Why support local?

Over the course of the last 18 months supporting small businesses has become more important than ever before. It’s great to see communities coming together to support fellow members and business owners by making it a priority to shop and dine local while encouraging others to do the same.

To ensure supporting local is top of mind for all, many cities across Ontario have implemented local initiatives to educate communities and highlight local businesses.

Here’s how some of our communities stepped up:

BDAR at Open Air Dunlop


The City of Barrie organized #BarrieTogether to showcase some of Barrie’s new and longstanding small businesses.

The Downtown Barrie Business Association (BIA) organized Open Air Dunlop every weekend of the summer which closed Dunlop Street to traffic and allowed the public to explore on foot the diversity of small businesses in the downtown area. Its mission is to support economic recovery for small independent businesses downtown and expose them to even more consumers.

Additionally, the Downtown Barrie Lifeline Program was created to help provide immediate purchases for a small business. Here you can buy e-cards for your favourite Downtown Barrie retail shops, salons, restaurants, cafes and more was set up to help recovery and spread the word.


The City of Orillia organized  #SeeYouonthePatio which focuses on highlighting local restaurants. Each weekend the downtown roads close to traffic to allow the public to explore on foot different businesses the city has to offer, and owners can expand their patio to serve more customers. Foodies could also enter a contest by taking a photo of their favourite meal, uploading it to any social platform with the #OrilliaFoodiesUnite to help spread the word.


The Town of Collingwood adopted a unique approach for their support local initiatives. If you received a parking infraction within the Downtown BIA area you can have it cancelled by supporting a local business with a transaction. All you need to do is provide your receipt showing proof of purchase equal to or greater than the set fine within five days. This campaign will continue to run until Thanksgiving weekend.   

Muskoka Lakes

The Township of Muskoka Lakes took an educational approach to supporting local with their campaign “10 days and 10 ways to support local businesses”. It focuses on encouraging residents to get out and explore their community and show support by shopping and dining locally during Covid-19 and beyond. Writing positive reviews on a business’s website or Google review is also encouraged as it can give businesses a big credibility boost and it’s an easy, free way to show support.

To get the community involved, the town encourages the public to create a bucket list of local businesses they want to visit by sharing it online with others and making plans with their friends to check out some of these businesses. Tagging friends in posts or sharing posts from your favourite local businesses are also seen as a great way to show your support because it allows those businesses to reach future customers and gain more exposure. 

York & Mason in Downtown Port Carling
Source @yournorthlife

The Simcoe Muskoka Region is home to many amazing small businesses. Shopping small not only strengthens our local economy, but it also infuses our communities with character, fosters human connection, and supports a cleaner environment by decreasing our carbon footprint.

Part of Your North Life’s mission is to highlight the hidden gems in our region, exposing the richness and diversity our small businesses offer our communities. Discover new businesses on our Shop Local Business Directory and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more local content!

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