LiveLocalKW 2017 is almost here!

LiveLocalKW 2017 is just over a week away and we couldn’t be more excited! So far we have 35 awesome local businesses who have singed up to offer you great deals during the campaign.

If you’re new to LiveLocalKW, it is a challenge to eat, shop, and play local for one week. All you have to do is sign up, and you’ll receive a badge that you can show at local businesses for sweet deals. For those of you that have participated before, we have lots of great new businesses being featured for you to check out, or you can return to some of your local faves.

From September 17-23 we challenge you to find local alternatives for the spending that you do. Being aware of where you spend your money is a great start, plus we’ve gathered these awesome discounts for you to take advantage of.

Follow us on social media @LiveLocalKW or by using #LiveLocalKW.

If you haven’t seen it already, you can also check out the article that the Community Edition wrote about this year’s campaign here.

Local business owners that would like to participate still have time to join. It’s as easy as filling out this form.

Stay tuned for more updates and we hope to see you around!

LiveLocalKW Lives On

We’ve just spent the last 3 weeks settling. Waiting for feedback to come in, chatting with friends who participated in the challenge and thinking about what’s next for LiveLocalKW. Here’s what came up:

We were so happy to see LiveLocalKW double this year. Last year, we had 150 people and 45 businesses sign up for our challenge. This year we saw those numbers grow to 315 and 82, respectively. Our social media grew from 800 followers on Twitter to 1600+ and our Facebook page has 250 likes and more than 350 people clicked attending on our Facebook event. We also garnered coverage from 15 different media outlets and bloggers!

With that, we’re confident that LiveLocalKW has a chance to grow so we’re definitely going to be doing it again. Next year, we’ll have a more people working behind the scenes and hopefully that’ll help us reach more people and more businesses. If you’d like to help us out, fill out our feedback surveys (people / business) or drop us a line at

We’re also going to keep the campaign going yearlong with monthly newsletters and regular updates. Sign up for our mailing list here and keep tagging your local adventures with #livelocalkw to highlight our community year round!

Thanks again for all of your support. We do it for you!

The Thank Yous

Time flies and just like that, LiveLocalKW is over for 2015. I wanted to give thanks to those who made LiveLocalKW possible this year.

Our sponsors: Uptown Waterloo BIA, Downtown Kitchener BIA, Westmount Signs & Printing, Matt Smith Photography, the Community Edition, LSPIRG and Your Neighbourhood Credit Union.

Featured Businesses: 100 Mile Gifts, Breadbaron Sandwiches, Elite Training Facility, FENIGO, House of Angels Spa, Household China and Gifts, Kitchener Citizen, KW Professional Organizers, Living Fresh Flower Studio & School, Organics Live, Paint by Munzy, Pure + simple, Social Art, Sweet and Savoury Pie Company, The Hive and Grove and YMCAs of Cambridge and Waterloo.

Event organizers: Anna & FoodlinkWR, Marc & Princess Cafe, Kalin who organized Fugitive, Charlotte, Eric & NerdNiteKW, Marc & Theatre on the Edge and the KW Poetry Slam team.

People behind the scenes: Lakyn Barton (graphic design), Bashar Jabbour (programmer), Megan at Bayleaf Buttons, Rebeccah Redden (video), Henry (posters).

Janice Lee (theme song writer & performer) and video friends: Katherine, Brockenshire, Layla, Bashar, Juan and Dahli.

What LiveLocalKW Really Needs stars: Laura Munz, Samantha Kristoferson, Emilio Jose Garcia, Dave Jaworsky, Berry Vrbanovic and Sarah Fitzgerald.

Many thanks to everyone who shared their opinions, feedback and advice with me and to the businesses who participated in LiveLocalKW. Big thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge, spread the word, came to the events and wrote about us.

You rule, KW.


