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Support Your Local Cyber Shops

According to an Angus Reid survey, almost 60% of Canadians will shop online this Christmas. Much of that will be through national retailers.

Savvy local retailers are preparing themselves for this, as the trend to online shopping is growing. Among consumers aged 18 to 34 cyber shopping is even more popular, with 73% planning to shop online this Christmas.

Broadband Technology Drives Economic & Social Development.

Stratford, Ontario is on a list of the top 7 international cities that have embraced broadband technology as a driver of economic and social development.

With a population of just 30,886 the city has twice been named one of the “Top Seven Intelligent Communities” by the Intelligent Community Forum.

So it`s no surprise that the industrious folks from this former mill town, adapt to change. Stratford has a unique background based on agriculture, industry and the arts. More recently the city has been supporting policy to encourage entrepreneurship and technology.

The Top 5 Local Cyber Shops

In the spirit of promoting Stratford retailer`s entrepreneurship, and use of
technology, below are the top 5 Stratford Cyber Shops.

The links below include great gifts for everyone on your list.
Some of the merchants have special products that aren`t posted on their
website, they welcome your phone calls (the numbers are included in the links).

1A Christmas Gift of Tea

Tea Leaves is Canada’s leading purveyor of fine loose-leaf teas. It’s the
creation of Karen Hartwick, Canada’s tea sommelier.

I asked Karen to pick out some teas especially for the holdiay season. Click on the link above for a story about her unique blends; the’re a cut above the teas you find elsewhere.

2Fresh Christmas Candies

Chocolate Barr’s and Rhéo Thompson Candies are two of the best candy shops you’ll ever find.

One of Choco­late Barr’s most popular holiday items is their large, candy canes.

Rhéo Thompson Candies is renoun for its mint smoothies and Nutty Pop, a peanut brittle made with almonds and mammoth pecans!

3Stratford Festival Christmas Gifts
The Stratford Festival store has a variety of great gifts you can order online.

This elegant T-Shirt was designed by Dana Manning who spent many winter days
tobogganing down the hills around the Festival Theatre.

As a youth Dana was mesmerized by the Festival Theatre’s windows. She imagined the
creative magic that was happening on the other side of the
windows and today they are featured prominently in her gorgeous, unisex design.

4Holiday Dog Treats

The Barkery is a local
business that’s made a name for itself across Canada.

They are committed to offering a healthy alternative to mass-produced dog treats.

Many of their ingredients, including fresh apples,
carrots, zucchini and honey, are sourced from local farms.

Humans can eat The Barkery’s dog treats, but I wasn’t brave enough. Regardless, they makes the best treats your dog will ever taste.

5Organic Garlic & Berries for Christmas

Some of the best organic garlic grows just 20 minutes north of Stratford.
August’s Harvest has been growing garlic since 1991.

They recently started growing Saskatoon berries.

Saskatoon’s have a purple hue with a smokey-almond taste.

August’s Harvest Saskatoon Berry Spread is incomparable on toast, bagels, scones, muffins, cream puffs, ice-cream, smoothies, waffles, blintzes.

It makes a perfect stocking stuffer and is available online and at many fine food shops across Canada.

Buy Local

None of the shops featured above have paid for, or compensated me in any way for being included.

I encourage people to consider buying locally because locally-owned
businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms.

Purchasing local keeps our communities strong, & improves our quality of life.

May the spirit of Christmas shine some light in your life, and the lives of those around you no matter how near or far they may be.

Traditional arts journalism is in decline. Now more than ever, this independent website and our podcast fill a growing void. We've had over 1.5 million page views, and are grateful that you are here. We rely on readers — and a handful of advertisers who share our values — to make our work possible. When we raised funds for our podcast, The "Performers Podcast," the average donation from people like you was $96. Now we hope you’ll join us in augmenting our coverage of arts in the region by making a one-time donation today.

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Support Your Local Cyber Shops

Keith Tomasek
11 December 2012

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