Shop, dine local this holiday season to show love to Toronto’s small businesses, mayor says

City officials have launched a new phase of a campaign designed to encourage Toronto residents to shop and dine local in the holiday season.

The campaign, called ShowLoveTO, is aimed at helping small businesses that have endured repeated lockdowns and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor John Tory said at a news conference at the Distillery District on Monday that Torontonians can show how much they love their city by shopping local in the next six weeks.

“Please shop local, please dine local,” Tory said in his message to Toronto residents.

“If we’re going to have a full and complete recovery, it cannot take place without the smaller businesses of the main streets of the city being fully engaged,” Tory continued.

“And the way they’re going to become fully engaged in that recovery is if you, the people out there who have done so much to help us get through this pandemic, take this step to support them.”

To drive the message home, the city is extending its ShowLoveTO marketing campaign through December on TV, online and transit shelters.

Tory said the campaign will include:

  • 280 TV spots.
  • More than 100 transit shelter ads.
  • Digital display and online videos in several languages.
  • Ads on YouTube and local news sites.
  • Social media advertising.
  • Spotify advertising.

Ontario Heritage Minister Lisa MacLeod joined the mayor at the news conference to say the provincial government will provide $250,000 to the campaign. 
ShowLoveTO will promote local artists, providing opportunities to perform and showcase their work.

Supporting local businesses helps them thrive, city says

In a news release on Monday, the city said Toronto residents can help local businesses thrive by buying a gift card to a shop or restaurant, posting positive reviews online, and referring friends and family to local stores and restaurants.

The campaign comes about a year after shopping was disallowed in small stores because of rising COVID-19 case numbers.

In late November last year, Toronto was in what the province called its “grey” lockdown zone. Small stores had to rely on curbside pickup, online shopping and the e-commerce platform Shopify to keep their businesses going.

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