Summer is for supporting local in London, Ont.

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: ANA LUSTOSA
Patio season is coming and London is the place to be.

On social media profiles, it is easy to see colourful flyers announcing events across London for the summer months. The city will have its most “normal” spring/summer season in years, after the current dropping of COVID-19 restrictions and the arrival of warmer days, making the city a vibrant place to be again.

One of these upcoming events is Vintage on the Block, an outdoor market that happens every third Saturday of the month on Dundas Street. With more than 20 vendors from London and the surrounding area, the next Vintage on the Block is scheduled for April 30. Beyond vintage street sales, there will also be live music and food.

According to Vintage on the Block co-founder, Aaron Bakker, health measures will still be in place despite the event being held outdoors. “We are still taking precautions in terms of public safety,” said Bakker. “Vendors can choose to where a mask and hand sanitizer stations will still be available during the event. We often promote, ‘if you are sick, stay home,’ so we can avoid any and all spreading of illness.”

Unlimited transactions, no monthly fees, no worries. Scotiabank.

For vendors and local tourism, the event is an opportunity to recover at least a part of the financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, some people were not able to make it through or recover due to the pandemic,” said Bakker. “We have already seen in one week without masks a lot of individuals that haven’t been in store due to mandates. We hope 2022 will be the start of a great incline in sales and culture.” According to The Conference Board of Canada, “tourism activity in London was estimated to have generated $477.6 million dollars of spending, a decrease of approximately $345.4 million dollars from 2019, or 42.0 per cent.”

For the Director of Culture & Entertainment Tourism of London, Natalie Wakabayashi, everyone plays a role in supporting local businesses.

“I think that there’s a huge opportunity here that when everyone feels comfortable enough to do so, that you can find ways to support local businesses, you can find ways to be a tourist and travel around, and that you can support and help drive the economic impact in our community, which ultimately then takes us on our steps towards recovery,” said Wakabayashi.

To encourage people to help local businesses and know the services, London Tourism, in collaboration with Argyle Business Improvement Association, Hamilton Road Business Improvement Association, and others, launched a website where you can look for services in different areas of the city only offered by a local market. For more information, access finditinlondon.ca

“Buying local offers communities within the city to grow and develop culture, something London lacks,” added Bakker. “Starting with buying local, it’s the easiest way to be a part of what makes London great. We hope that these events promote these ideas and push people into shopping local as often as possible.”

Another strategy to boost the local economy across the Ontario province is the temporary Staycation Tax Credit for 2022.

According to the province website, one individual per family, living in Ontario, can request 20 per cent of their eligible 2022 accommodation expenses when they fill out personal Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2022.

Among these eligible expenses, there are hotels, motels, resorts, and campgrounds. Visit ontario.ca for more information.

Locally, London Tourism promotes the campaign “Stay a Little Longer,” which offers a $200 Visa Card to those who stay two consecutive nights in the city at a listed hotel.

“You can go out into the community, and you can eat or shop or drink or play and use your card to support a local business,” Wakabayashi encouraged.