How to Play Local

This year we’ve prepared a local treat just for you. We’re excited to announce a week full of LiveLocalKW events brought to you by just a few of the many organizations in KW. Come try something new (or a reliable favourite), meet other LiveLocalKW participants and build community with us. Here’s what’s in store:

Sunday, September 13:
Foodlink WR’s Taste Local! Taste Fresh!
2pm – 5pm at Steckle Heritage Farm
Come meet the farmers who grow our food and taste amazing food creations prepared by top chefs from the region. Enjoy the delightful Flamenco Gypsy music of Juneyt.
Facebook Event

Monday, September 14:
Princess Café’s Trivia Night
9pm at Princess Cafe
Bring a team and try your chops at Trivia! Come early for dinner and to grab a spot.
Facebook Event

Tuesday, September 15:
Fugitive – LiveLocalKW Edition
8pm – 10pm, meet at King St. and Frederick St. in Kitchener
Fugitive KW! is an active city-based game combining elements of tag, hide-and-seek, and urban exploration.
Facebook Event

Wednesday, September 16:
Nerd Nite KW Geek Week / LiveLocalKW special edition
6:30pm – 9pm at Communitech
Join us for a special edition celebrating our local nerd and geek culture! Trivia, games, and presentations all focused on nerdy local facts and themes.
Facebook Event

Thursday, September 17:
Theatre on the Edge Improv Night
8pm at Button Factory Arts
Enjoy a night of improv created by local players and you! the audience.
Facebook Group

Friday, September 18: TBA

Saturday, September 19:
Words on the Beat, Fire on the Mic: Spoken Word & Song
7pm at Cafe Pyrus
Prepare yourself for an evening of words: words that make you want to dance, words that make you want to snap, words that empower, words that raise your consciousness!
** We’ll be collecting Toonies for Cheating at this event in support of Foodlink WR **
Facebook Event

We made you this calendar too.

Show us some love and challenge yourself to #livelocalkw! And don’t forget to spread the word!

Steel Rails 2015

If you’re one of the lucky 400 people who got to ride Steel Rails last Friday, you’ll know that LiveLocalKW had our very own little room in car four. Here’s a peek at our night.

IMG_2061Above is from the boarding pass and below is what our room looked like pre-boarding. We were going for a bulletin board-type feel and we got everything from local businesses and events. Try to find your favourites!

IMG_2038 IMG_2039 IMG_2040 IMG_2041


And here are some photos courtesy of The Community Edition of the night’s activities:

steelrailsphoto1 steelrailsphoto2

We learned a lot about KW. We learned a bunch of sweet stuff like where you met the loves of your lives or where you bought your first homes. We learned where you’ve had your heart broken and where you’ve had to live with evil cats. We learned about important milestones like where you treated your family for dinner with your first pay cheque or where your businesses first began. Thanks to booze and Steel Rails spirit, we also learned hilarious secrets like where you took it from behind or where you kayaked on shrooms (a tag that was often mentioned when people asked how scandalous their moments could be).

While we meant to sign people up for LiveLocalKW, the spirit of the night took us in another direction and that’s kind of the magic of Steel Rails; you go in expecting one thing and come out with a huge smile on your face anyways. Instead, what we saw was an awesome grassroots celebration of KW, an acknowledgement that our cities act as markers for the moments that change our lives. We think this means we should take better care of our cities and that’s what drives LiveLocalKW.

Thanks to the team at The Community Edition for hosting, inviting us to participate and helping us out pre- and post-event. Thanks to all the businesses that donated their swag for the bulletin board walls and thanks again to Bayleaf Buttons for the pins. A big, big thanks to Laura Munz from Paint by Munzy for materials and keeping us sane (also pre- and post-event).

We’re taking our map on to a few more events if you want to add your moments. We’ll be at Train Station Thursdays on July 9th and 23rd. Stay tuned for more events and news on sign ups. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter in the meantime.


We’re back, folks!

Thanks to your enthusiasm and heartfelt adoption of LiveLocalKW 2014, we’re back for another year and this year will be bigger and better than last! Mark your calendars, LiveLocalKW 2015 will be the week of September 13 to 19, 2015.

What’s new this year:

Sponsorship: Help us make LiveLocalKW awesome and grow our community. We’re accepting sponsors until June 19. Find out more about that here.

