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Loblaw Resets All PC Plus Passwords Following Security Breach

Loblaw Resets All PC Plus Passwords Following Security Breach

By Simon Hung

If you’re a member of the popular PC Plus loyalty program, you’ll need to create a new password to access your account, because Loblaw has reset all account passwords following a security breach.

PC Plus is used in over 20 Loblaw-owned grocery stores across Canada and this is the second time in less than a month that the company has issued a security notice to its members regarding the breach, which compromised an unknown number of accounts and resulted in points being stolen.

Upon entering the PC Plus site or opening the app, all members will need to create a new password, even if they had already changed them recently -- note that password changes cannot be done through the app and must be done via their website. Loblaw has issued a statement saying that the breach was likely a result of some members using weak username and password combinations across multiple sites.

It’s unknown when exactly the breach occurred, but a thread was created in our Shopping Discussion forum in December 2016 after a member discovered that their points were missing. Any PC Plus members who suspect their points were stolen should contact customer service via email or phone (1-855-672-7587) to have their points reimbursed.

The 2017 Free Tax Software Roundup for Canadians

The 2017 Free Tax Software Roundup for Canadians

By Simon Hung

Spring may not begin until March, but tax season is already here and it’s easier than ever to file your income taxes with the help of tax software.

NETFILE -- Canada Revenue Agency’s electronic tax-filing system -- will begin accepting electronic transmissions starting February 20 and the deadline for most individuals to file their 2016 personal income taxes is May 1, 2017.

There are dozens of programs you can use to file your taxes and many are completely free! To help you decide which one is right for you, we’ve listed a few NETFILE-certified programs -- note that any pricing reflects the suggested retail price, but you can often find paid software for less at stores like Best Buy or Costco.

Free programs are exactly that -- free. There's no financial commitment, but some programs offer a "pay what you want" option and accept donations. All of these free programs will file your tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency, but some are basic iterations of software and offer more features with a paid upgrade.

Free Programs
Program
Platforms
Overview
Price
Web
Full program is free, promises a return in under five minutes, website design is dated
FREE!
Windows
Full program is free, comprehensive return options
FREE!1
Web, Windows
Returns for all tax scenarios are free, able to import past returns, extra features require paid upgrade
FREE!
Web
Full program is free, clean interface, maximum refund guarantee
FREE!1
Windows, Mac
Full program is free, step-by-step tutorials available
FREE!1
Web, Windows, Android, iOS
Basic returns are free, mobile apps available, extra features like deduction searching require paid upgrade
FREE!
1These programs accept "pay what you want" donations.

Free-to-start programs operate with a "try before your buy" strategy, where you're able to use the full program and fill out your return, but you'll have to pay a fee to actually file your return with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Free-to-Start Programs
Program
Platforms
Overview
Price
Web
Website is buggy, free to fill return, must pay to file with the CRA, cheapest paid option
From $5.99
Web, Android, iOS
Mobile apps available, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
$9.99
Windows
Cluttered interface, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $7.99
Windows, Mac, Linux
Linux support, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $6.99
Web
Free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $9.98
Windows, Mac, iOS
iOS app available, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA, step-by-step tutorials, confusing website
From $9.95
Windows
Comprehensive return options, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
$12.99
Web, Windows, Android, iOS
Mobile apps available, more features than free version, free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $19.99
Web, Windows
Can import from other software, free to fill return, must pay to file with the CRA
From $17.95
Web
Free to try and fill return, must pay to file with the CRA, website design is dated
$12.99

Paid programs require an up-front payment before using the software, but these programs are usually very robust and offer more features to help maximize your refund. These programs are also generally well-known and have a history of providing reliable tax returns.

Paid Programs
Program
Platforms
Overview
Price
Web, Windows
Paid version includes features like multiple returns, auto-fill, curated tips and product support
From $14.99
Web, Windows, Android, iOS
Mobile apps available, available in most retail stores, includes features like multiple returns and deduction searching
From $14.99
Web, Windows
Paid version includes features like multiple returns, business returns and product support
From $21.99

Whichever program you decide to use, there are some general tips that you should keep in mind when filing your taxes.

  • Free programs offer a maximum of 20 returns per computer, as mandated by the CRA, since the software is meant for individual use only
  • Gather all necessary tax forms and receipts before filing your return to streamline the process. H&R Block has a useful checklist you can use for reference
  • Filing your return online is instantaneous, but it's a good idea to file early to avoid headaches and last-minute procrastination panic -- note that some individuals may also be subject to a late-filing penalty
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions in places like our personal finance forum or seek advice from a professional for more specific questions
  • You can file your taxes the old-fashioned way by downloading your province's tax package and sending your return to the CRA via mail

Taxes used to be a major headache, but many of these programs are easy-to-use and you won't even need to dust off your calculator to file your return! Be sure to let us know which program you'll be using this year and share any other tax tips you have!

Free Family Day 2017 Events Across Canada!

Free Family Day 2017 Events Across Canada!

By Ambia Staley

Family Day is just around the corner, and if you plan on spending it with your family, you might be looking for some fun and affordable options -- and what better option is there, than free?

Whether it's called Family Day, Louis Riel Day, Islander Day, or Nova Scotia Heritage Day in your province, there are plenty of events going on in most cities, including free skating at local ice rinks, or free games and activities at local libraries and community centres.

If you're looking for something free and fun to do over the long weekend, then mark your calendars and take note, as we've journeyed through the internet and compiled a list of some free events happening around Canada!

Alberta (Family Day: February 20)

Calgary (February 17-20) -- GLOW Downtown Winter Light Festival
Calgary (February 20) -- RBC Free Family Skating
Edmonton (February 20) -- Family Day at City Hall & Churchill Square
Edmonton (February 20) -- Family Day at the Legislature

British Columbia (Family Day: February 13)

Brnaby (February 13) -- Family Day Pancake Breakfast
Surrey (February 10-13) -- Free Skating, Swimming, and other Activities at Recreation Centres
Vancouver (February 13) -- BC Family Day Activities at Douglas Park Community Centre

Manitoba (Louis Riel Day: February 20)

Winnipeg (January 12 - February 26) -- Arctic Glacier Winter Park
Winnipeg (February 20) -- Community Day at the Forks

Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Heritage Day: February 20)

Halifax (every day) -- Free Skating at Emera Oval

Ontario (Family Day: February 20)

Province-wide (February 18-20) -- Ontario Family Fishing Event (no license required)
Various cities (February 20) -- RBC Free Skating Events
Toronto (February 20) -- HarbourKids North
Toronto (February 20) -- Family Day at Purina PawsWay
London (February 20) -- Family Day at the Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush
London (February 20) -- Free Skate Presented by the Heart & Stroke Foundation
Oakville (February 20) -- Make Your Move Family Day
Kitchener (February 20) -- Family Day Activities and Events Around Town

Prince Edward Island (Islander Day: February 20)

Charlottetown (February 20) -- Islander Family Fun Day
Stratford (February 17-20) -- Stratford Winter Fam Fest 2017

Saskatchewan (Family Day: February 20)

Province-wide (February 18-20) -- Family Fishing Weekend (no license required)
Regina (February 20) -- Storybag Drop-In at Sunrise Library
Saskatoon (February 17-26) -- Waskesiu Snow Days at Prince Albert National Park
Saskatoon (February 20) -- Cameco Family Day Skating Party

Note that while these most events are advertised as free, certain things such as food, or equipment rentals may require additional payment. We've excluded Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut from this list as they do not have a statutory holiday in February.

