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Canadian Only was originally established as “Canadian Only Web Links” directory in 2000 by founder, Leslie Wilson. Wanting to support Canadian businesses, Leslie became frustrated when, no matter which search engine and keywords she used, she consistently received International results.
She decided to create a directory with “Canadian Only” listings, spending countless hours researching businesses and their ownerships by personally investigating each and every one.
While businesses frequently change what they do, and they get bought and sold, Canadian Only does its best to maintain accuracy. We’re a small team, so if you spot errors or changes, please notify us.
We continue to grow and expand this site by bringing you listings ranging across all interests. Please like and follow us on Facebook, subscribe to our Canadian Only Magazine blog, and advertise your business with us!
Places we’ve lived, stayed and explored
What We’re About
Canadian Only provides information and links to all things Canadian.
We’re not an online store and no purchases can be made on this site. We simply provide a directory so that visitors can choose from “Canadian only” resources (instead of filtering through a multitude of international resources that search engines return). This is how we’re encouraging Canadians to “buy local” and support our economy.
Canadian Only content is sourced by real humans. This meaning that each link is initially checked for Canadian ownership; there are no bots involved! We personally check each site to minimize links going to sites that don’t align with our purpose (unlike most sites that use an automatic submission process). It takes longer, and it’s worth it.
Search by your location or interest. You’ll get only links relevant to your search, quick and simple. Our search engine (near the top of the home page) returns results only from this website. See disclaimer and how to use this website.
Or ‘her-story’ as told by founder, Leslie Wilson
In the beginning…
Canadian Only is all about Canada. Right from the start (year 2000) its purpose was to provide information about Canada. The idea began as a project. I wrote the html for the website and put it online. When I think of what it looked like compared to now, I just shake my head, because it really was dreadfully ugly. It was a huge learning experience while I searched for listings (links) located in Canada and owned by Canadians, with some exceptions, of course. Having a full-time job, the first 10 years was slow and somewhat steady.
2009 to 2010: A new incarnation
During 2009 and 2010, Canadian Only had a lot of changes, and this was with the help of Pam, Annie and Buddy.
A friend, Pam Moorlag, brought some renewed enthusiasm to the Canadian Only project, and together we began adding thousands of listings to the website. There were an awful lot of fun times, some down times and a few serious times as well.
Annie Zed, a talented graphic designer and long-time friend, re-created an entirely new look for Canadian Only. The site became way prettier and easier to use. It most definitely set us apart from the rest of the Canadian directories found online. This was also when Annie designed the Canadian Only logo that you see at the top left of every page. Isn’t it great?
Buddy Canuck was brought into the whole Canadian Only experience, initially as a ‘temp’. He just kind of lingered on after that. We can’t really specifically say what his position is, but we sure have lots of fun with him!
2011 to 2020: Gradual growth
During these years, Canadian Only was being maintained by yours truly. The listings on the website continued to be all human-edited, found either by site submissions or research. The Did You Know boxes were slowly being filled with information, trivia and unusual facts; this was being done just as fast as my little fingers could go. Well, even Rome wasn’t built in a day, eh?! I added content with more emphasis on tourism in Canada. I also improved the Canada-wide pages. Changes to the areas within the provinces also changed slightly. Incidentally, these areas were never meant to be compared with regions in tourist guides. There were some changes to the design, but the general overall look created by Annie Zed was kept, and that definitely set it apart from any other directory out there.
As time permitted, this is what I was doing – plugging away at adding links and other Canadian content to the site. Because, as I've said for years and years: “Build it and they will come.”
2020: Complete refresh
The year 2020 was one of those years when we all saw a lot of change. In October 2020, Annie suggested we give the website a facelift. With that said, Canadian Only started a total reconstruction of the website – and a massive change I might add! So once again, Annie came to the rescue and worked on the most beautiful site. This is the year for Canadians to come together; to learn about, explore, shop local and love our country and it became our intention to be a leader of this new way of being!!
With two of us managing this humongous site (re-launch in February 2021), Leslie and Annie jointly collaborate on this website to make it the largest source of truly Canadian content: business directory listings, things to do, trivia, stories, facts, travel info, entertainment, facts and Did You Know boxes to inform our visitors. We’re committed to keep it all nicely categorized and organized while still managing to keep an attractive-looking site!
Did you know?
Canada Only Trivia
Canadian Only Facts
Date of inception
2010 and 2020
Ranging between 300 and 500 pages
Staff known as
Main industries at Canadian Only
Research, review, write about Canadian businesses, artists and artisans
Canadian Only national holidays
All the usual ones, and then some
Professional sports at Canada Only
Sitting, web-surfing and laughing
Source: Government of Canada Maps
Usually jovial and indoors for most of 2020.