Featured Business Option: We want to help you grow your business. Sign up as a Featured Business to get a few extra perks or sign up as a participating business.

Pledge Early: Last year we gave you a month to sign up. This year, we’ll start taking pledges at your favourite art party on a train and throughout July, August and September.

Events: We’re working hard with community organizations to bring you a LiveLocalKW event each day of the week so you can meet new friends and connect with our community.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all our news.

Want to know more or just say hi? Shoot us an email at

ICYMI – Love Letter to You



Read this one with the same opened-mindedness and curiosity you had when you first met Live Local KW. Read it when you don’t fear you’ll miss the bus or your stop. Read this one sitting down.

For the last week, we have decided to take a look into our lives and think about how we’re spending our time, our energy and our money. This alone is an amazing accomplishment. We are actively working together to affect change in our community. To me, this week has especially instigated change in my life in the following ways:

  • I’ve eaten healthier than I have in years. I’ve purchased my food from local farmers and prepared it myself this week. When I’ve grabbed a bite out, I’m supporting businesses that I know I can trust to care about the food they serve.
  • I feel more of a connection with the products I buy. I have a better understanding of their value which reduces unnecessary waste from buying disposable items. I also trust where they come from and feel more comfortable making informed decisions about where I want my money to go.
  • I’ve met so many people. When we know our neighbours and our neighbours know us, we’re held accountable to our decisions. We ensure that we’re engaged to make important decisions that affect our community and better understand the implications of them.
  • I’ve felt unparalleled pride to live in a community where we support each other’s dreams, enthusiastically lend our help to them and enjoy sharing in the rewards of social entrepreneurship.

I invite you to take a few moments today to reflect on your Live Local KW experience and I hope your week is full of insight.

I can’t thank you enough Kitchener-Waterloo (and beyond). To the businesses that took a jump of faith to join in a never-before-heard-of-or-done event, thank you. To theparticipants who committed to trying my wacky idea for a week, thank you. ToKatie Parkes and the Grand Social team, as well as Sean Gilders and SnapKW, thank you SO much for being there in a pinch to show Live Local KW how to play locally. To Juanita Metzger and Hilary Abel, thank you for being so inspiring and reassuring me that KW would back me up. A big thanks too to Matt Smith, photographer and Allison Leonard, graphics wizard. To my family, friends and my trusted life/media consigliere, thank you a million times. You rule. I cry pretty lightly (I am known to cry during a particularly touching tourism promotion video for Colombia), so take this as you may: I am tearing up writing this. I cannot wait to see what we’ll accomplish together for #livelocalkw next year.

Locally yours,

Let’s talk local politics

I’m probably preaching to the choir here but local politics impacts your day-to-day life in incredible ways. Yesterday was the last day for nominations in the October 27th municipal elections. We’re proud to have the following folks participating in the Live Local KW challenge and stepping up to make our cities and our region a better place to live, work and play:

Angela Vieth
Berry Vrbanovic

Bob Mavin
Dan Glenn-Graham
Dave Jaworsky
Diane Freeman
Elizabeth Clarke
Erika Traub
Fauzia Mazhar
Greg Burns
James Howe
Jane Mitchell
Karen Scian
Melissa Durrell
Sarah Marsh
Shelly Reed

A special shout out to Dan Herman and Cathy MacLellan, Qualified Nomination Contestants for the Waterloo Federal Liberal Party.

Whether you know a little or a lot about local politics, make sure to read the Cord Community Edition’s Shape the Debate during this election. The CCE is trying a new approach to covering elections, I think it’s on a good path and can’t wait to see more of it.

Live Local KW starts tomorrow! Hope you’re signed up, ready to go and as excited as I am. Don’t forget to spread the word (sign ups will be allowed during the week) and keep us updated with your local happenings using #livelocalkw.

Locally yours,

Update: since Live Local KW started, we’re proud to have the following politicians join us for the challenge:

Catherine Fife
Margaret Johnston
Steve Strohack
Tessa Jennison

Thank you!