September 4, 2021
By: Lauren Lim
We are all constantly learning new ways to reduce our footprint on the environment, and sustainable tourism is a key part in that! Here in Oakville, we’ve got so many amazing local businesses and tourist practices that are kinder to our earth and don’t compromise the quality of our experiences. Read further to see my favourite ways to be a responsible tourist, and learn about the local businesses that make sustainability simple and accessible!
Tips on Being a Sustainable Tourist
Eat local: As we think of sustainability, a large part is supporting local livelihoods which means family-owned and small-shop businesses. When you’re looking for a bite to eat, do a little research to see what amazing food our locals are cooking up!
Stay local: Choose a local bed & breakfast or inn when staying overnight! With so many cozy and welcoming spots, it’s easy to give back to Oakville’s trusted hotels and enjoy a little local hospitality.
Avoid overcrowded areas: Be kind to surrounding residents, other tourists, and the land we walk on by visiting popular destinations during off hours or avoiding those overcrowded areas for lesser-known spots. Circle back to it during another time within your trip or have some backup spots just in case so we can help reduce littering, noise pollution and harm to the land.
Respecting residents/space: Oakville welcomes tourists with open arms, but let’s remind ourselves that this town is home to many people as well! Be mindful of any trash and noise created when exploring, as well as respecting residents’ privacy when it comes to photography and exploring new places.
Don’t spend all your money in one place: Instead of purchasing all your keepsakes and meals at one place, explore all the amazing shops Oakville offers! Let our Talk of the Town Awards help you find exactly what you’re looking for, whether it be the best spa, sandwich spot or florist.
Bring reusable items: This can be as simple as bringing reusable tote bags, refillable water bottles, and reusable or paper straw from home, and opting for sustainable alternatives like ice cream cones versus cups to reduce plastic waste.
Transportation: Carpool with family members and friends in your bubble, and walk or bike around when possible! Especially if you’re coming in from far away, try to offset your environmental impact by using more eco-friendly transportation methods when in town.
Offsetting: When travelling, choose a more eco-friendly practice that counterbalances the environmental impact of an activity that is essential to your lifestyle. For example, while driving to Oakville may have been the most accessible and feasible way to get here, try opting for local overnight stays and walking around as your method of transportation when you’re here!
Purchase mindfully: Is this purchase a necessity or something that will actually be used? Try to think of multiple times and ways you can use it before purchasing, or take some time and think about it! Look for naturally-made, locally-made and fair trade items when you’re buying your souvenirs.
Now that you’re all geared up with some sustainability tips, let me show you some must-visit spots in Oakville where sustainability is at the core.
Ten and Co
414 Speers Rd | Website | Instagram
This bright and airy general store is full of eco-conscious home goods essentials! From your home, to the kitchen, to self-care, Ten and Co. has it all. This successful wholesale retailer just opened its doors last week at 414 Speers Rd.
The Swap Kit 1.0 is a great beginner kit for those who want to make a sustainable switch but don’t know where to start.
This kit helps you out by making essential swaps. Here’s what it includes:
- Refillable Hand Soap by The Bare Home
- Sponge Cloth by Ten and Co.
- Dishwashing Soap Bar by Corktown Soap
- Scrub Brush by Redecker
- 2 piece Enamel Soap Dish by Ten and Co.
- 3 Beeswax Wraps in collaboration with Mind Your Bees x Ten and Co.
- 1 Large Organic Cotton Canvas Bag by Ten and Co.
To get your little ones involved, The Kids Kit 1.5 is also available!
Their sponge cloths are also an absolute MUST-buy. At just $6 apiece, and available in a variety of colours and patterns, it replaces up to 17 rolls of paper towels! Every sponge cloth is designed here in Canada and manufactured in Sweden. Made of cellulose (wood pulp)/cotton, it is 100% biodegradable meaning you can toss it in your organic bin once you’re done with it!
These environmentally-friendly items make perfect gifts for birthdays, housewarmings, hosting gifts and more. More of their products include tea towels, fabric bowl covers, salt soaks, shampoo and conditioner bars, blankets, reusable totes, makeup, reusable containers and more! At Ten and Co. there is no need to choose between functionality, sustainability and aesthetic – they’ve got it all.
