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As one of the toughest years for retailers and restaurants comes to a close, business leaders are hoping that residents will put a renewed emphasis on shopping local this holiday season.

Many merchants, hospitality providers and eateries have introduced creative holiday offerings that illustrate the innovation that runs throughout the community.

Whether you’re looking for handmade goods to share with the family or a spa package to gift your spouse, Kanata North has a wide range of locally owned shops that can help check everyone off your list. 

Brookstreet experiences

After shutting down from April to June, the Brookstreet hotel is hoping its ready-to-go meal offerings and hotel experience packages can position it to start the new year on the right foot. 

After seeing room bookings fall dramatically this year, general manager Nyle Kelly and his team shifted gears, focusing on a service they could still offer to residents: food.

Throughout the summer months the hotel served takeaway barbecue boxes and brunch specials, as well as regular takeout from the menu of its Perspectives Restaurant – a practice the hotel is continuing throughout the holidays.

While Christmas would typically fill the Brookstreet’s dining room with guests, this year the team is preparing turkey dinners for takeout, with options that can feed up to 10 people, Kelly says. 

“The demand has been incredible for some of those takeout offerings,” he says. “It comes down to thinking about different ways to drive some of those revenues and keeping people employed and working throughout the holidays.” 

Gift-givers can also check out the Brookstreet’s spa or golf packages – redeemable throughout the year – which can make a great present for anyone looking to safely spend time out of the house. 

Buying someone an experience rather than an item is even more meaningful this year, adds Kelly, especially when it also directly supports a local institution. 

“A lot of the faces that we’ve been seeing are people that have been coming here for years,” he says. “People truly want to help local businesses and see us all come out on the other side of this happy, healthy and strong.”

Raise a glass with Small Pony Barrel Works

For microbrewery owner Sean McVeigh, finding new ways to reach his loyal customers was one of the biggest challenges in 2020. 

Small Pony Barrel Works shut down briefly at the start of the pandemic, and the number of customers visiting the brewery’s tap room and retail store was slow to pick up upon reopening. But McVeigh says the team wasted no time exploring home delivery options that could keep them connected with the community. 

“We’ve stepped up our mail-order beer all across Ontario, and we’re shipping more beer out the front door than ever before,” he says. “With restaurant sales slowing and festivals being canceled we had no choice but to get creative.”

While McVeigh made it a priority to promote his own company, collaborating with other local businesses was also a main focus in 2020. 

In late summer, Small Pony Barrel Works hosted a pop-up market in its parking lot, inviting local vendors and restaurants from across the city to set up a booth. 

“While restaurants support the breweries by selling our product, we can also support the restaurants by inviting them over to join our local market,” says McVeigh. “We’re hoping to make that a permanent event every summer.”

For the beer lovers in your life, McVeigh says shoppers can order through the brewery itself, or from the LCBO, which is now stocking Mares in a Jam – a dark sour brew, aged in oak barrels with raspberries.

Subscribing to newsletters and following small businesses on social media is a great way to engage with local breweries like Small Pony, he adds.

“We count on the local customers to support the business, to keep the staff employed, and to put money back into the community,” he adds. “Anything people can do to support local businesses is greatly appreciated.”

Sweet treats and local cuisine

If you’re looking for a fun alternative gift, Kanata North is also home to several local bakeries and restaurants that offer holiday treats that are sure to please. 

Kouign-Amann pastries from Jung’s bakery.

At Voila Gluten-Free Bakeree, a family owned business on Carling Avenue, shoppers will find festive pies, tarts and cookies on the holiday menu, as well as homemade gingerbread house kits and the classic Christmas fruit cake.

With many travel plans cancelled this year, residents can also head to La Maison du Kouign-Amann, where owner Fran Jung prepares a host of Parisian delicacies including croissants, breads and of course Kouign-Amanns, a buttery pastry filled with various flavours including caramel, chocolate and raspberry. 

For more savoury flavours, Kanata North is also home to a variety of restaurants including LUNA Crêpes & Café, Poco Pazzo Italian Eatery and Papa Sam’s Restaurant. 

For a full list of local businesses in Kanata North, visit the Kanata North Business Association’s member directory, or follow the #ShopLocal campaign the KNBA is running on its social channels for daily highlights from local shops in the area.  

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