What are your plans for the long weekend? If you'll be attending any of these events, or know of other free events in your area, let us know in the comments below!

Zellers: They’re Still Alive, If You Know Where to Look

Zellers: They’re Still Alive, If You Know Where to Look

By Simon Hung

Tucked away in a nondescript mall in Toronto's west end and a shopping plaza in suburban Ottawa lie two remnants of a past era. Two relics from Canada's bargain shopping heyday of yesteryear -- the two sole survivors of a franchise that once numbered over 300 in the 1990s.

Zellers became effectively extinct in 2011 when parent company HBC sold the leases of all 220 locations to the Target Corporation for their ill-fated expansion into Canada. However, reports of their death were greatly exaggerated, as many didn’t notice HBC’s quiet revival of the Zellers brand two years later and there are two locations that remain open today -- one at 1255 The Queensway in Etobicoke, ON and another at 2065 Robertson Road in Nepean, ON.

Zellers in Nepean, Ontario.

They’ve been open since 2013, but you won’t find much advertising for these two stores. In fact, the stores aren’t listed on the HBC store locator and you won’t find any mention of them on the HBC corporate website -- it makes sense, given the stigma surrounding the Zellers brand after their sale and association with Target.

But these aren’t your typical Zellers stores. Instead, they act as outlet centres, selling past-season, clearance and open-box merchandise from Hudson's Bay and Home Outfitters at a discount. Products are sold as-is with no returns or exchanges and selection typically varies depending on the season.

At over 95,000 square feet, the Zellers in Etobicoke acts as the surprising anchor store in an otherwise unremarkable Kipling Queensway Mall, with other tenants including Sobeys and a number of small businesses.

Zellers in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Those who remember Zellers will be hit with a sense of nostalgia upon walking into the store. It’s an esoteric yet familiar feeling, as the massive store features drab lighting, crude organization and handwritten signs -- there’s an organized chaos about everything that preserves that classic Zellers vibe.

Crowds were sparse and there was no music to keep your mind occupied, which meant you could easily hear patrons rummaging through stock or the pitter-patter of shoppers walking around the store. It’s not the most ideal shopping environment, but you do feel a strange, almost tranquil sensation when perusing the store.

Apparel

At a glance, approximately 70% of the floor space was dedicated to apparel, with a bounty of clothes, shoes and accessories marked down by up to 70% off, some with extra savings on top of the label price. Most of the items seemed to be summer or fall fashions and included casual shirts, sweaters, pants and sleepwear from brands including Calvin Klein, Dockers, IZOD and more.

Apparel was the most prominent section in the store.

There was a notable lack of any outerwear (with the exception of HBC’s iconic red Olympic mittens) and items were loosely arranged by brand, with sizing generally on the larger side across the board.

There was a plethora of shoes available, including this wall of boots.

The footwear section was the most chaotic area of the store, with many customers jockeying for space along the shelves and walls packed with various shoes -- from sandals to sneakers to boots -- all organized by size.

Appliances and Kitchen

Both major and small appliances were available in this store, with refrigerators, ovens and dishwashers among the most prominent major appliances. Most major appliances featured an extra 15% off the label price while small appliances were priced as-is.

There were over 100 refrigerators lined along one side of the store.

There were a few notable small appliance deals including a Vitamix Pro Series 300 Blender for $487.99 (regularly $649.99) and a T-fal OptiGrill for $155.99 (regularly $249.99), but almost all small appliance products were open-box (the Vitamix blender included no box at all), indicating that these may have been product returns at one point. While the savings were significant, purchasing an open-box product would be a gamble, as all sales are final and there’s no method to thoroughly test items in-store.

Products with open or damaged packaging was a very common sight.

Cookware and dinnerware sets were also available, but with the same caveat as small appliances, as most boxes were either open or damaged. Dinnerware in particular was noteworthy, as most products also included an extra 50% off the label price, which made some sets as low as $25.00.

Furniture and Home Décor

Towards the back of the store lay row upon row of couches, sofas, recliners and chairs at up to 60% off, along with a small selection of mattresses. Most chairs were priced individually while most mattresses featured an extra 25% off the label price. A delivery service is available for an additional fee.

One side of the store was lined with chairs.

Home accoutrements included some canvas artwork, a small section with towels and bath accessories, along with a few aisles of bedding, including sheets, blankets and pillows. All home décor products were new and priced as-is. Colour selection was not great, particularly with bedding, as there was abundant stock of neon orange and bright green sheet sets available.

There were no big-ticket electronics like televisions or video games and the deals weren’t outstanding, but this store does serve a niche of bargain hunters who don't mind the limited selection or roughed-up packaging. It isn't for everyone, but there are deals to be found for the savviest of deal hunters.

The days of this location may be numbered, as the Kipling Queensway Mall is slated for demolition in the near future and as a result, could make the Nepean store the last surviving Zellers location by the end of the year.

Overall, the 2017 Zellers experience was one part thrift store, one part outlet store, with a shopping experience similar to Winners but with far less selection and some questionable product quality. For a chain that once thrived and went to the brink of extinction, Zellers has found a way to survive and outlive the likes of Target, American Apparel and HMV. It may not be the Zellers you once remembered, but its spirit lives on in these two very unique stores.

Shoutout to wilson_wu for creating this thread in our Shopping Discussion forum, which served as the inspiration for this piece.

12 Multi Purpose Makeup Products That Will Save You Time and Money

12 Multi Purpose Makeup Products That Will Save You Time and Money

By Ambia Staley

If you're one of those people who wear makeup on a regular basis, but find your makeup bag is getting full and your wallet is getting empty trying to keep up with the latest Instagram beauty trends, you may be looking to simplify your routine. Luckily, that's a lot easier than you think, and it doesn't involve cutting out "unnecessary" steps like brows, highlighting, and contouring! Simply take one look in your makeup bag, and you'll find that many of your favourite products can serve multiple purposes in order to get you the polished look you desire.

