Presented in partnership with Willow Park Village

We all like to shop for the holidays differently. Some people are already done, while others like to wait until pretty much Boxing Day to get started. I’m somewhere in between, I like to browse, circle around stuff for a few weeks and then pick it up when I know it’s the perfect gift.

This holiday season, Willow Park Village and I have teamed up to celebrate good ol’ shopping, the small town way.

The great thing about Willow Park Village is that it really is a village. You can park you car once and then spend hours popping in and out shops, just like you would a small town. It’s a feeling that’s hard to replicate and one that I’ve experienced in places like California. If you live in the area of Willow Park, I can imagine seeing your neighbours has you are shopping and waving a friendly hello. A small town feeling, right in the middle of busy Calgary. That’s pretty cool.

In between shopping, you’ll likely need to find a few boosts of energy along the way, which is where I come in. I’ll never pretend to be a shopping expert, but eating as a form of refreshment, that’s my jam. Pun intended.

At Willow Park Village, you’ll find a great mix of brands you’re pretty familiar with like Starbucks and Booster Juice, but also find some more local choices like Meez and Made.



Meez is a brand new discovery to me, but clearly I’ve been missing out. I posted on Twitter about going to Meez the first time and it practically broke the internet. Apparently Calgarians are well aware of this cute shop that specializes in ready-made heat and serve meals featuring fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. The creations of well known Chef Judy Wood includes appetizers, soups, stews, entrees and desserts no additives no preservatives only wholesome free range and natural ingredients. As someone who loves delicious food, but is never going to be good at making it, Meez is a delicious stop along the way.

Made Foodsjpeg-image-5f610687b593-1

This place is definitely a Calgary success story. Since opening just over a year ago, these guys have opened up eight shops and Willow Park is lucky enough to have one of them. I say “lucky” because as someone who literally dreams of living near a Made Foods, for the residents of Willow Park, this one couldn’t be closer. Made Foods features freshly prepared, tasty meals without the time spent shopping, prepping and cooking. Now I got your attention, don’t I? You can pop in to bring a meal home, or they have microwaves right there in store, so you can heat up your lunch or dinner, and keep shopping. Trust me when I saw the egg salad sandwich is the best egg salad sandwich you’ll ever have.

Booster Juice


If you don’t have time to stop and eat, Booster Juice might be right for you. You might not know that Booster Juice was actually created by an Albertan named Dale Wishewan. What started as Dale trying out different smoothie flavours at his kitchen table, has turned into a business featuring 300 locations around North America! Talk about an Albertan success story! Even as the temperature dips, you’ll find a cool smoothie, featuring natural ingredients, exactly what you need to stay on target and stuff those stockings. Pick up a Strawberry Sunshine for me while you’re at it.



Have you guys heard of Starbucks? Of course you have. And while it’s not secret that Starbucks serves delicious holiday treats (I’ll take seventeen peppermint mochas, please), can I tell you how much I love a particular bistro box. It’s the Peanut Butter and Jam one, and it features mozzarella string cheese, ranch dip, vegetables, apples, milk chocolate-covered raisins and yes, a peanut butter and strawberry sandwich. I cannot emphasize enough to you how many of my favourite things are in one tiny box. A dash of your childhood, but grown up enough because it’s called a Bistro Box. What more could you ask for.

Those are just some of my favourites, but I’d also add to the list places like Springbank Cheese, Second to None Meats and Crave Cupcakes. So much deliciousness. No wonder we start celebrating Christmas two months early.

To help kickstart your shopping (and snacking) for the holiday season, I’m giving away a $50 gift card to Willow Park Village. To enter, simply head to the comments section below and tell me your favourite shop or restaurant at Willow Park. Click here to see the impressive list to choose from.

Contest closes December 1st.

Mike Morrison


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