With two weeks left until Christmas, some in Winnipeg searched for gifts today with the help of a bus tour of independent stores around the North End.
The Social Purchasing Portal hosted its second annual Holiday Shopping Tour on Wednesday, with the aim of promoting smaller and independently owned businesses.
The bus provided shoppers with door-to-door service, meaning no worries about finding parking or contending with large crowds.
A couple dozen shoppers took part in Wednesday's tour, which included stops at Sam's Place, Neechi Commons and Pollock's Hardware Co-Op.
"I always drive by all the time and I always say, 'Next time I'm going to stop' and I don't," said Linda Thiessen, who made her first visit to Pollock's during the tour.
"Now I'm here inside and I see what they have, and I'm so glad to be inside, not driving by."
The Social Purchasing Portal, an online directory that promotes and supports socially responsible businesses in the city, organized the holiday tour to highlight a few of the shops that are run by co-operatives and non-profit organizations in the North End.
"They don't have the big advertising budget that some of those big corporations have," said Molly Dunbar, the portal's co-ordinator.
"If the money's in the community, that means a stronger community."
Peter Bjornson, Manitoba's minister of housing and community development, even joined the tour with his own "shop local" bag in hand.
"It provides training opportunities, shopping opportunities, and tremendous benefit to the communities," he said.