Seven lucky reasons to explore High Street this winter

The High Street area is one of Edmonton’s shopping gems, with fixtures like Call the Kettle Black, Carol’s Quality Sweets and Vespucci, and have recently welcome newcomers like Harlow and Carbon Environmental Boutique. It’s also a great place for dining, with several of Edmonton’s favourite restaurants nearby.

 Here are just a few reasons to visit this great area!

High Street’s familiar storefronts. Photo credit: Randy Brososky

1.   Shop local

 Nearly all of the businesses in the area are locally owned, with the exception of a ubiquitous Starbucks. Some of the shops have a long-standing presence in our city — like La Favorite Pastry Shop which has been in business for nearly 30 years. Shopping local makes a significant impact on our economy, keeping upwards of 50 per cent of the money spent in the community, compared to 18 per cent when you shop at a chain. So, vote with your dollar, and help these local businesses, and our city, thrive.

2.   Stay for lunch … or dinner

High Street may be a shopping destination, but it’s also a great draw for foodies. Classic Italian cuisine at Violino Ristorante, casual fare at the Manor Cafe and Urban Diner, and great pub grub across the street at Original Joe’s makes for great eating. Besides, who likes to shop on an empty stomach?

Head down the stairs to delight in Red Ribbon’s boho chic wares. Photo credit: Jeanette B.

 3.   Great fashion

Fashionistas rejoice! High Street has something for every age and budget. The superlative Vespucci is one of the best consignment shops in the city (and my personal favorite store, ever), and offers great quality and high end clothing for spectacular prices. The Pear Tree has beautiful and unique women’s clothing, geared toward a more mature crowd, but still with tons of funk and style. Elevate Activewear has more than just what you’d wear to the gym, and Cloud Nine Pajamas is the definition of cozy. And for the coolest in boho-chic check out Red Ribbon.

 4.   Easy parking

One of the challenges with most boutique areas is that parking is always an issue. But not so in High Street! There is ample parking in front of both phases of the shopping areas, and with the current bridge closure on 102 Avenue, traffic is lighter than usual so parking is rarely a problem.

 5.  Specialty food

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So much cheese! Photo credit: Kristin K.

If you want to explore the world of cheddar — and beyond — Paddy’s International Cheese Market is the place in Edmonton to go. La Favorite Pastry Shop makes delectable goodies for nearly every palate, and if grapes are your thing, few wine sellers in the city are as knowledgable as the fine folks at the Wine Cellar. And of course, there’s always Carol’s Quality Sweets to feed your sweet tooth.

 6.   All is Bright Festival

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Fire dancers at the All is Bright festival. Photo credit: Razvan Ghiteanu

On Nov. 22, 2014, the 124 Street Business Association’s annual winter festival of light takes over the entire area with no shortage of indoor and outdoor fun. Many of the area businesses are hosting musicians, and there will be an outdoor stage right in front of Carbon for fire performances, street performers and music all day. Several local restaurants are opening their patios, and Santa can be found inside Prettiest Presents. The official lighting of the lights happens at 6 p.m., after which the party pumps up a notch with a DJ dance party, and then moves to Nosh Cafe after 8:30 p.m. With street hockey and sleigh rides and food trucks, it’s bound to be a fantastic winter day!

 7.   Great gifts

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Lux Beauty Boutique: cosmetics junkies unite! Photo credit: Funmi O.

Need something special for your grandma? Your kid’s piano teacher? Your piano teacher?! Look no further than the lovely High Street gift shops. Prettiest Present not only offers gorgeous trinkets and gifts for sale, but will also wrap your treasure so it is, indeed, the prettiest present you’ve ever given. Harlow stocks unique decor, select clothing and delightful objets d’art, and Call the Kettle Black has the perfect kitchen item for the chef in your life. Carbon Environmental Boutique has a uniquely green outlook that strives to help consumers make healthy and ethical decisions while not skimping on lifestyle luxuries. And for the beauty-lovers in your life, Lux Beauty Boutique has every product — from moisturizer to lip gloss — to make them blush and gush with happiness.