Pulling out fewer makeup items when you get ready in the morning is not only a great way to keep your wallet filled, but it could also help shave time off your daily routine, which could then be used for more important things -- like sleeping in an extra 5 minutes in the morning. Whether you're thrifty, pressed for time, or just plain lazy, check out our list of multi purpose makeup items that will help save you time and money!


1. Clear Mascara as Brow Gel

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Clear - $3.46 at Walmart

Clear mascara is typically used to prime, groom or separate your eyelashes, as well as build natural looking length and volume. Now that bold and well sculpted brows are a trend that does not seem to be going away any time soon, you can pull double duty with the clear mascara and use it to set your brows and keep any stray hairs in place.


2. Translucent Powder as Lash Plumper or Dry Shampoo

Translucent powder already has a variety of uses when it comes to completing your makeup, such as setting your foundation, concealer and other face makeup. If you're looking to make the most out of the colourless powder, you'll be happy to know it serves a few other useful purposes as well. If you're looking for voluminous lashes, but don't own a lash primer, simply apply one coat of mascara, and then dust the translucent powder on your lashes before topping it off with a second coat of mascara.

Translucent powder is also an essential for many people with oily skin, as the powder is known to soak up access oils while helping your makeup stay put. If you wake up finding your hair a little greasy, but don't have time to shower, you can substitute your translucent powder for dry shampoo in a pinch. Simply shake a little of the powder into your roots and then rub it in with your fingers to soak up access oils in your hair.


3. Lip Balm as a Highlighter, Brow Gel, or Cream Eye Shadow Base

Lip balm is probably one of the most versatile products to keep in your makeup bag. Not only is it great for moisturizing and adding some sheen to your lips, but if you're looking to add a dewy glow to your skin, you can pop some balm along your cheekbones and other areas of your face in place of a highlighter. In addition to it's use as a highlighter, the thicker formula of colourless balms make it useful in place of a brow gel to tame your brows in a pinch.

If you're a fan of cream blushes or eye shadows, it's also useful to keep balm on hand to help transform your favourite powdered makeup to the cream variety. Simply mix some balm with your powdered eye shadows or blushes for a more sheer and glossy look. The bonus of switching out some powders in your makeup routine with lip balm is that the moisturizing effect it will have on your skin-- which is especially great during dry winter months.


4. Lipstick as Cream Blush

A lot of people have trouble matching their lipstick to their blush, and a quick Google search will reveal an almost endless amount of articles on the subject. Save yourself the study time and avoid a potential makeup disaster, by simply using your lip colour on your cheeks as well!


5. Blush as Lip Colour or Eye Shadow

Just like lip colour can be used as a blush, you can use your favourite blush to add colour to your pout. Both cream and powder blushes work for this shortcut, and they tend to give lips a matte finish, which is the trend for lipsticks right now. If you're going to use your blush as a lip colour however, just be sure to prep your lips with balm first as most powders and even some creams can dry them out.

If you're looking for a great pink or red eye shadow, but find them a little hard to come by, you can easily blend some cream or powder blushes onto your lids for a rosy flush. Just be careful not to go overboard with the pinks or reds, or you'll look less like an English Rose, and more like someone with a severe pollen allergy that just stumbled into a rose garden.


6. Eye Liner as Eye Shadow or Highlighter

NYX Slide on Pencils - $10.00 each at NYX

If you're without your favourite eye shadow palette, or find it way too complicated to create a smoky eye, there's no need to worry, as your favourite eyeliner pencil can also work as a shadow! Simply colour in the areas of your lid you'd like to dress up, and blend it out to achieve the look of a shadow. It's also a much easier to work with than a shadow if you need to layer on colour, as it's less messy and much more precise.

If you've got a nude eyeliner handy in your kit, you can also use it as a precise highlighter for your face in narrower areas like your cupid's bow, the bridge of your nose, or the inner corners of your eyes -- just be sure to clean off the tip of the pencil before sticking it in your waterline to avoid potential eye infections!


7. Clear Lip Gloss as Highlighter or Brow Gel

If you're using a clear lip gloss to add shine to your lips, you can also use it to add shine to areas of your face you'd like to highlight. Glosses tend to be a bit sticky, so it might not be the ideal thing to swab on your cheeks, but it's great in a pinch as a dewy highlighter.

The slight stickiness of most glosses will however come in handy when it comes to your eyebrows. If you're looking to keep the stray hairs in place, you can set your brows with a bit of lip gloss instead of a brow gel.


8. Contour Palette as Eye Shadow

If you want a more natural eye makeup look, just reach for your contouring and highlighting palette! Most people who match their controur correctly will own a colour a few shades darker than their own skin colour, making it the perfect shade to naturally define the outer corners of the eyes as well as your crease for subtle shading and definition. If your palette has a highlighter included, you swipe some of it along the inner corners of your eye or the centre of your lids to make your eyes appear bigger and more awake.


9. Eye Shadow Palette as Contour, Highlight, Liner, or Eyebrow Filler

Eye shadow palettes can be a bit of a splurge for some people, but if you choose the palette wisely, it will be useful for so much more than your eyes. Pick up a great nude pallete, and you'll have a series of browns and other neutral shades great for various areas of your face. Use a brown shade a bit darker than your skin tone as a contour for your nose, cheeks, chin, or anywhere else. Use a light beige, tan, white or another pale colour as a highlight for the bridge of your nose, cupid's bow, brow bone, or other areas you want to stand out. If you tend to go overboard with the contour and highlight, the small size of the eye shadow cake in palettes may keep you from applying too much.

If you find that your typical pencil, liquid, or gel eyeliners are a little bold for your taste, the browns and blacks in your eye shadow palette can also be used as a softer alternative for lining your lids. Various brown shades of shadow can also be used to fill in sparse areas of your eyebrows as an alternative to brow pencils and tinted brow mascaras.


10. Lip Liner as Lipstick

Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Liner in Cherry Kiss - $6.99 at London Drugs

This one may be obvious to most people, but if you're looking for matte lip colour that won't budge, just grab your nearest lip liner pencil and fill in your entire lip instead of just outlining the edges! Just be sure to moisturize your lips beforehand, as liners are known to be quite drying, and the lip liner can accentuate your flaking lips.


11. Eyebrow Pencil as Eye Liner

If you're looking for a bold eyeliner, this one is probably not the option for you, but if you're looking for a soft and subtle liner, you can try lining your eyes with your brow pencil. The wax in a brow pencil is typically a bit harder and more matte, but if you line your lids and blend it in, you'll be left with a more subtle and natural look to accentuate your eyes.


