Holiday fever breaks out across Calgary on Saturday

With just over two weeks to go until Christmas, Calgary small business owners are hopeful to cash in on much-needed sales to stay afloat.

It’s why the Kensington and Marda Loop business districts hosted holiday activities Saturday afternoon f in an effort to drive traffic to the areas and encourage local spending.

Calgarians enjoyed free hot chocolate, live musical performances, fire pits and horse-drawn carriage rides with Santa Claus for Christmas from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Kensington

Visitors were also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to support the community-wide food drive for the Veterans Food Bank.

Annie MacInnis, executive director of the Kensington Business Improvement Area, said about 70 per cent of the income for a small business is generated during the Christmas and holiday season.

“This is really the time to support your local business and for every one dollar spent locally, you generate six dollars for our Calgary economy,” she said.

“A lot of businesses are still paying back some of those pandemic loans and you know business is down a little bit, but I think we’re recovering and I see more people on the streets here, but we hope to keep that ‘shop local’ message in mind.”


In Marda Loop, a new ‘Marda Gift Card’ initiative has also been launched to make it easier for Calgarians to shop local.

Cards can be bought online at for any amount between $25 to $250 that can be used at dozens of businesses in the shopping district.

Bob van Wegen, executive director of the Marda Loop BIA dressed up as a traffic cone Saturday all in good fun to raise awareness about the need to support businesses affected by local construction in the area.

He was handing out $10 Marda Gift Cards to encourage local shopping.

“It’s really important that Calgarians support local businesses, including places in Marda Loop,”van Wegen said.

“It’s a real challenge for small businesses everywhere in Calgary but in Marda Loop especially, it’s going to be great when the main street construction work is done.”


Some small businesses across Alberta are still struggling to find the cash needed to repay government loans provided to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline to repay the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan was extended from the end of December to Jan. 18, but the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says that’s unreasonable.

The CFIB launched a petition noting that an extra ’18 days is an insult’ and are calling on the federal government to extend the deadline an additional year to December 2024.

According to the CFIB, over 900,000 Canadian small businesses had to take out a CEBA loan just to survive two years of lockdowns and business restrictions.

CEBA loans also form just a part of the average $110,000 in COVID-related debt inherited by two-thirds of Canada’s small business owners.