Toronto is full of incredible shops and talented artisans. There’s never been a more important time to support local Toronto small businesses. Let’s #ShowLoveTO small local businesses in our city.

Economic impact

Small and medium-sized businesses (under 500 employees) make up over 99 per cent of all the businesses in our city and employ about 80 per cent of Torontonians. When you shop local your dollars can be returned to the local economy, raising the level of economic activity, which creates jobs, and contributes to the local tax base which contributes to create vibrant, livable communities.

Investors are attracted to communities where small businesses thrive, and this helps increase local tax revenues which in turn, get redistributed into infrastructure, amenities and programs for the community.

Societal impact

Supporting main street businesses supports your neighbours and encourages entrepreneurship and innovation amongst members of our community. It also attracts new talent and professionals to our city. Additionally, small businesses have been shown to support local sports teams, events, non-profits and charities in their community.
Small businesses also help define a neighbourhood’s character and image and gives people a sense of pride and identity in the area in which they live. Local businesses owners also tend to be members of the community and tend to be engaged in the area.

Environmental impact

Shopping local can help reduce our impact on the environment. Importing and shipping goods from afar produces transportation and greenhouse gas emissions. Shipping goods also creates packaging waste such as cardboard and single-use plastics which oftentimes are not properly recycled.

Shopping local can also help promote healthy living as walking to your local store counts as exercise and often local foods need less chemicals to help retain their freshness.

Besides personally shopping at local stores, visiting local restaurants and markets, there are a lot of ways you can support local businesses. Here are some fun/free ways to ShowLoveTO!

  • Consider a gift card to a local shop or restaurant when buying for family or friends.
  • Leave positive reviews online
  • Share your purchases and favourite places on social media using the hashtag #ShowLoveTO. Tag BusinessTO and CultureTO to be featured on Instagram.
  • Try something new – visit a new spa, yoga studio, restaurant or walk in to that book store you walk by every day.
  • Introduce yourself to the store owner and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them promote their goods and services to residents.
  • Are you an expert in web, search engine optimization or social media? Consider offering your expertise for free to help a small business in your area. It could be great for your portfolio.
  • Order food directly from the restaurant by calling them or placing an order on their website.
  • Remember to tip, if you have the means. Restaurant workers have had a hard time during the pandemic, show them you appreciate their service.
  • Refer friends and family to great places you discover, business owners will be grateful you did.

Toronto is full of amazing and innovative artisans, designers and creators. From quality products and friendly customer service to unique experiences, Toronto has so much to offer. If you’re looking for stores in your neighbourhood, check out your local BIA website where you could also Shop Local To Win.

Here are a few directories that allow you to search local merchants in your area.