12. Mascara as Eye Liner

This last option probably sounds a bit strange, but if you're used to drawing on dramatic winged liner every day and you've somehow forgot your trusty liquid or gel eyeliner, mascara is a great substitute and it's a lot safer than using a Sharpie! You'll need a liner brush to pull this one off, but if you've got one handy, just use your brush to take a bit of product from the mascara wand and use that to line your eyes the same way you regularly would with your favourite liquid or gel liner!


The possibilities with makeup are endless, so there are probably an abundance of ways to use products that we missed on this list. Are there any cosmetics products that you use for multiple purposes? Share your tips in the comments below!

Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim to Win is Back for 2017

Tim Hortons’ Roll Up the Rim to Win is Back for 2017

By Simon Hung

It’s the annual tradition that unites Tim Hortons lovers and contest enthusiasts across Canada. A tradition so deeply ingrained into Canadian culture that it’s severed friendships and produced DNA test lawsuits -- it’s Roll Up the Rim to Win and it’s back for 2017!

Prizes this year include a 2017 Honda Civic, LG 55" 4K TV and more!

This year, there are a total of 294,069,480 contest cups available throughout the country with over $77 million worth of prizes available to be won, including:

  • 40 2017 Honda Civic Coupe EX-T vehicles (1 in 7,498,772 odds)
  • 100 $5,000 CIBC Prepaid cards (1 in 2,999,509 odds)
  • 150 LG 55" 4K UHD televisions (1 in 1,999,672 odds)
  • 24,000 $100 Tim Card prizes (1 in 12,498 odds)
  • 49,007,531 food prizes, including coffee, donuts and potato wedges (1 in 6 odds)

There’s also an overwhelming chance that you’ll see PLEASE PLAY AGAIN at least once, but that shouldn’t deter you from playing, as the thrill of the chase is part of the fun -- click here to view the official contest rules.

Interestingly, contest cups are not distributed evenly across the country, as you’ll find more cups in certain areas of Canada. We’ve charted the estimated cup distribution numbers below.

Region
Applicable Provinces
Number of Cups
1
British Columbia
20,916,600
2
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut
48,792,480
3
Ontario
154,202,040
4
Quebec
36,783,480
5
Atlantic Provinces
33,374,880

As a result, the number of prizes also varies by region and we've listed the total number of major prizes available in each region.

Region 1
Region 2
Region 3
Region 4
Region 5
2017 Honda Civic Coupe EX-T
3
7
20
5
5
$5,000 CIBC Prepaid Card
7
17
53
12
11
LG 55" 4K UHD TV
11
24
79
19
17
$100 Tim Card
1707
3982
12,586
3002
2723

In addition to the usual in-restaurant method, you can also play at home if you buy eligible Tim Hortons products, including ground coffee or K-Cups. Upload your receipt with the item listed and you could win one of two 2017 Honda Civic Coupe EX-T vehicles, one of five LG 55" 4K UHD televisions or one of 10,000 Tim Cards ranging in value from $5.00 to $100.00 -- click here to view the official play-at-home contest rules.

Roll Up the Rim to Win is on now until April 14 at all Tim Hortons restaurants and you have until May 4 to claim any prizes. Good luck and be sure to let us know if you win anything!

Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca Shut Down

Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca Shut Down

By Ambia Staley

In a sudden move, online retailer Shoes.com announced on January 27 that it would be halting business immediately.

All 3 of the company's online properties, Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca were taken offline, and its two physical stores in Toronto and Vancouver were closed on Friday.

Shoes.com employs approximately 200 people, who were also made aware of the closure on January 27. The company said in a press release that employees will be compensated through the end of January, although a small group are expected to stay on over the next few weeks as the retailer ties up loose ends.

The company is said to be working with its lenders in order to come up with a plan to liquidate its assets. Shoes.com also intends to file bankruptcy for all or some of its companies.

Shoes.com, OnlineShoes.com, and ShoeMe.ca reportedly served 8 million people across Canada and the United States. There's currently no word on liquidation sales, or how current customers can process returns and exchanges.

Are you surprised to hear about the sudden closure of Shoes.com and ShoeMe.ca? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

HMV Canada to Close All Stores Nationwide by April

HMV Canada to Close All Stores Nationwide by April

By Simon Hung

HMV, once one of Canada’s most popular physical media stores, has announced plans to close all 102 Canadian store locations by April 30, 2017.

The news comes after the company filed an application for receivership with the Ontario Superior Court, which was approved on Friday, January 27.

First opened in 1986, HMV had been struggling in recent years and the announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise to many, as the popularity of physical media has sharply declined with the rise of digital streaming.

Most of HMV Canada's head office staff has been laid off and in court documents, the company is said to owe $39 million to HUK 10 Ltd., a restructuring firm that lent money to HMV. The documents also indicated that the chain owes $56 million to various music labels and was losing $100,000 per day -- the company would have required upwards of $5 million annually to remain open.

Expect to see clearance sales in the coming weeks as stores clear inventory, making it a great opportunity to look for music, movies and memorabilia. Their website currently notes that everything is up to 30% off, but expect steeper price cuts as we inch closer towards the closure date.

Surprised by the announcement? Looking forward to sales on Nicolas Cage movies? Leave a comment to share your thoughts about the closure or any fond memories you have of HMV.

McDonald’s and A&W to Introduce All-Day Breakfast in February

McDonald’s and A&W to Introduce All-Day Breakfast in February

By Simon Hung

Breakfast sandwiches are no longer just for breakfast at McDonald’s and A&W, because both fast-food franchises have announced plans to introduce all-day breakfast nationwide in February!

McDonald’s will start serving all-day breakfast on Tuesday, February 21 while A&W will launch their all-day breakfast menu on Monday, February 27.

You'll be able to pair a McMuffin with french fries starting in February.

Earlier this month, we wrote about how McDonald’s was testing all-day breakfast at 17 restaurants and it looks like the testing was a success with the quick expansion. A&W, on the other hand, has experimented with all-day breakfast at 40 locations and the response has also been positive.

Both franchises will offer a limited menu at first with the possibility of an expanded menu in the future. McDonald’s will offer McMuffins, hash browns, hotcakes and sausages while A&W will serve their Egger sandwich, wraps and hash browns.

Let us know if you’re excited about this news and if you’re on Team McDonald’s or Team A&W in the comments!

February 2017 Video Game Release Dates

February 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

The new year started off strong with plenty of exciting game releases all throughout January. February's release list is much shorter than the previous month, however there are still a few anticipated titles being released, including Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android and Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book for PC.

If you're looking for something new to play, then it's time to get your snacks ready and your consoles booted up and check out the list of February's video game releases below!

  • Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance (PC) - February 1
  • Fire Emblem Heroes (iOS/Android) - February 2
  • Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS) - February 3
  • A House of Many Doors (PC/Mac) - February 3
  • Husk (PC) - February 3
  • Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book (PC) - February 7
  • Nights of Azure (PC) - February 7
  • Splasher (PC) - February 7
  • WWE 2K17 (PC) - February 7
  • Nioh (PS4) - February 9
  • De-formers (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 14
  • For Honor (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 14
  • Sniper Elite 4 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 14
  • Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (PS4/Vita/PC) - February 21
  • Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One/PC) - February 21
  • Night in the Woods (PS4/PC/Mac/Linux) - February 21
  • Ys Origin (PS4/Vita) - February 21
  • Lego Worlds (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – February 24
  • Constructor HD (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - February 28
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) - February 28
  • Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns (3DS) - February 28
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – February 28

Note that video game release dates may change due to various reasons, but we'll try to keep this list updated as news becomes available.

Will you be picking up any of February's new game titles? Let us know in the comments below!

RFD Quick Tip: Use Any Credit Card with Visa Checkout or Masterpass

RFD Quick Tip: Use Any Credit Card with Visa Checkout or Masterpass

By Simon Hung

When it comes to deal hunting, speed is essential and entering your payment information when shopping online can become tedious, especially when using a mobile device.

That’s one issue Visa Checkout and Masterpass are trying to simplify, as the two payment platforms have grown in popularity, with more merchants accepting the platforms online -- both platforms store your payment and address information to let you checkout quicker at participating merchants.

A common misconception with both is that some believe that you can only use a Visa card with Visa Checkout or a MasterCard with Masterpass -- that isn’t true! In fact, most debit and credit cards from Visa, MasterCard and American Express are compatible with both!

Look for the Visa Checkout logo when shopping online for a faster checkout.

Aside from a faster checkout, other benefits include increased security, as you don’t need to enter credit card information on multiple sites and the platforms are backed by two industry leaders in payment security. There are no additional fees and some merchants periodically offer increased savings -- in the past, Best Buy has offered $20.00 off $100.00+ purchases with Visa Checkout while Indigo has offered an extra 20% off all orders with Masterpass.

Masterpass lets you shop quickly and easily wherever you are.

Visa Checkout currently has a more extensive merchant list that includes Best Buy, Cineplex, Roots and Staples while Masterpass is accepted at merchants including Indigo, London Drugs and Newegg. There are some merchants that accept both platforms and both are committed to adding more stores in the future.

Merchants that accept either payment platform usually display their logo before your checkout process. To get started, visit the Visa Checkout or Masterpass websites to learn more and enroll!

Apple Exchange and Repair Program Roundup

Apple Exchange and Repair Program Roundup

By Simon Hung

Last week, Apple quietly ended their iPod Nano Replacement Program after five years, which let first-generation iPad Nano owners exchange them for a current-generation iPod Nano due to a battery defect.

Apple isn’t immune from manufacturing issues with their products and while antennagate, bendgate and other scandals with the -gate suffix usually make the headlines, Apple does address some of the more widespread issues through their Exchange and Repair Extension Program, usually free of charge.

There are currently 15 exchange and repair programs in effect, dating back to 2008 -- note that devices out of warranty but eligible for repair will be covered by the repair program. We’ve listed the active programs as of January 2017 along with a brief synopsis of each issue. If your device is listed, click on the program for more information and details on how to verify eligibility.

iPhone

Apple will fix iPhone 6 Plus devices affected by the "touch disease" -- for $189.
  • iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program -- some iPhone 5 devices sold between September 2012 and January 2013 may experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. Affected devices are eligible for a new battery replacement, free of charge.
  • iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Button Replacement Program -- some iPhone 5 devices manufactured through March 2013 may have a defective sleep/wake button that stops working intermittently. Apple will repair affected devices, free of charge.
  • iPhone 6 Plus iSight Camera Replacement Program -- some iPhone 6 Plus devices sold between September 2014 and January 2015 may produce blurry photos due to a faulty iSight camera component. Affected devices are eligible for a new iSight camera replacement, free of charge.
  • iPhone 6 Plus Multi-Touch Repair Program -- some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit flickering or unresponsive displays after being dropped multiple times. Also known as the “iPhone 6 Plus Touch Disease,” Apple will repair affected devices for a reduced service fee of $189.00.
  • iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues -- some iPhone 6s devices manufactured between September and October 2015 may shut down unexpectedly. Affected devices are eligible for a new battery replacement, free of charge. There are also unconfirmed reports of the program being extended to iPhone 6 devices in the near future.

Mac

  • iMac (27-inch) 3TB Hard Drive Replacement Program -- some 27-inch iMac computers sold between December 2012 and September 2013 with a 3TB hard drive may fail under certain conditions. Affected computers are eligible for a new hard drive replacement, free of charge.
  • MacBook Air Flash Storage Drive Replacement Program -- some MacBook Air computers sold between June 2012 and June 2013 with 64GB or 128GB of flash storage may fail due to faulty SSDs. A firmware update was issued to solve the issue, but if this didn’t solve the problem, Apple will repair affected computers, free of charge.
  • MacBook Bottom Case Replacement Program -- the casing on some MacBook computers sold between October 2009 and April 2011 may separate from the bottom of the computer. Apple will repair affected computers, free of charge.
  • MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues -- some MacBook Pro computers sold between February 2011 and December 2013 may exhibit video issues and unexpected system restarts. Apple will repair affected computers, free of charge.

Peripherals and Accessories

Some USB-C cables included with the 2015 12" MacBook may fail and are eligible for a free replacement.
  • Apple 5W European USB Power Adapter Exchange Program -- some Apple 5W European USB power adapters shipped from October 2009 to September 2012 may overheat and pose a safety risk. Customers with an affected power adapter are eligible for a redesigned adapter, free of charge.
  • Apple AC Wall Plug Adapter Exchange Program -- the two prong Apple AC wall plug adapters designed for use in Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil may break and create a risk of electric shock. Customers with an affected wall plug are eligible for a redesigned adapter, free of charge.
  • Apple Ultracompact USB Power Adapter Exchange Program -- the metal prongs on some Apple USB power adapters included with the iPhone 3G or sold as a standalone accessory may break off and remain in a power outlet, creating a risk of electric shock. Customers with an affected power adapter are eligible for a redesigned adapter, free of charge.
  • Apple USB-C Charge Cable Replacement Program -- some Apple USB-C charge cables included with MacBook computers or sold as a standalone accessory through June 2015 may fail due to a design issue. Customers with an affected cable are eligible for a redesigned USB-C cable, free of charge.
  • Beats Pill XL Speaker Recall Program -- the battery in the Beats Pill XL Speaker may overheat and pose a fire risk. All owners of a Beats Pill XL Speaker in any colour are eligible for an Apple Store credit or electronic payment of $395.00.
  • USB Power Adapter Takeback Program -- some counterfeit and third-party power adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. If you have safety concerns, Apple will dispose them in an environmentally-friendly way, free of charge.

