Brim­ming with old-fash­ioned hol­i­day cheer, in­ner-city neigh­bour­hoods are a shopper’s dream

StarMetro Calgary - - CREB NOW - AN­DREA COX

The hol­i­days are just around the cor­ner, and what bet­ter way to kick off the sea­son then a visit to one of Cal­gary’s trendy, in­nercity neigh­bour­hoods to stroll through a col­lec­tion of lo­cally owned ate­liers, art gal­leries and vin­tage stores. Ac­cord­ing to Cal­gary busi­ness im­prove­ment as­so­ci­a­tions (BIAs), lo­cal shop­ping is ex­pected to be pop­u­lar this year, and re­tail­ers in in­nercity shop­ping dis­tricts are primed for an in­flux of vis­i­tors.

“It is hard to spec­u­late, but my feel­ing is that with the slug­gish econ­omy, many shop­pers are plan­ning on cut­ting back on the kind of ma­te­rial ac­cu­mu­la­tion that hap­pens at the mall and fo­cus­ing more on hav­ing a cozy, ‘hygge’ Christ­mas ex­pe­ri­ence, the kind that may be more of a nod to nos­tal­gia for a time when that was what Christ­mas was about,” said Re­becca O’Brien, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the In­gle­wood BIA. “I think that trans­lates into heavy pedes­trian traf­fic.”

Like most of Cal­gary’s hip neigh­bour­hood shop­ping dis­tricts, the hol­i­day buzz in In­gle­wood is pal­pa­ble. The In­gle­wood BIA hosted a hol­i­day kick-off event last week­end, paving the way for a fes­tive at­mos­phere through­out De­cem­ber on Ninth Av­enue S.E.

Sim­i­larly, along Fourth Street S.W., the sea­son got off to a fine start on Nov. 30 with dec­o­ra­tions twin­kling, a visit from Santa and lots of rein­deer games. It was all part of the Christ­mas Light Up Fourth Street cel­e­bra­tion, which took place in Cen­tral Memo­rial Park and also in­cluded some fun sales and give­aways.

Julie O’Don­nell, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the Fourth Street BIA, says she ex­pects lots of hol­i­day vis­i­tors to the area this year.

“Our vol­umes can be very weather de­pen­dent, but if my horse is to be be­lieved, we are in for a very mild win­ter,” she said.

For more hol­i­day fun, head on over to Marda Loop for Light Up the Loop, hap­pen­ing on Dec. 7 from 6-8 p.m. Ex­pect car­ol­ers, a visit from Santa and lots of fun ac­tiv­i­ties, from marsh­mal­low toast­ing to kids’ crafts. Marda Loop shop­pers can ex­pect to find some great spe­cials and a few new stores, in­clud­ing new bou­tique food mar­ket Marda Loop Mer­can­tile.

Marda Loop BIA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bob van We­gen also ex­pects lots of shop­pers to visit this year – strolling the av­enues and en­joy­ing the Christ­mas lights, hol­i­day planters and new street ban­ners de­signed by artist Mike Grills.

“There are a lot of new peo­ple mov­ing into the Marda Loop area and I think that will be re­flected in the vol­ume of shop­pers this year,” said van We­gen.

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