Buy Canadian

By Joanna Wiseberg

When planning your next event or incentive, you will inevitably be thinking about what to give. It’s more important than ever right now to keep our dollars in Canada. There are a multitude of products available in our own backyard; all you have to do is ask. Canadian-made is becoming top of mind for many clients. Here’s a sampling of a few Canadian treasures to consider when planning an event or incentive travel.

Canadian Made Awards. Glass or crystal awards are available in Inuit and Native themes. Some of these have a spiritual theme which can compliment your event. If you have a client that requires special attention, try a casted paper award where the logo is embossed from the back to create a beautiful, unique and elegant relief image, complete with matting, framed and an engraved plate. These exquisite designs are definitely a conversation piece. This is a product that marks a milestone.

Leather Products. There is nothing that speaks quality like a leather product, boxed, wrapped and bow tied. Travel bags, passport wallets with matching memo notebooks, garment bags, toiletry kits, jewelry rolls, luggage tags – these types of leather products can be given as a collection instead of a “one-off.” Depending on your price point, you may want to start with the least expensive and follow up with a matching item for a later event. Leather is always available in a many finishes and the sky is the limit as to what can be created using different colours and textures. Differentiating yourself from your competition is more important than ever in this economy and customizing is the way to do it.

Tumblers and Beverage Wear. Yes, it is true, Canadian made mugs are available. I would recommend using a decorative method like a full-colour wrap or an etching that enhances the logo to make this tried and true product a keeper.

Apparel. There is lots to choose from in this category ranging from comfy 1/2 zip sweatshirts, polar fleece scarves/toques, chunky knitted sweaters, golf wear, jackets and caps. Again, the ability to customize is amazing and the minimum quantities are low. You don’t have to order thousands.

Spa products. Choose from local artisans who produce eco-friendly soaps, herbal based lotions and shampoos, and even home grown herbal teas. I’ve had the experience of purchasing home-grown peppermint tea from a local artisan in West Sutton, Ont., and it was the best peppermint tea I’ve ever had.

Remember, as the client you have control when products are ordered from Canadian suppliers. Ask your vendor to source Canadian products that are available locally. In addition to keeping business in Canada, shipping costs are lower, and you can at least pick up the phone if you have any concerns. Let’s get Canada back on track and support our local manufacturing businesses.

About the author

Joanna Wiseberg is president of Red Scarf Promotions. Read her blog at, or visit her site at

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