Some of the more notable products include the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s -- even if your phone doesn't exhibit symptoms but is eligible for repair, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of any free repair programs to extend the life of your device. On the other hand, most of the other repair programs are for older hardware and may not be worth a repair, but it is nice that Apple has maintained support for obsolete hardware like the 2009 plastic MacBook.

Repairs or exchanges can be handled online, at an Apple Store or an Authorized Service Provider. Let us know if you've ever taken advantage of an Apple repair program or if you're planning to have your device repaired in the future!

Bell Increasing Prices for Internet, TV and Home Phone

Bell Increasing Prices for Internet, TV and Home Phone

By Simon Hung

Bell customers will have to pay more for their services as of February 1, 2017, as the telecom giant has issued an official notice detailing an upcoming price increase to internet, TV and home phone services.

The increase varies depending on service availability and region, with the biggest price hike coming to internet subscribers. We’ve detailed the affected services and extra monthly costs below.

  • Internet (all tiers, excluding Dial-up and High Speed LD bundle) - $5.00 increase
  • Fibe TV (all packages, excluding Starter) - $3.00 increase
  • Satellite TV (all packages, excluding Starter) - $3.00 increase
  • Home phone (all packages) - $2.51 increase

In what feels like Canada’s most unpopular annual tradition, Bell has attributed the price increase to higher operating costs and an investment of $3.5 billion to upgrade and maintain their network infrastructure. The company also noted a 40% increase in network traffic and listed a number of recent innovations including 4K broadcasts, fibre-to-the-home internet and updated apps.

The timing of this move is ironic, as many independent ISPs have recently cut prices and increased bandwidth thanks to a recent CRTC ruling. If you’re looking to save on internet, leaving Bell for a third-party provider could save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you’re with Bell, let us know if this news will prompt you to switch to another provider. Be sure to also visit our Ongoing Deals forum, where you can find a number of telecom deals found by our forum members!

Response to Data Breach Discovered on January 9, 2017

Response to Data Breach Discovered on January 9, 2017

By RedFlagDeals.com Staff

On January 9, 2017 at approximately 10:00 AM EST, we were notified of an unauthorized access to our forums database that occurred in 2013, resulting in usernames, emails and passwords being obtained by an unauthorized third party.

What happened?

In August 2013, a security vulnerability was exploited in our old forums platform – vBulletin – which allowed an unauthorized third-party to access our user database. This particular weakness was eliminated in subsequent security updates over the years, meaning such an incursion could not reoccur.

What information was compromised?

The database contained RedFlagDeals forum usernames, email addresses and an encoded password hash and salt.

Was the information stored in plaintext?

No. Your password is never stored in plaintext on RedFlagDeals servers. The leaked database may contain a text version of your password, which was reverse-engineered by the third-party using the password hash and password salt.

Why weren’t users notified immediately?

The compromised data did not surface until this past week – the stolen information has not been readily accessible over the past three years.

We have been investigating the breach to uncover what exactly happened which has resulted in some delays in response times. We apologize for any frustration this has caused but we want to provide all users with factually accurate information.

Who is affected?

All users who registered before August 28, 2013.

What are you doing about it?

We have disabled passwords on all accounts registered before August 28, 2013 and logged out all users. Logging out users was essential, as anyone with your information could have logged in and remain logged in as you, even after you changed your email or password..

What should I do?

We advise all affected users to change their passwords as soon as possible by visiting the password reset page. You will be sent an email with a temporary password you can use to log into your account. Afterwards, go to your account settings page to create a new password.

In addition, we strongly recommend changing the passwords to any other services or accounts you may have that utilize the same email address or password.

What security measures do you have in place to prevent this from happening again?

We migrated to a completely different forums platform – phpBB – and a new authentication system in August, 2016. This type of incursion would no longer be possible.

This new authentication system has additional layers of security and resides on separate servers. If our forums were to be compromised, your information is safe and cannot be obtained. We also conduct regular penetration tests and security updates.

I am still having trouble with my account. Who should I contact?

Please send an email to support@redflagdeals.com and we will address your issue as soon as possible. A thread in our Site Suggestions forum is also available if you have more questions.

TekSavvy and Other Independent ISPs to Cut Prices or Increase Speeds

TekSavvy and Other Independent ISPs to Cut Prices or Increase Speeds

By Simon Hung

You may get more bang for your buck in 2017 if you’re a customer with TekSavvy, Start.ca or another third-party internet service provider, because some independent ISPs will be lowering their rates or increasing internet speeds!

The move comes as a result of a CRTC ruling from October 2016 that found wholesale high-speed access rates to be unreasonable. Nearly all independent ISPs resell broadband or cable services from Rogers or Bell and now that they can access the service at a lower rate, some are passing the savings onto their customers. There is a small catch, as the CRTC ruling is on an interim basis, so the savings may be changed once a regulator finalizes the ruling later this year.

TekSavvy and Start.ca are two popular independent ISPs that have already cut prices, as many customers were notified in December via email of upcoming changes to their plans, with the new rates taking effect this month.

A 25/10 plan from Start.ca with 300GB bandwidth now has unlimited bandwidth for the same price.

The savings will vary depending on your plan, but some customers saw their bill reduced by as much as $10.00 per month while others received bumps to internet speeds or bandwidth increases at no additional charge. For example, forum member SeeWhy2 was able to save $9.95 per month and get an extra 10 Mbps in download speed from Start, while Dpack22 will be saving $9.00 and getting a 5 Mbps bump from TekSavvy. New customers will also benefit, as many plans have been updated with lower prices or higher bandwidth.

On the other hand, don’t expect to see any savings if you’re with one of the Big Three (Rogers, Bell or TELUS), since they own the infrastructure and do not save money with the CRTC ruling. In fact, Bell will be increasing their home internet packages by $5.00 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rogers or TELUS follow suit. Nonetheless, more competition is always a good thing and it’s refreshing to see companies lower rates for a change.

Let us know if you’ll be paying a lower internet bill or if you're with another internet service provider that we didn't mention that is doing the same!

Nintendo Switch Presentation Roundup: Release Date, Pricing, Upcoming Games, and More!

Nintendo Switch Presentation Roundup: Release Date, Pricing, Upcoming Games, and More!

By Ambia Staley

For anyone looking for more details about the upcoming Nintendo Switch console, the wait is now over, as Nintendo officially dished out the details! Streamed live from Tokyo while many Canadians were sleeping soundly late Thursday night, the presentation revealed the release date, pricing, upcoming titles and more.

If you didn't get a chance to watch the entire show, here's our roundup of some of the most important details revealed during the Nintendo Switch presentation.

