Award-winning Glebe Spree turns shoppers into big winners
Alex Stecky-Efantis had no idea that playing trivia at Irene’s Pub could net him $1,000 cash. But after a second-place performance at the local pub, he dropped his Glebe Spree ballot in the box, and it was later drawn as one of five weekly cash winners. Instantly, Stecky-Efantis’ wallet was much thicker.
“The first thing we did was we told our trivia team,” said an elated Stecky-Efantis from his weekly haunt, Irene’s. He’s hoping to treat his trivia crew for all those witty answers they’ve come up with over the years.
“So next week, we are going to buy them all their dinner and get them drinks and dessert. It’s going to be fun,” he added. He’s planning on doing it all again on Tuesday, so he gets double his Glebe Spree stickers. But a thousand bucks goes farther than a dinner at a pub. With their first baby on the way, Stecky-Efantis and his wife will surely be making some trips to Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s for toys or to McKeen Metro Glebe for diapers and groceries.
It’s these kinds of perks that Glebe Spree winners have enjoyed over the years. Since the contest’s inception in 2011, nearly $100,000 has been given away to local shoppers – from the $10,000 grand prize shopping sprees and daily instant-win giveaways to the new $1,000 weekly cash prizes added in 2017. And what makes the contest even more exciting is that all of the winnings are spent in the Glebe, which supports our local businesses. Past winners have spent their prize on family vacations, groceries, dinners out with friends, toys, electronics, clothing, jewellery and self-care – pretty much everything you can think of.
“Glebe Spree has become a cherished neighbourhood tradition that adds to the magical holiday season,” says Glebe BIA Executive Director Andrew Peck. “We are grateful that our community is passionate about shopping locally and Glebe Spree is our way of spreading the holiday cheer.”
The contest has garnered the attention of the International Downtown Association, who awarded Glebe Spree a Pinnacle Award for its success – the highest honour in the industry – as well as the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, who recognized the contest at their annual awards ceremony in 2018.
But all of this success is thanks to the popularity driven by our customers and the engagement of our local businesses. Walking down Bank Street, it’s hard to miss the decals decorating store windows and the ballot boxes on nearly every counter. And the contest just keeps getting bigger and better each year; the new weekly $1,000 draws are what appealed to winner Kelly Kilrea, who said she rushed to get her ballot in early at Glebe Trotters for the first time.
“I just spent money and realized that it was the start of Glebe Spree and I remembered that there are the weekly draws,” she said. “It was the first time I have ever played early.” Kilrea still has that feeling of “unexpected joy” from winning the prize that she wants to spread that exact feeling around with donations and secret Santa gifts for loved ones.
“I think I will spend quite a bit of it making donations and then some of it for surprise gifts for people who aren’t expecting it,” added Kilrea. Other weekly $1,000 winners this year included Darlene Charron, Marjorie McLean and Leila Metcalf, who is donating half of her winnings to the Ottawa Food Bank.
Part of what has added to the excitement of the contest are the Any Day Prizes that are awarded almost daily throughout the contest period, where unsuspecting shoppers are surprised with $100 gift cards just for walking in on the right date at the right time. The contest wouldn’t be the same without the support of our local businesses, including our contest sponsors McKeen Metro Glebe and Audi City Ottawa, as well as all those who donated an Any Day Prize. It’s this constant dedication from members, businesses, and customers that makes Glebe Spree possible every year.
Stay tuned for the big winner reveal in January.