The countdown is on for last-minute shoppers, but several local businesses are ready to help find that perfect gift, says local YouTube content creator and Cambridge booster
For YouTube content creator Ingrid Talpak, some of the best shopping in Waterloo Region is in downtown Cambridge.
Talpak, founder of the YouTube channel, Amazing Cambridge Ontario, has released her latest video showcasing 50 fabulous places to shop locally for Christmas.
She has been busy working with shop owners in the core, filming their shops that she says are ‘stuffed full of great things.’
“There are so many extraordinary and unique shops in the beautiful and revived Cambridge downtown core, and are all within a short walking distance of each other,” Talpak says.
Within about six blocks, there is everything from the largest and oldest indoor antique mall in Canada, and a gluten free bakery that Talpak says sells much more than just sweets.
“There’s a stunning 130-year-old family-owned jewelery store, art galleries specializing in Canadian artists, sustainable clothing stores, a family-friendly comic bookstore, an ethically sourced crystal shop, one of the best chocolate shops in Canada, a renowned pen and stationery store, a gift store with a modern twist, and so much more,” Talpak says.
“The biggest thing I’ve been hearing from people is, are there really over 50 places?”
“But there’s actually more. I missed a few.”
Talpak says shop owners in Cambridge are always ready to welcome.
“There’s not a grumpy shop owner among them. They are just so happy to welcome everyone back again. And these shops, they are just gorgeous.” Talpak said.
“What’s really interesting is that each has their own unique voice. I wasn’t seeing duplicates of things. And that really fascinated me. From shop to shop, it was so unique.”
Talpak says people can find some unexpected treasures in downtown Cambridge.
“I was very surprised how for many store owners, it was very important to be buying ethical and sustainable goods. That really surprised me,” Talpak said.
“And when it comes to food, they are very conscious that there are gluten free, soy free, or dairy free options. They all try to be very accommodating that way. They understand that this is very important, especially during the Christmas season.”
Local history can also be found in shops such as FJ Brown & Son Jewelers which is 130 years old.
“If you go in, the owner will share how the business started and there are photos on the wall of the original shop when it opened,” Talpak said.
“I think that we really have to come to the fact that if we don’t shop local, we will lose our local shops. And that’s so important.”
Kim Marsland, a florist at Blooms of Paradise in Hespeler, also agrees that local shopping is vital for the community.
“These shops are here for the community,” Marsland says.
“It’s personalized. You can bring your own vision to life. We offer that personal touch that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Marsland has over 25 years experience as a florist.
“Working here, I feel like I’m back to my roots being in this lovely small village,” she said.
“Here you can find something unique, and something different.”
Talpak says she has traveled the world, and shopping in Cambridge is as good as shopping anywhere.
“And all of these shops are so close together, all within a walkable distance,” she said.
Talpak started Amazing Cambridge Ontario YouTube channel in September 2021, showcasing ‘all things Cambridge’.
She has shared information about local fairs and festivals, shopping, hiking trails, history and events. She says that the most reported comment from viewers is, “I didn’t know that!”
“Now that I’ve made this video, I can finish my own holiday shopping,” Talpak said.
“I encourage everyone to visit downtown. You will be so pleasantly surprised at what these shops have to offer.”