Release Date & Pricing

The Nintendo Switch hits store shelves this March

Probably the most important information gamers are waiting for is the information on when they can buy the Nintendo Switch and for how much. Starting off the presentation, Nintendo revealed that the Nintendo Switch will hit store shelves in North America on March 3, 2017 with a suggested retail price of $399.99 in Canada.

Switch Features

More features of the system and Joy-Con remotes were revealed

Nintendo skimmed through quite a few features of the Switch in their presentation. One big announcement was that Nintendo will finally abolish region locking and Switch titles will be region-free. Nintendo will also be offering online multiplayer for many titles. This service will be free at launch, but will become a paid service in fall of 2017. More details surrounding pricing and online services offered will be announced at a later date.

Many of the features announced were repeats of last year's short video announcement, including different ways to play at home and on the go, as well as details about different ways in which the Joy-Con remotes can be used. Nintendo did offer a bit more information on the Joy-Con remotes however, noting that each side can be used as a fully functioning remote, and that they feature HD rumble for more realistic vibrations while gaming. It was also announced that the left Joy-Con features a square button meant to take screenshots while gaming so that you can share pictures with friends. They are also hoping to expand this feature to include video capture at a later date.

If you're playing the Switch console off the dock and on your tabletop or on the go, Nintendo mentioned that the battery life of the system is between 2.5 and 6.5 hours depending on the game.

Upcoming Games

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild finally receives a release date

Nintendo announced quite a few games that will be released either at launch or a later date. While there are 80 active titles in the works for the Switch, here's a look at a few of the titles announced during the presentation:

  • The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (March 3)
  • 1-2 Switch (March 3)
  • Arms
  • Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)
  • Xenoblade 2
  • Fire Emblem Warriors
  • Project Octopath Traveller
  • New "Shin Megami Tensei" title
  • Skyrim
  • FIFA

Product Configuration

A look at what's included with your Switch purchase

While exact product specifications were left out of today's presentation, Nintendo did reveal exactly what comes included in the box when you purchase the Nintendo Switch console:

  • Nintendo Switch Console (screen)
  • Left and right Joy-Con
  • Wrist strap
  • Joy-Con grip
  • Switch dock
  • HDMI cable
  • A/C Adapter

Nintendo also mentioned that when you go to buy the console, you'll have a choice between a system with grey Joy-Con remotes, or a system with one red and one blue Joy-Con remote -- both of which have the same retail price. Pro remotes will be available separately.

More info is expected to be released in the upcoming weeks as more presentations and hands-on events occur leading up to the Switch's release date.

Update: Nintendo's website just announced that the Switch and Play Preview Tour will be visiting Toronto's Metro Convention Centre on January 29, 2017. As of right now, this is the only Canadian tour date listed.

Did you watch the Nintendo Switch presentation? What are your thoughts on the console? Will you be picking one up? Let us know in the comments!

McDonald’s Testing All-Day Breakfast at 17 Restaurants in Canada

McDonald’s Testing All-Day Breakfast at 17 Restaurants in Canada

By Simon Hung

One year ago, RFD forums guru and self-proclaimed McDonald’s enthusiast Tom wrote about his positive experience with the standalone McCafé locations in Toronto and his dream of having the concept of all-day breakfast expand across Canada.

That dream has now become a reality, as McDonald's will be testing all-day breakfast at 17 locations in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec!

According to the Globe and Mail, participating restaurants are located in Coquitlam and Langley in British Columbia; Ajax, Brampton, Mississauga and Whitby in Ontario; and the Montreal area in Quebec. In our forums, BB8819 listed the participating restaurants in Ontario. We’ve reached out to McDonald’s to see if they can provide a definitive list of all locations and we’ll update this article once they give more details.

Ajax

Brampton

Mississauga

Whitby

This past December, McDonald’s introduced the Potato Rosti & Bacon Burger, which includes a hash brown patty -- it’s one way to eat their delicious hash browns past 11:00 AM, but it just isn’t the same.

McDonald’s all-day breakfast has been a success in the United States since 2015 and it’s an encouraging sign to see the concept (finally) come to Canada. Let us know if you see any all-day breakfast locations and if you’re looking forward to eating Egg McMuffins and hash browns at any time of the day!

Amazon Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million Fine for Misleading Advertising

Amazon Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million Fine for Misleading Advertising

By Simon Hung

Savings -- it’s a metric many shoppers use to evaluate a deal and it’s this very notion that has gotten Amazon into trouble with the Canadian Competition Bureau, as the online retailer has been fined $1 million for using misleading advertising practices, plus another $100,000 towards the Bureau’s investigation costs.

The two-year investigation, conducted between May 2014 and May 2016, found that Amazon often compared their retail prices to a list price in order to give the impression of offering steep savings. In reality, the list price was often unverified and provided by suppliers, misleading shoppers into believing that Amazon’s savings were more substantial than their competitors -- per the Competition Act, comparisons between a regular price and a sale price must be accurate.

A common example would be watches and jewellery, as the list price is usually marked up significantly and it was not uncommon to see some products with thousands of dollars in alleged savings.

Amazon has agreed to pay the fine and is in the process of making changes to how they display prices to ensure better accuracy and validity. The changes are being made on both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

This isn’t the first time a Canadian retailer has been fined for misleading consumers, as the Forzani Group (parent company of Sport Chek) was fined $1.7 million in 2004 for using similar misleading tactics while Michael’s was fined $3.5 million in 2015 after the crafts store did not ensure that custom frames were offered for sale before promoting them at discounts.

It remains to be seen if this fine will hurt Amazon’s brand, as the ruling should theoretically give consumers more confidence when shopping with the online giant. Beyond Amazon, the Competition Bureau hopes this fine sends a clear message to other retailers that unsubstantiated savings will not be tolerated -- click here to view the complete press release about the ruling on the Government of Canada website.

Will you be more vigilant on Amazon in the future? Maybe you're already savvy enough not to be fooled by these tactics? Let us know if this ruling will change your shopping habits on Amazon by leaving a comment and voting in our poll!

Cineplex Movie Formats Explained: What Are Premium Tickets and How You Can Save Money

Cineplex Movie Formats Explained: What Are Premium Tickets and How You Can Save Money

By Simon Hung

It’s a lot trickier to see a movie nowadays. Once upon a time, you only needed to pay for general admission, but these days there are premium formats like 3D, AVX, VIP and more options with capitalized abbreviations, each more expensive than the last -- but what do they even mean?

Cineplex movie tickets can cost as much as $25.00, making date nights and family movies an expensive outing. We’re here to help and have listed the common movie formats found in Cineplex cinemas to give you an idea of what each one has to offer, along with some money-saving tips at the end.

Note that ticket prices reflect adult pricing at various Cineplex theatres in Downtown Toronto -- prices vary by region and tickets at your local theatre may differ.

