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discount

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Travel Deals

Image by Vectorportal

By Carissa Bluestone

Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada, which according to a recent poll by Hotwire.com, is the traditional time of year when Canadians go to US hot spots like New York, Las Vegas and, um, Minneapolis. Unless you’re heading to Toronto (the #1 destination for the holiday weekend), you’re likely travelling away from the hordes and it’s not too late to snag a last-minute deal: Air Canada is having a 20%-off sale on all Western Canada cities through October 6, plus sales on Ontario-bound tickets, which means you can still make it to the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, the country’s largest Thanksgiving weekend event. And VIA Rail tickets are up to 75% off for the holiday weekend. For more-luxe fun, most big resorts like those overseen by Tourism Whistler are still offering last-minute discounts and holiday packages that include a turkey dinner.

Frugal Faves: Yuk Yuk’s and Holiday Sales

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

Yuk Yuks is sure to get anybody laughing (photo by ECohen)

Yuk Yuk's is sure to get anybody laughing (photo by ECohen)

Comedy on the Cheap
Giggle and guffaw at the hilarious on-stage antics at Yuk Yuk’s comedy club for only $3 every Tuesday evening. The well-known venue’s weekly amateur night features two separate performances that are sure to tickle your funny bone and bust your gut. The early show at 7:30 p.m. is highlighted by original routines by students from the Humber College School of Comedy. At 9:30 p.m., audiences laugh (and cringe) during an open-mic showcase for budding local stand-ups. The pocket-change ticket price covers both shows, while full bar service and snack foods are available for purchase throughout the night. Yuk Yuk’s amateur night runs Tuesdays year-round, starting at 7:30 p.m. $3; call 416-967-6425 to reserve.

Stylish Savings
Frugal holiday shoppers can find gifts for the whole family at the Bargains Group’s sixth annual Friends & Family Warehouse Sale. The popular clearance event is put on by Canada’s largest discount wholesaler and promises savings of up to 80 per cent on brand-name toys, men’s, women’s and kids clothing and accessories, bedding and more. On now until December 24. 890 Caledonia Rd.; click here or call 416-785-5655 for info and hours.

Save on scarves (and much more) at the Bargains Group sale

Save on scarves (and much more) at the Bargains Group sale

Donate your previously loved shoes, boots or handbags and receive $20 off any purchase of $100 or more during the Good For Your Sole promotion at Nine West. All footwear collected will be donated to local Goodwill stores to support job-training and employment services. On now to December 13 at Nine West locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.; call 416-977-8126 for details.

Find big savings on designer denim at trendsetter haven and celebrity hangout Over the Rainbow. Just print off this coupon and bring it to the Yorkville boutique to receive $35 off any purchase over $100. On now until December 24. 101 Yorkville Ave.; call 416-967-7448  for details.

Looking to spruce up your boudoir for a bargain? Don’t miss the discounted decor items up for grabs at the annual Umbra factory sale. Shop for contemporary accessories for your home and pick up stylish gifts like picture frames, clocks, wall art, bath products and more. December 12 and 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Direct Energy Centre; call 416-299-0088 or visit here for more information.

Frugal Faves: CN Tower and Harbourfront Centre

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

The CN Tower (photo by bensonkua)

The CN Tower (photo by bensonkua)

More Power to the Tower
Imagine a heap of food donations stacked as high as Toronto’s iconic CN Tower. While you probably wouldn’t want to stand on top of it, you may want to help build it. The CN Tower, in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank Holiday Drive, offers a 25 per cent admission discount to visitors who bring at least one non-perishable food item (such as rice, canned goods and baby food) to the Guest Services desk at the main entrance. You can gaze down at Toronto’s twinkling lights through the glass floor or enjoy the incredible view from the Sky Pod’s observation deck knowing that you helped the city’s neediest fight hunger this festive season.

Discounted admission may be used until January 4, 2010, and applied to any CN Tower ticket except CityPass and the Premier Experience. Call 416-868-6937 or visit the tower’s website for more information.

The Natrel Rink (photo by Jennifer Hart)

The Natrel Rink (photo by Jennifer Hart)

Lakeside Delights
With the first weekend of December looking mild this year (keep those frost-free fingers crossed!), it’s the perfect time to take a stroll around Harbourfront Centre and enjoy its free outdoor attractions. Kids can take free curling, skateboarding and freestyle-slalom this Saturday, or head to the Natrel Rink and spend some fun hours gliding across the ice (skate rentals are available). Afterwards, warm your toes by one of the controlled fireplaces among the trees overlooking Lake Ontario, or stare wide-eyed at the enormous boat installation in blue and red lights, one of the features of Toronto’s annual Cavalcade of Lights.

The Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay W.; call 416-973-4600 or click here for more information.

Frugal Faves: Gardiner Museum, Kidzfest and the William Ashley Warehouse Sale

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

The Gardiner Museum (photo by Shai Gill)

The Gardiner Museum (photo by Shai Gill)

Pay Less, See More
Nurture your passion for porcelain with a visit to the Gardiner Museum. On Friday evenings, admission is half price from 4 p.m. until closing time. The renowned institution’s permanent collection boasts more than 3,000 ceramic pieces  of Ancient American, Asian and European provenance, as well as many dynamic contemporary pieces by international artists. The current exhibition Bigger, Better, More: The Art of Viola Frey invites visitors to come face to face with whimsical, larger-than-life clay sculptures created by the late California artist. Through to December 10, a dozen spectacular holiday trees, decorated by some of Toronto’s top designers and architects, are on display in the museum lobby. And for a jump-start on holiday shopping, stop by the Gardiner Shop, which offers beautiful ceramics, glass, jewellery and more—perfect for the gift-giving season.

Admission to the Gardiner Museum is half-price every Friday, 4 to 9 p.m.; call 416-586-8080 or visit here for more information.

Child-friendly fun abounds at Kidzfest

Child-friendly fun abounds at Kidzfest

Festive Family Fun
Exotic animals and beloved cartoon celebrities invade Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend for Kidzfest, an annual holiday hootenanny for little ones and their willing parents. Part of the ongoing Winter Magic celebrations in the Downtown Yonge neighbourhood, the free event features kid-friendly activities, educational entertainers and zany stage shows. Budding young artists can make colourful creations in the craft tent and wildlife lovers will love the live jungle cat shows and birds of prey demonstrations. Popular characters like Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer are sure to create a frenzy during special meet-and-greet sessions.

Kidzfest runs November 28 and 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas streets; click here or call 416-597-0255 for further details.

William Ashley's warehouse sale is a bonanza for bargain hunters

William Ashley's warehouse sale is a bonanza for bargain hunters

China on the Cheap
Whether you’re picking up presents for loved ones or treating yourself this holiday season (hey, you deserve it!) you’re sure to find some stunning pieces at the 34th annual William Ashley warehouse sale. Savvy shoppers can save up to 90 per cent on a vast selection of name-brand china, crystal, flatware, and chic home decor items that are ideal for any gift-giving occasion. Hint: to avoid the crowds hit the sale on weekday afternoons between 3 and 6 p.m.

Sale on now to December 6. Monday, Wednesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekend 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Tuesdays). 62 Railside Road; call 416-964-2900 or visit here for details.

Frugal Faves: The Bata Shoe Museum and Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

View these Spanish chopines and more at the Bata Shoe Museum.

View these Spanish chopines and more at the Bata Shoe Museum.

Shoes on a Shoestring
A hot deal is afoot at the Bata Shoe Museum. Footwear fetishists can admire can admire a range of historically significant slippers, clogs, moccasins and more for pay-what-you-can admission on Thursday evenings year-round. And as a bonus, entrance to the museum is free on November weekends when you donate a new pair of socks as part of the annual Warm the Sole charity sock drive. From ancient silk sandals to Renaissance chopines to today’s sexy stilettos, the museum displays hundreds of shoes spanning the centuries.

PWYC admission is in effect Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. Free weekend admission with socks donation runs now through November 29. Visit here or call 416-979-7799 for more information.

The Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree lights up the Eaton Centre.

The Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree lights up the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Sparkle and Song
Kick off the festive season this Thursday, November 19, as the one-of-a-kind Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree is unveiled at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Thirty-five feet tall and adorned with 20,000 crystals, this rotating tree creates a constant shimmering effect that is sure to dazzle. Prior to the big reveal is a free, special-guest performance by acclaimed vocal quartet the Canadian Tenors, singing seasonal hits from their recently released holiday album. Now in its fifth year, this shopping-centre holiday tradition helps benefit the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada through the sale of commemorative ornaments.

The Swarovski tree reveal is scheduled between 6 and 7 p.m., on the second level of the Toronto Eaton Centre, near Indigo.

Frugal Faves: T.O. Tix and Festive Winter Windows

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

<i>Jersey Boys</i> swings it '60s style (photo by Joan Marcus).

Snatch up discounted tickets to Jersey Boys and other hot shows from T.O. Tix (photo by Joan Marcus).

Box-Office Bargains
Want to take in the hottest shows in the city without paying the hefty price? The T.O. TIX outlet is your one stop shop for exclusive deals on tickets for stage performances around the city. If you’ve got a flexible schedule (all tickets are for same-day shows) visit the booth at Yonge-Dundas Square to purchase half-price and discounted tickets to popular shows like Jersey Boys and Medieval Times. You can also purchase seats for select shows online.

