Open for holidays in the Glebe? City considers new retail option

Lucy Scholey
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A city finance committee will soon debate whether to allow Glebe retailers to open their doors on holidays.

Bank Street in the Glebe

The Glebe BIA has applied for an exemption to an Ontario law, Retail Business Holidays Act, that forces retail businesses to close on statutory holidays.

The city can grant exemptions to neighbourhoods situated within two kilometres of a tourist attraction. In the Glebe’s case, it’s the Rideau Canal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Now that the Lansdowne Park redevelopment and street construction are done, the Glebe is poised to make a substantial economic contribution to the city, according to the BIA’s executive director.

“It’s a quintessential downtown Ottawa neighbourhood that’s unique to the city. It’s like the Beaches is to Toronto,” said Andrew Peck.

Stephane Sauve, owner of the Glebe Meat Market, said the neighbourhood could compete with the ByWard Market, where retailers are allowed to open doors on statutory days off.

If the city grants the Glebe an exemption from the law, it will ultimately be up to businesses to choose whether to open on holidays.

Gilbert Russell, owner of Brio Bodywear, said he’s unlikely to open doors outside of normal hours. It’s challenging for staff-strapped small retailers to stay open on stat days.

“You can’t just pop some people in for the holidays,” he said.

The application will go before the finance and economic development committee on Feb. 2. If approved, it will then go on to council.

This article originally appeared on on Jan. 14.

Organizations: UNESCO, BIA, ByWard Market

Geographic location: Ontario, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa Toronto

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