Return of Glebe Spree highlights need to ‘buy local’

From left: Glebe BIA executive director Andrew Peck, Audi City Ottawa operations manager Melanie Mock and executive vice president Liza Mrak, last year’s Glebe Spree winner Daniel Creighton and McKeen Metro Glebe co-owner Rebecca McKeen pose for a photo at Audi City Ottawa on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Photo: Trevor Greenway

By Trevor Greenway

To say that businesses are having a difficult year would be an understatement.

Some were forced to close down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who’ve managed to stay open have spent the year struggling to pay rent, shifting to online shopping, rebuilding takeout menus, buying PPE and restructuring indoor shopping to allow for social distancing. It has been a year of uncertainty and the future is muddy at best.

That’s why merchants will be thrilled to see local shoppers out in the neighbourhood with Glebe Spree ballots in hand this holiday season. The community’s “Buy Local” campaign launches November 15 and so does your chance to win a $10,000 shopping spree in the Glebe.

With the impact of the pandemic taking a toll in shops, restaurants, studios and salons, Glebe Spree has never been as important as it is today. The popular neighbourhood contest has become a cherished holiday initiative as it incentivises local shopping and boosts economic activity for our merchants. Nearly $5 million in consumer spending was attributed to the contest last year alone, bringing the total since its inception to more than $25 million.

“Businesses are operating in survival mode and what they need right now more than ever are customers,” says Glebe BIA executive director Andrew Peck.  “The Glebe Spree contest encourages people to support our merchants and invest in the local economy.”

If you’re new to Glebe Spree, playing – and winning – is simple. Beginning November 15, pick up a Glebe Spree Passport at any participating business and start shopping. For every $15 spent in the Glebe, you will receive a sticker for your passport. Once you’ve collected $150 worth of stickers, submit your completed ballot in any ballot box. You can enter as many times as you like, so do all your Christmas shopping in the Glebe to increase your chances of winning.

Early shoppers will have a chance to win a $2,500 Early Bird Prize if they enter the contest by December 6 at midnight. All Early Bird ballots will be re-entered into the grand-prize draw, to be held January 8.

Returning this year is the popular Any Day Prize giveaway that gives shoppers a chance to win a $100 gift card every time they walk into a Glebe shop. There are secret times and locations set up throughout the Glebe and if you pop into the right store at the right time, you could win a cool $100.

If you’re lucky enough to win the grand-prize $10,000 shopping spree, there are a lot of places to spend your winnings. Just ask last year’s winner Daniel Creighton, who submitted just one ballot and won the jackpot.

Creighton spent his winnings on groceries at McKeen Metro Glebe, shoes at Glebetrotters, school textbooks at Octopus Books and dinners out as his “favourite restaurant by far,” Anthony’s Pizza.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s difficult to say what shopping and dining will look like during the holiday season. That’s why it’s so important to support your local businesses so they can stay afloat over the next few critical months.

Order take-out, purchase a gift card, support a Glebe business online or safely in-store. Our merchants have adapted in many ways to ensure the health and safety of their customers. Let’s give back to these dedicated and hard-working business owners who have become the social fabric of our amazing neighbourhoods.

Shop local. Spend local. Save local.

Glebe Spree runs from November 15 to December 31. For a list of participating businesses and full rules and regulations, visit

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

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