T.O. TIX accepts Visa, Mastercard, debit and cash, and is located on the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas streets. Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 6:30 p.m; call 416-536-6468, ext. 40 or visit here for more details.

Check out the city's holiday window displays (photo by Jessica Napier).

Check out the city's holiday window displays (photo by Jessica Napier).

Take a Walk in a Window Wonderland
Get in the holiday spirit early by embarking on a self-guided tour of the festive window displays in and around downtown Toronto. At The Bay’s flagship store, Christmas creatures come to life alongside a working train and an animatronic Santa Clause in a series of Toyland vignettes. Explore the tony Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood and marvel at the dazzling high-fashion window decor at chic retailers like Holt Renfrew. And creative windows designed by retail management students at Ryerson University can be spotted at businesses throughout the Downtown Yonge area—you can even vote for your favourites online.

The Bay is located at 176 Yonge St., while Holt Renfrew resides at 50 Bloor St. W. To check out a map of Ryerson students’ holiday windows, click here.

Frugal Faves: Danier Leather Sale and the National Film Board

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto‘s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

Watch Canadian films at the NFB'S Mediatheque (photo by Desiree Butler).

View some CanCon at the NFB'S Mediatheque (photo by Desiree Butler).

National Film Board Flicks at Your Fingertips
Enjoy more than 5,000 Canadian films for less than a price of a cup of coffee at the National Film Board’s Mediatheque. Its cozy, state-of-the-art digital viewing stations offer an intimate cinematic experience—use the touch-screen monitor to browse through the NFB’s extensive catalogue and select from a collection of thought-provoking documentaries, innovative animated shorts, and Canadian screen classics. And for those on the go, the institution offers over 500 docs and animated movies through its new—and free!—iPhone application. With new titles added weekly, there’s always something new to watch.

Day passes to the NFB Mediatheque are $2 per person. Call 416-973-3012 or visit here for more details.
Pick up a sale-priced leather jacket from Danier.

Pick up a sale-priced leather jacket from Danier.

Danier’s Hot for Winter Sale
Cooling weather means hot deals on winter-lined jackets at Canadian clothier Danier Leather. Find discounts of up to 50 per cent on a variety of high-fashion leather coats for men and women. Be it a classic black bomber jacket or a sleek slim-fit coat in charcoal, the store has many styles to suit your silhouette and colours to complement your complexion. All sale jackets are lined with a detachable Thinsulate insulation layer that’s sure to keep you toasty and warm in the chilly conditions.

The Hot for Winter sale is on now to Nov. 11 at Danier locations across the Greater Toronto Area.

Frugal Faves: Marvel Beauty and Osgoode Hall

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto helps you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket. Check back each week for our thrifty tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more.

Get glammed up for a low price at Marvel Beauty Schools.

Get glammed up for a low price at Marvel Beauty Schools.

Salon and Spa Services by Marvel Beauty School
The cost for a cut, colour and style in Yorkville can run you well into the triple-digits. But not at the posh neighbourhood’s Marvel Beauty Schools, where you can treat yourself to professional grade salon and spa services starting at less than $10.

In the salon, help students  hone their skills by giving you a full haircut, updo, weave, colour highlights, perm—almost anything. In the spa, esthticians-in-the-making provide what’s likely to be the most inexpensive pedicure, body wrap, wax, massage or facial you’ve ever had. Don’t worry about fried hair or a botched bikini wax—students only work on clients once instructors decide they’ve had sufficient training, and supervisors watch with a vigilant eye while they work.

Salon open Mon. to Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Wed. to 7 p.m.). Spa hours are Mon. to Thu., 1 to 3 p.m. (Wed. to 7 p.m.), and Fri., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Learn about Osgoode Hall with a free audio tour.

Learn about Osgoode Hall with a free audio tour (photo by Five-two).

Free Osgoode Hall Tour
Beyond high cast-iron gates and beautifully manicured grounds sits Osgoode Hall, a landmark dating back to 1832. Devoted to all things legal, the Palladian-style building is home to the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Superior Court of Justice.

Inside, its Convocation Hall has been converted into a high-style lunchtime resto, but you don’t need to cough up the cash to enjoy it. Download the free audio tour of Osgoode Hall’s Convocation Hall to your iPod and explore the magnificent space without paying a cent. Allow the voice of Law Society curator Elise Brunet guide you through the Hall’s history and architectural changes, and provide background on points of interest in the room, from the ten stained glass windows to the carvings on the balcony railing.

Download the audio tour for free from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website.