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Just last week, the Synergy Merchant Services Blog visited the topic of city retailers fighting to stay open during the holidays, in an effort to cash in on potentially large sales days. And just yesterday, Urban Affairs Bureau Chief, David Rider reported in The Toronto Star that Toronto stores may have just gotten their wish.
Writes Rider: “The economic development committee voted 5-1 Thursday in favour of removing an oft-flouted rule that makes it illegal for most Toronto stores to open on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and Family Day.”
Committee chair Kyle Rae noted that with Toronto’s multi-cultural population, not all of these nine holidays are observed by everyone. In fairness, he feels that residents deserve to make their own choices on how they would like to spend these days, and where they would like to spend them. Rae, who represents Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale, added that he generally celebrates Christmas Day by going to the movies.
Howard Moscoe of Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence, once opposed the concept of shopping on Sundays. Now, Moscoe intends on figuratively waving “the white flag of surrender”. He plans on voting in favour of holiday shopping when it goes to a vote in May, remarking that “it’s the right thing to do.” Moscoe acknowledges that his vote will respect and accommodate the differences and traditions of the people of Toronto.
Said Moscoe: “Society in Toronto has become that kind of civil society that we didn’t have when I grew up in Toronto as a kid. I think most employers will take their employees into account” if they exercise their legal right to refuse work on a holiday.”
Case Ootes of Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth, on the other hand, believes that Torontonians already have enough opportunities to go shopping throughout the rest of the year. “It’s only nine days a year,” he said, citing the difficulty in getting his entire family together for dinners on Sundays due to conflicting work schedules as a reason to vote against holiday shopping. “That doesn’t happen on these nine days,” he insisted.
John Kiru, the executive director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, believes that opening up stores during the holidays is only fair. The ethnic diversity of the city, he believes, speaks to the fact that all citizens must be taken into account when passing laws meant for the city to follow.
To date, so-called “tourist zones” including Vaughan Mills and Pacific Mall, which both resignate just outside of Toronto’s borders, have allowed Torontonians to shop during the holidays. This, some argue, has provided an unfair advantage to some retailers.
However, in just a few more weeks, the rest of the city’s shops may have the playing field levelled. Things are a-changing. And it seems as if shopping in Toronto will be allowed on holidays after all.