As someone who loves shopping and going to the mall, you would never take me as the person to say that I would much rather do my Christmas shopping in small-town Ontario.
Every year for Christmas, my best friend and I make the trek to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to do the bulk of our Christmas shopping. What is so special about NOTL is that it is a very small and quaint area, filled with Canadian history and tradition. The shops in the downtown core are unique and filled with things you would never find at a mall or outlet store.
I have found some of the nicest presents for my family and items for myself while shopping in NOTL. Stores like Ten Thousands Villages that only carries pieces made from people in third world countries, and where the majority of the proceeds go directly to those who made the items. The people who staff the store are working on a volunteer basis, so it’s nice to know that charity and kindness is still alive and well.
There are also specialty stores, like the store that sells products from and influenced by Japan and Japanese culture, hat, candy, and even tea shops. One of my favourite stores is tucked away off the main strip, and sells classic movies and film memorabilia. Last year, I was able to find a film that I had been searching for online for years, but I found it there.
It is an experience that I always look forward to. It is never busy in the shops or on the streets, I never have to hunt for parking spots, or even get annoyed with the over abundance of people trying to get their shopping done as well.
I’m not a big fan of small towns, but there is something so special about Niagara-on-the-Lake and the picturesque shops, bed and breakfasts, and horse and buggy rides that rings Romantic.
Every town or city has their own Niagara-on-the-Lake, and hopefully people can get the experience of avoiding line-ups, chatting with genuine people who love their jobs and purchasing gifts you know the person receiving will love.