TORONTO -- Greater Toronto Area shoppers are being urged to spend their hard-earned money in Canada by shopping locally during the American "Black Friday" blitz on Nov. 30.

Yellow Pages Group launched an initiative Monday called "Shop the Neighbourhood," encouraging GTA residents to buy from local stores between the popular American "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" events held on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 respectively.

Yellow Pages says over 50 business improvement areas (BIAs) across the GTA have signed up to participate in the initiative.

It aims to generate support and awareness for small local businesses in the GTA and also for the Ontario economy.

One hundred stores participated in the first pilot called "Shop Local" held in Oakville, Ont., last February.

At the kickoff Monday evening, Ontario deputy premier Deb Matthews compared shoppers to voters.

"They forget that they actually vote on what stores stay open and what stores close every time they go shopping," Matthews said.

"So if people started to think about their shopping dollars as votes for what businesses thrive or survive, I think they might think differently about where they shop and how they shop."

Yellow Pages senior vice-president Doug Clarke said the Nov. 30 event is meant to support the local Ontario economy.

"It doesn't mean folks still aren't going across the border to buy some stuff because there are good deals, but we'd like to support our local community and economy as well," Clarke said.

Small businesses in Ontario contributed to a quarter of the national GDP in 2011, according to Industry Canada.