Regular

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
CheapestSeats not reserved, little leg room, more ads, can get crowded$13.50, $16.501000 points

The cheapest and most ubiquitous ticket option, seats to regular movies are general admission and available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Regular theatres usually have smaller screens, seats with little leg room and can get crowded quickly during more popular movies. Regular showings also play a longer pre-show, which means more ads will play before the movie starts.

Prime Seats

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, some Prime Seats are largerSame disadvantages as regular theatres, but more expensive$15.50, $18.501500 points

Some Cineplex cinemas have tickets designated as Prime Seats, which are usually a block of 20-30 desirable seats in the centre of the seating area. Tickets for these seats are sold in conjunction with regular admission, but Prime Seats cost more than regular tickets with the added benefit of being able to reserve your seats.

UltraAVX

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, larger screen, roomier seatsScreen and audio improvements are minimal$16.50, $18.501500 points

UltraAVX theatres promise a larger screen and better seats.

UltraAVX is the most common premium format, featuring reserved seating, a larger screen and more comfortable seats with extended leg room. UltraAVX and other premium formats usually play big-ticket movies, as they'll draw a larger audience and as a result, more revenue for Cineplex. While the perks are nice, UltraAVX is where prices start to creep into the territory where you have to think twice before buying.

D-BOX

Pros
Cons
2D Price, 3D Price
SCENE Price
Same advantages as regular or UltraAVX theatre, motion seatsSame visual experience as regular or UltraAVX theatre but more expensive, motion seats offer little value$22.50, $24.501500 points

D-BOX seats are a block of 20-30 specialized seats in regular or UltraAVX theatres that offer the same pros and cons as the theatre with which they share, but D-BOX seats vibrate and move along with the events on-screen, adding an extra dimension to the movie. It equates to sitting in a rocking massage chair and for most people, the extra cost isn't worth it.

IMAX

Pros
Cons
Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, largest screen, improved audio, some movies have exclusive IMAX scenesPrice, not all theatres have traditional IMAX, no TimePlay in some theatres$20.501500 points

Described by many as the best visual experience, IMAX features a massive screen with improved audio, but only if you're in a genuine IMAX theatre. There are only a few cinemas in Canada that have a traditional 80-foot IMAX screen, while most have much smaller screens that are only branded as IMAX and jokingly called Lie-MAX by movie purists -- click here to view a list of IMAX venues in Canada (venues marked as Dual Projection or IMAX with Laser use traditional IMAX screens). Cinemas with the misfortune of sporting a small IMAX screen offer a similar experience to UltraAVX.

VIP

Pros
Cons
Price
SCENE Price
Reserved leather seats, smaller audience, lounge, in-seat dining service, 19+Price, no major audio/video improvements, no TimePlay in some theatres$19.992000 points

The main advantages of VIP theatres are the smaller audiences and in-seat dining.

Those looking for a more intimate movie experience will want to try VIP, as these tickets are only available to those aged 19 and up. VIP theatres only seat about 30 people and feature an in-seat dining service (including alcohol), priced à la carte. The visual quality is the same as regular theatres, but VIP tickets are worth it for those who want to enjoy the movie experience while avoiding the hectic crowds in regular theatres.

4DX

Pros
Cons
Price
SCENE Price
Reserved seats, motion seats and environment effects are neatMost expensive, motion seats and environment effects may be annoying$24.992000 points

In addition to moving seats, 4DX theatres spray water in your face.

The crème de la crème of premium tickets, there’s currently only one cinema in Canada with a 4DX theatre (Cineplex Yonge/Dundas in Toronto). 4DX theatres feature motion seats, but with a new trick -- environment effects. These specialized theatres include jets that spray mist, wind and scents to enhance your movie experience. It’s an expensive experience and the "spray water in your face" marketing tactic is an interesting one, but you may see more of these spring up if the format is successful.

Tips to Save Money

  • Cineplex vouchers -- Cineplex vouchers can usually be purchased at a discounted rate through your employer or programs like CAA. RFD forums legend Hellfire has also organized group buys for Cineplex vouchers regularly over the past nine (!) years
  • Costco -- Costco regularly sells Cineplex movie ticket packages that cost less than paying full-price in-theatres. Pricing varies by province and packages are available both online and in Costco warehouses
  • Get a SCENE card -- SCENE is Cineplex's loyalty program where you earn points by watching movies and can redeem them for free movies. SCENE members also get 10% off concession snacks
  • Grocery vouchers -- a few times a year, you'll find Cineplex vouchers on packages of Coca-Cola or General Mills products that offer free or buy one get one free admission. These products will often cost far less than a ticket at the box office
  • Other cinemas -- although Cineplex holds an 80% market share in Canada, Landmark Cinemas and Rainbow Cinemas also operate in Canada and you'll often find cheaper tickets for the same movies
  • TimePlay -- TimePlay is an interactive trivia game played before most movies. Download the app on your phone and play with the audience to get free SCENE points, concessions and contest offers
  • Tuesday -- Cineplex offers discounted ticket prices for all shows every Tuesday and SCENE members also get an additional 10% off the Tuesday price
  • VIP "Hump Date" Wednesdays -- questionable marketing name aside, those who enjoy VIP theatres should go on Wednesday, as you can get two tickets and dinner for $50.00 -- look for the "Hump Date" pricing when buying your tickets online

What do you think of Cineplex's multitude of formats? Good choices or gimmicky cash grab? Let us know which format you enjoy the most and any tricks you use to save money when going out to the movies!

American Apparel Brand is Purchased by Montreal's Gildan Activewear

American Apparel Brand is Purchased by Montreal's Gildan Activewear

By Ambia Staley

In a move that surprised many, Montreal's Gildan Activewear Inc. has purchased the rights to the American Apparel brand after placing a winning bid of $88 million U.S. in auction.

American Apparel, a Los Angeles based company originally founded in Montreal, filed for bankruptcy protection on November 14, 2016 for the second time (having also filed for bankruptcy in 2015) and is currently in the process of a court-supervised liquidation.

In a statement following the winning bid, Gildan CEO Glenn Chamandy said, "We see strong potential to grow American Apparel sales by leveraging our extensive printwear distribution networks in North America and internationally to drive further market share penetration in the fashion basics segment of these markets."

Gildan's purchase must still be approved by a U.S. court, but if accepted, the deal can be finalized as early as February. The deal sees Gildan gaining all of American Apparel's intellectual property rights as well as some of its manufacturing equipment. Gildan is also expected to purchase American Apparel's current inventory in a separate transaction. None of American Apparel's retail stores were included in the initial deal and are expected to close.

Are you surprised to hear about Gildan's purchase? What do you think the future has in store for the American Apparel brand? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!