MONTREAL -- The mayor of Montreal wants you to shop local this holiday season.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Mayor Valerie Plante announced six new measures and $6 million in funding aimed at enticing Montrealers to visit shopping arteries and buy from local merchants when checking off their shopping lists.

“I am giving us the collective challenge of taking advantage of the holiday season to save Montreal's commercial vitality,” she said. “It’s not the online shopping giants that need our help, but local businesses do.”

The new measures include:

  • free on-street parking on weekends throughout the city from Nov. 14 to Dec. 31, making some 18,000 spaces available
  • businesses can extend opening hours to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends from Nov. 14 to Dec. 31
  • support and promotion to continue urban delivery for local merchants
  • installations in the downtown area for the winter season designed to “add to the shopping experience,” said Plante.
  • financial support for campaigns implemented by merchants’ groups and chambers of commerce
  • adding $1.5 million to the Commercial Activities Consolidation Fund, designed to support small businesses to ensure they can increase the quality of services, including on the digital market and the physical development of their place of business.

Plante said she is concerned about the massive drop in people visiting the downtown area, particularly because of office workers who have made the shift to working from home. She reminded shoppers that there’s an alternative for those who don’t want to visit shops in person.

“We can support local business, and you can do it physically, but you can also do it online,” she said.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business was quick to applaud the new measures.

“We are seeing the buying local movement gain momentum. As the holiday season approaches, we must all participate in growing this wave of solidarity that will help save our small businesses and contribute to economic recovery,” said Francois Vincent, Quebec vice-president of the organization.