organics, at Isabella and O’Connor Street, is well-known in Ottawa for specializing in organic beauty products. Owner Oresta Korbutiak has had a busy and challenging year. In April she helped organize “Pysanka: To Ukraine with Love,” a fundraiser for Canada-Ukraine Foundation and the victims of war in Ukraine.
Korbutiak is ready for the joy the holiday season brings. “Our customers really look forward to the Glebe Spree every year,” she said. “It encourages them to visit the shop in person rather than shopping online. We’re excited to be able to welcome customers into the store and offer our holistic facials again.”
Several newcomers to the Glebe are also eager for their first holiday season here and for their first Glebe Spree. Darnell Kennedy of Ramen Isshin, a Japanese ramen establishment, said, “We had heard great things [about Glebe Spree] through the grapevine, but this will be our first year participating, and we are very excited.
“We believe that holiday contests are a fantastic way to get more people from around the city to visit our Glebe shops. We can’t wait to see the streets filled with holiday shoppers.”
McKeen Metro, a family-run business that’s been open in the Glebe since 1910, supports the Glebe Spree by sponsoring the Early Bird Prize. The website GlebeSpree.ca has more details about the contest.
The Glebe is getting ready to dazzle this holiday season. Keep an eye out for our festive new green banners and our lit-up, tree-lined streets. It will excite even the biggest Grinch in your life.
The Santa Toy parade will be making its way down Bank Street to Lansdowne on November 19 starting at 11 a.m. Bring a toy of your choice or donate online.
Don’t miss the Christmas tree lighting on November 25 at 6 p.m. in Aberdeen Square, kicking off the official Ottawa Christmas Market season at Lansdowne.
The Glebe is a magical spot during the holidays, and we can’t wait to enjoy it with our community.
Serena Lemieux is responsible for communications and marketing at the Glebe BIA (Business Improvement Area).