Plato’s Closet Oakville
355 Iroquois Shore Rd #2B | Website | Instagram
Thrifting clothes has never been easier. Plato’s Closet is the “it-spot” for purchasing trendy clothes at a fraction of the price. You can sell your preloved items to get cash back, and they will screen each item to ensure it is in fashion and good quality. With their target audience being teens and young adults, you won’t have to sift through countless items to find something you love.
Walking around the store, every aisle is jam-packed with a variety of styles and sizes. As we ramp up to the fall season, the sales floor has an abundance of warm jackets, fluffy coats, boots and more.
At the front of the store, they even highlight name brands such as Aritzia or TNA, ensuring you can get those styles you’ve been eyeing for much cheaper. They sell pants, skirts, shirts, jackets, active wear, purses and jewelry for both men and women.
293 Lakeshore Rd E. | Website | Instagram
To add a little sparkle to your newly thrifted wardrobe, Bluboho is the store to visit. Not only is Bluboho ethically-sourced and handcrafted, but their bohemian touch and steps toward sustainability seals the deal.
As I walked around the room, I was welcomed by warm vintage touches from the thrifted decor and fresh flowers sourced from local florists. I overheard conversations of customers buying jewelry for their loved ones, for weddings and engagements, and even just to commemorate special relationships.
Bluboho firmly believes in putting their guests first in every nook and cranny of their business model. They adopt a gratitude-focused mindset in order to look beyond their shops in their own impact, informing their sustainability and ethics practices.
This fine jewelry handcrafted in Toronto is made from recycled gold and their stones are ethically-sourced. All their packaging is linen and natural, and they offer $5 off a purchase if the buyer forgoes any packaging. Bluboho also pledges a minimum of 1% of sales to organizations working to find solutions to the environmental crisis.
From dainty necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings, you are sure to find unique pieces that your loved ones will treasure forever.
Lettuce Love Cafe
326 Kerr Street | Website | Instagram
As I walked into this vegan restaurant, I was immediately greeted by a friendly cashier and saw their colorful, illustrative menus decorating the walls. The decor is homey and cozy, with an option for an outdoor patio. If you have a little one, there is also a booster seat available.
I decided on ordering the avocado fries and the pure chocolate love smoothie, which was the perfect sweet and salty meal combination. Although I was a bit skeptical about trying vegan food, the flavour absolutely blew my mind.
All their ingredients and products are sourced from sustainable, fair-trade, non-GMO sources that are also local and organically farmed when available. They take special care in being mindful of their own sustainability, compassion for sentient beings, and health.
The next time you’re thinking about eating out, make sure to visit Lettuce Love Cafe to enjoy a healthy, mindful, eco-friendly meal without sacrificing the taste! Paid parking is available on side-streets, and free on weekends.
For the top five vegan restaurants in Oakville, check out our 2019 Best Vegan Menu Talk of the Town Award! These awards highlight the best institutions Oakville has to offer based on feedback from locals and visitors. You’re sure to find your new favourite spot with the help of these curated lists.
240 Front St. | Google Maps
Looking to enjoy some relaxing, quiet time in nature? Dingle Park will become your new spot.
With curbside parking available on the streets that line it, it is accessible and far from any major streets, reducing loud noises. Enjoy the Lake Ontario view with the sound of crashing waves, a cool breeze, and the sights of boats and watersports as you sit upon some rocks.
You’ll find large areas of grass before reaching the rocks at the edge of the water, perfect for picnics, or pulling up your own lawn chair to sit and relax. Picnic tables and benches are available for your own use, as well as walking paths to other lakeside parks.
As you walk along the edge, lush green trees will be looming above you, adding to that picturesque local getaway you’ve been looking for. For more ways to enjoy Oakville’s natural beauty, check out these great itineraries we’ve created for enjoying the outdoors in a sustainable way! Click each link to learn more details and outlined instructions.
Uncover the world of birding with this day long outdoor itinerary
Step back in time with Oakville’s Black History bike tour
Explore Kerr Village with this self-guided Black History walking tour
How to spend one day hiking Oakville’s extensive trail system
Experience the best of biking with this one-day Oakville Cycling Itinerary
Now you have everything you need to explore Oakville sustainably! With so many amazing local businesses and spots that have sustainability at their cores, reducing our footprint while exploring has never been simpler. I hope you found these tips helpful and can take them wherever you plan on going next.