News Release
November 15, 2021

Today, Mayor John Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre) and Minister Lisa MacLeod, Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, in the Distillery District to kick off another phase of ShowLoveTO and to encourage Torontonians to shop local this holiday season.

Local businesses are essential to a healthy and vibrant community, and the City of Toronto’s ShowLoveTO campaign encourages Torontonians to rediscover and support local small businesses and restaurants to help them thrive. There are many ways Torontonians can support small and local businesses this gift-giving season, including referring friends and family to some of Toronto’s unique finds, purchasing a gift card to a local shop or restaurant, posting positive reviews online and more. Visit the City’s dedicated local shops webpage to discover more ways to show love to local, small businesses.

To encourage people to show the local love, the City has extended the ShowLoveTO ad campaign through December on TV, online and in transit shelters.

This will include:

  • 280 TV spots;
  • More than 100 transit shelter ads;
  • Digital display and online videos in multiple languages;
  • Targeting 10 million plus impressions through ads on YouTube and local news sites;
  • Social media advertising;
  • Spotify advertising

The City is working to get the word out to everyone. As Mayor Tory outlined today, the message will be: Support local business and restaurants! Shop local and dine local!

ShowLoveTO includes a series of programs led by the City and community organizations throughout Toronto, with Toronto Public Health guidance to provide a safer environment for participants.

The following ShowLoveTO initiatives will also engage Toronto residents this holiday season:

StrollTO, in partnership with Heritage Toronto, encourages residents to explore Toronto neighbourhoods with new, guided walks. On select weekends from November 20 to December 12, join guided walks and discover the diverse history and cultural significance behind neighbourhood landmarks and attractions. Walks will highlight points of interest off the beaten path and showcase Toronto’s hidden gems and stories. StrollTO Guided Walks are outdoors and free of charge to participate; however, pre-registration is required for all tours as the capacity for each tour is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Residents are encouraged to learn more about the StrollTO initiative, and explore Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods through self-guided tours by visiting

NoVacancy, a part of StrollTO, artistically activates vacant storefronts in neighbourhoods hard-hit by COVID-19.The City has worked with local arts organizations and BIAs to create opportunities for local artists to animate vacant storefronts within their respective communities. This program not only supports local neighbourhoods and businesses but will provide critical financial support and exposure to artists, including BIPOC and youth artists, who have also been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. No Vacancy will run from the end of November until February 2022.

Other new projects include:

  • New Heights: Move, Grow, Build – a series of storefront activations along a stretch of Finch Ave West
  • “Chinatown, the best!” – a series of photographs of seniors reflecting on their best vision of themselves by Long Time No See
  • “NoVacancy in Scarborough!” – three window exhibitions by Scarborough Arts featuring the work of local artists and youth at partnering business.

LoveTO illuminated hearts will continue to be displayed across the city until Valentine’s Day. There are 25 LoveTO hearts on display in neighbourhoods across Toronto, including one at City Hall. Developed in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), the LoveTO hearts are placed close to main streets to spread love to Toronto businesses, especially in neighbourhoods hardest hit by the pandemic. Residents can snap, tag and share photos using #ShowLoveTO.

ShowLoveTO is produced by the City of Toronto in association with Founding Sponsor American Express and in partnership with Destination Toronto. ShowLoveTO programs are funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Government of Ontario and sponsored by The Carpenters Union Local 27, Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, Oxford Properties, Downtown AutoGroup and Equinix. ShowLoveTO programs would not be possible without the support of OCAD University, AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc. and Media Partners Bell Media and Rogers Sports and Media.

ShowLoveTO is for Torontonians and businesses, with the aim of getting people engaged with the city again. The City of Toronto welcomes feedback and invites residents to share theirs via the ShowLoveTO survey.


“ShowLoveTO is a way for all Torontonians to show love to the small businesses, restaurants and main streets that make our neighbourhoods so vibrant. Small businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in unprecedented ways. This holiday season, I encourage residents to continue to shop local, whether it’s in-person or online, and to reconnect with your favourite restaurants, but I also challenge our residents to discover something new that maybe they haven’t tried before – a new restaurant, a new shop, or even explore a new neighbourhood. The message today is very simple: As Christmas approaches, support local business and restaurants – shop local and dine local!”
– Mayor John Tory

“ShowLoveTO provides safe pathways to connect with the people, places and things we love about our City. From self-guided outdoor walking tours, to public art to restaurant feature menus there is something for everyone. I encourage all Torontonians to support their local businesses this holiday season and show them some love.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“COVID-19 has been a challenge for the local businesses that make up the fabric of our province – that’s why I’m committed to making Toronto a gateway city. As we continue to recover, supporting initiatives like ShowLoveTO is critical to remind us there is an incredible community right outside our doorstep. This holiday season, please don’t forget – we need local, as much as local needs us.”
– Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

“This holiday season, let’s all continue to show love to the small businesses that are the heart of our communities. We’re so proud to be the founding sponsor of ShowLoveTO to encourage Torontonians to support local and help small businesses, and our city, thrive.”
– Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager, Merchant Services, American Express Canada

“The holiday season offers an ideal time to discover new experiences and neighbourhoods in our own city and support businesses, so they remain the heartbeat of our communities. Partnering with the City of Toronto to develop the StrollTO program as part of ShowLoveTO helps fuels local exploration and discovery.”
– Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Toronto

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations