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Android Pay Coming Soon to Canada

Android Pay Coming Soon to Canada

By Simon Hung

Android Pay -- Google’s digital wallet platform built into Android -- appears to launching in Canada soon, as Google representatives confirmed a Canadian launch “in the coming months” during this week’s Google I/O event.

The service has been available in the United States since 2015 and is currently available in 10 total countries. This is the first time we’ve heard confirmation from Google of its expansion into Canada, but there have been clues of an imminent Canadian launch, as Visa updated (and subsequently removed) a page highlighting the service and McDonald’s has updated their store signage and self-serve kiosks with Android Pay insignia.

Android Pay lets you pay quickly and securely using your smartphone.

Android Pay is similar to Apple Pay, where you can save your debit or credit cards onto your smartphone and pay for purchases in stores that accept contactless payments. The process is similar to tapping a conventional card, but the process is more secure.

Like Apple Pay, Android Pay uses a tokenization system and doesn’t send your actual card number to the merchant. Instead, it sends a unique virtual number to represent your card number and you authorize purchases with your fingerprint or passcode. As a result, if you were to lose your smartphone, nefarious individuals won’t be able to easily use your credit cards.

Many Android users have been waiting for the service to launch in Canada and this news is encouraging, as the increased security and convenience is handy for those who take their smartphones everywhere and the process of paying with your phone is oddly satisfying, as noted last year by our resident Apple Pay user Tom.

There isn’t a concrete date for the official launch and no information as to which cards or banks will be supported, but we’ll keep our eyes open and provide full details and first impressions when Android Pay does make its Canadian debut.

McDonald's Adds Books as a Happy Meal Toy Option

McDonald's Adds Books as a Happy Meal Toy Option

By Thomas Kenzaki

One of the most iconic menu items at McDonald’s is the Happy Meal. You know, the kids meal that comes in the cardboard box with golden arches as a handle? The thing kids arguably love most about them is that they come with a toy. Today McDonald’s Canada announced a big change, though!

Starting May 15 you’ll have the option to choose from a book instead of a toy. This is great because you’ll have a more educational option and also won’t have to listen to that Minion toy over and over and over (parents will know what I’m talking about here).

To provide the books, McDonald’s Canada has partnered with Kids Can Press, the largest Canadian-owned children's book publisher. The reason behind the decision to offer books was "to foster the love of reading to children across the country and encourage families to share story time together."

The books are available now and the two launch titles are Hurry Up, Franklin and Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach. We’ve been told all the books will be both written and illustrated by Canadians and feature Canadian-specific content. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing Franklin Eating Poutine on his Chesterfield next?

I'm a big fan of the additional choice to the Happy Meal toy and I’d love to hear what you think of this change in the comments below!

Do Store-Bought McDonald’s Sauces Actually Taste Like the Real Thing?

Do Store-Bought McDonald’s Sauces Actually Taste Like the Real Thing?

By Simon Hung

We love groundbreaking products here at RedFlagDeals, so when McDonald’s announced that they were bringing their Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken sauces to grocery stores, many McDonald’s fans were abuzz with excitement, especially since a company rep claimed that they taste very identical to the restaurant recipe.

They’re starting to trickle into stores now, so we bought all three varieties and set out to answer to the question on everyone’s mind -- do store-bought McDonald’s sauces actually taste like the real thing?

We asked 12 staff members from our office to participate in a fun and completely unscientific taste-test to see how the store-bought sauces compare to their restaurant counterpart. The participants, which included both casual and frequent McDonald’s patrons, were given two samples -- one sample from an unaltered sandwich and one sample from a sandwich ordered without sauce (we substituted the store-bought sauce in this sample).

Taste-testers were given two samples -- one unaltered and one that used store-bought sauce.

The goal was to find out if our volunteers noticed any distinguishable difference in taste and if they could correctly pick which sample used store-bought sauce. We also asked them to rate the taste similarity on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being completely different and 10 being identical). Here were the results.

Big Mac

  • 1 out of 4 thought the store-bought sauce tasted better
  • 2 out of 4 correctly picked the sample with store-bought sauce
  • The average rating of taste similarity was 7/10

Most participants who sampled the Big Mac cited a lack of sauce as the primary flavour difference between the two samples. The samples were otherwise very similar, with one person noting that the store-bought sauce was not as tangy as the restaurant version.

Filet-O-Fish

  • 2 out of 4 thought the store-bought sauce tasted better
  • 0 out of 4 correctly picked the sample with store-bought sauce
  • The average rating of taste similarity was 7/10

The Filet-O-Fish was the only sandwich where none of the participants could correctly identify the store-bought sauce. Like the Big Mac, sauce amount was a flavour differentiator, with one person noting that the store-bought sauce tasted lighter and less tangy than the restaurant recipe.

McChicken

  • 2 out of 4 thought the store-bought sauce tasted better
  • 1 out of 4 correctly picked the sample with store-bought sauce
  • The average rating of taste similarity was 7.5/10

McChicken taste-testers were the most divided. Two participants noted that the store-bought sauce tasted stronger than usual, while the other two mentioned that the store-bought sauce was less flavourful -- or as one participant put it, “less McChicken-y”.

Overall

  • 5 out of 12 thought the store-bought sauce tasted better
  • 3 out of 12 correctly picked the sample with store-bought sauce
  • The average rating of taste similarity was 7.2/10

Overall, 5 of 12 people thought the store-bought sauce tasted better, which suggests that the sauces did taste alike, since the results weren't heavily skewed towards either option. Sample preparation may have also been a factor -- samples with store-bought sauce were inadvertently prepared using a more sensible amount of sauce, whereas the unaltered samples contained a more generous amount of sauce. As a result, many participants noted the difference in sauce amount contributed to the flavour variance. More sauce equalled more flavour.

Despite this, only 3 of 12 people were able to correctly pick which sample used store-bought sauce. Even though most participants preferred the restaurant sauce, the difference in taste was small enough to make it difficult to reliably identify which sample used what sauce, implying the sauces were indistinguishable, since there was no consistent trend between taste preference and which sauce was used. This notion is supported by the taste similarity ratings, which scored 7/10 or higher with all three sauces.

None of our volunteers were able to identify the store-bought Filet-O-Fish tartar sauce.

The final verdict? Yes, the sauces do taste like the real thing, but they’re not quite identical. They’re similar enough where you likely won’t notice a difference and they’re the best option available for those who want to replicate the McDonald’s experience.

Plus, the ingredient list for each store-bought sauce is not quite the same as the recipes found on the McDonald’s website (Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, McChicken). The recipes are mostly similar with a few minor variations, so it isn’t a surprise that they taste very similar but not exact.

Don’t just take our word for it -- a number of users in our Food and Drink forum have tried the sauces and many find them to be almost indistinguishable from the restaurant recipe. We suggest using generous amounts of sauce if you want the taste to be closer to the restaurant version.

Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken sauces are available now and through the summer at most major grocery stores, so taste-test them yourself in your kitchen! Add them to your burgers, use them with your fries or serve them in your cocktails -- whatever your use, you’ll be glad to know these sauces are the real deal.

Canadian Tire Announces Plans to Test Home Delivery

Canadian Tire Announces Plans to Test Home Delivery

By Ambia Staley

Canadian Tire has announced plans to begin testing home delivery, the company's CEO, Stephen Wetmore announced Thursday afternoon.

Canadian Tire may be considered one of Canada's largest retailers for home and auto goods, however it has strayed away from online delivery in the past. Home delivery was tested back in 2009, but ended with both delivery and the online store having the plug pulled shortly after. The online store was brought back to life in 2011, but there was no home delivery option to choose from. Instead, Canadian Tire slowly rolled out the Pay-and-Pickup option for select products -- the same "online shopping" experience we still see on Canadian Tire's website to this day.

Currently, approximately 100 out of the nearly 500 Canadian Tire stores across the country offer limited home delivery on select products, while delivery is offered at other Canadian Tire-owned retailers including Mark's, Sport Chek, and Pro Hockey Life.

Wetmore stated in his announcement, "We have no fewer than 30 e-commerce initiatives underway at the moment, providing us critical learning on everything from search optimization to website experience to back-end fulfillment options."

The exact details of Canadian Tire's e-commerce initiatives, as well as details of the home delivery trial remain unclear. The trial is expected to begin towards the end of 2017, but which stores will be participating, which items are eligible for home delivery, and the delivery costs remain uncertain.

Air Canada Announces Plans to Switch from Aeroplan to Their Own Loyalty Program

Air Canada Announces Plans to Switch from Aeroplan to Their Own Loyalty Program

By Ambia Staley

Air Canada surprised many earlier today by announcing plans to launch their own customer loyalty rewards program beginning in 2020.

Currently, frequent Air Canada flyers can collect points through the Aeroplan reward program, however the contract between the airline and Aeroplan's parent company, Aimia comes to an end on June 29, 2020. As of June 30, Air Canada plans to make the shift to their own program, however the exact details of the new program still remain unknown. The airline hopes that by creating their own loyalty program, they can offer their customers "additional earning and redemption opportunities, more personalized service, and a better digital experience".

Aeroplan started as Air Canada's in-house rewards program in 1984, but became an independent entity under the company Aimia as of 2008.

Aimia announced the possibility of a split from Air Canada late Wednesday night, however it was not until Air Canada made it official with their announcement Thursday morning, that Aimia's stock dropped approximately 57% in the market. Aimia's plans after the split remain uncertain, however in today's announcement, Air Canada stated that they are "committed to business as usual by working closely with Aimia with the objective of providing consistent service for Aeroplan members."

If you're currently an Aeroplan member, you will still be able to collect and redeem your miles on Air Canada and Star Alliance flights until June 29, 2020. After that date, all miles earned from your flights will be credited to the new program. Most importantly, you will not be able to convert your Aeroplan miles to the new loyalty program, so if you have plans to redeem your miles on Air Canada flights, do so before June 2020.

Are you an Aeroplan member? What do you think of this announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Ontario Announces 76 More Grocery Stores to Sell Beer Starting June 30

Ontario Announces 76 More Grocery Stores to Sell Beer Starting June 30

By Simon Hung

Beer enthusiasts in Ontario will have more options to purchase drinks this summer, because the Government of Ontario has unveiled a list of 76 stores that will be authorized to sell beer and cider starting June 30.

Currently, there are 130 large and independent grocery stores that sell beer and these 76 new stores will add to that list, bringing the total number of stores to 206. The Government of Ontario plans to have up to 450 stores in the coming years, with up to 300 of them also selling wine. We’ve listed the 76 new store locations below.

Ajax, ON

  • Real Canadian Superstore, 30 Kingston Rd. W.

Barrie, ON

  • Loblaws, 472 Bayfield St.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 35 Mapleview Dr.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 450 Bayfield St.

Bowmanville, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, Hwy #2 Bowmanville

Brampton, ON

  • Longo's, 7700 Hurontario St.
  • Metro, 10886 Hurontario St.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 30 Coventry Rd.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 50 Quarry Edge Dr.

Brantford, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 300 King George Rd.

Burlington, ON

  • Fortinos, 1059 Plains Rd. E.

Cambridge, ON

  • FreshCo, 1 Hespeler Rd.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 22 Pinebush Rd.

Fenelon Falls, ON

  • Sobeys, 15 Lindsay St.

Gravenhurst, ON

  • Sobeys, 225 Edward St.

Guelph, ON

  • Zehrs, 297 Eramosa Rd.
  • Zehrs, 1045 Paisley Rd.

Hamilton, ON

  • FreshCo, 905 Rymal Rd.

Kingston, ON

  • Farm Boy, 940 Futures Gate
  • Walmart Supercentre, 1130 Midland Ave.

Kitchener, ON

  • Sobeys, 1187 Fischer-Hallman Rd.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 1400 Ottawa St. S. Unit E

London, ON

  • Loblaws, 3040 Wonderland Rd. S.

Midland, ON

  • Foodland (Midland), 795 Blam Beach Dr.

Milton, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 1280 Steeles Ave. E.

Mississauga, ON

  • Pat Mart, 3415-333 Dundas St. E.
  • Starsky Fine Foods, 3115 Dundas St. W.
  • Starsky Fine Foods. 2040 Dundas St. E.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 100 City Centre Dr.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 800 Matheson Blvd.

Niagara Falls, ON

  • Commisso's Fresh Foods, 6161 Thorold Stone Rd.

North Bay, ON

  • Parker's Your Independent Grocer, 1 Laurentian Ave.

Oakville, ON

  • Fortinos, 493 Dundas St. W.
  • Sobeys, 1500 Upper Middle Rd.

Orangeville, ON

  • Sobeys, 500 Riddell Rd.

Orleans, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 3900 Innes Rd.

Oshawa, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 680 Laval Dr.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 1741 Harmony Rd.

Ottawa, ON

  • Farm Boy, 1642 Merivale Rd.
  • Farm Boy, 3033 Woodroffe Ave.
  • Moncion's Your Independent Grocer, 685 River Rd.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 2210 Bank St.

Parry Sound, ON

  • Sobeys, 25 Pine Dr.

Peterborough, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 1002 Chemong Rd.

Richmond Hill, ON

  • Loblaws, 301 High Tech Rd.

Sarnia, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 1444 Quinn Dr.

Sault Ste. Marie, ON

  • Food Basics, 625 Trunk Rd.

Sharon, ON

  • Vince's Market, 19101 Leslie St.

Simcoe, ON

  • Real Canadian Superstore, 125 Queensway E.

Stoney Creek, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 510 Centennial Parkway N.

Stratford, ON

  • Sobeys, 581 Huron St.

Strathroy, ON

  • Real Canadian Superstore, 626 Victoria St.

Thunder Bay, ON

  • Metro, 640 River St.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 777 Memorial Ave.

Timmins, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 1870 Riverside Dr.

Toronto, ON

  • Fortinos, 330 Queens Plate Dr.
  • Loblaws, 60 Carlton St.
  • Loblaws, 396 St. Clair Ave. W.
  • Loblaws, 650 Dupont St.
  • Longo's, 15 York St.
  • Metro, 89 Gould St.
  • Metro, 100 Lynn Williams St.
  • Metro, 735 College St.
  • Sobeys, 81 St.Clair Ave. E.
  • Sobeys, 147 Laird Dr.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 799 Milner Ave.
  • Walmart Supercentre, 1900 Eglinton Ave.

Vankleek Hill, ON

  • Foodland (Vankleek Hill) , 5666 Highway 34

Vaughan, ON

  • Longo's, 9200 Weston Rd. W.

Waterloo, ON

  • Sobeys, 94 Bridgeport Rd.
  • Zehrs, 450 Erb St. W.

Welland, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 102 Primeway Dr.

Winchester, ON

  • Winchester Foodland, 12015 Main St.

Windsor, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 7100 Tecumseh Rd.

Woodbridge, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 8300 Highway 27

Woodstock, ON

  • Walmart Supercentre, 499 Norwich Ave.

Prices will be the same as other outlets including the LCBO and the Beer Store, but convenience is a bonus for many, as grocery stores are more accessible and generally have friendlier operating hours, although they must still adhere to regulated sale hours for beer and wine, as mandated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario -- Monday to Saturday 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Click here to view a list of the current 130 grocery stores authorized to sell beer, cider and wine along with more information about pricing, regulations and responsibilities.

Money Saving Tips For Toronto Blue Jays Games in 2017

Money Saving Tips For Toronto Blue Jays Games in 2017

By Thomas Kenzaki

While not off to the best start this season, the boys of summer are back! After back-to-back seasons making it to the American League Championship Series, the expectations surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays are high as they hope to make the postseason for a third year in a row.

As you could expect after a season that saw attendance reach new highs, things have gotten a little more expensive for fans this year. Luckily for you there are still many ways to save a few bucks if you’re a fan.

While ticket prices have gone up this year you’ll still be able to grab seats for as low as $13 each on Ticketmaster. As far as Toronto sports go it’s still one of the cheapest tickets around. Ticket pricing is dynamic and based on game categories so expect to pay more for a nearly sold out Yankees game versus a Rays game with lots of tickets still available.

StubHub

New for 2017 is an official Blue Jays partnership with StubHub. StubHub is a ticket reseller website which gives buyers a safe way to buy and sell tickets to events. Ethics on scalping aside, there are usually great last minute deals for most Blue Jays games. If you don’t mind sitting in the 500 section seats are often only $6USD and many seats are available under face value. A great new feature this year that came with the partnership is that you can scan your ticket for entry through the StubHub mobile app itself. Previously you were required to print your ticket which made buying last minute a bit more difficult of a process.

West Jet Flight Deck

Back again this year is the West Jet Flight Deck. This is a standing room only section located on level 200 under the jumbotron which allows anyone with a ticket to enter and get a better view. Get there early though because on busier days it fills up and you won’t be able to get in. It’s a great free upgrade for 500-level nosebleed seats.

Bring Your Own Food

Those not familiar with Blue Jays games at the Rogers Centre may not realize that you can bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Why pay $10 for a hot dog inside when you can buy one right outside for $4 and bring it in with you? You also won’t be able to find charcuterie board anywhere inside the dome unless you bring it yourself.

Rogers GamePlus Experiences

If you’re a Rogers customer you’ll be able to upgrade your game day experience for free. GamePlus is available within the MLB Ballpark app and the MyRogers app. After logging into your MyRogers account you’ll be able to see what experiences are available (typically only a few days ahead) and at what time you’ll be able to get them. Each experience has a run value attached and you have 4-runs to use throughout the season. Typical offerings include autographed balls, hats and seat upgrades.

Giveaway Days

From replica jerseys to bobble heads, there’s bound to be a giveaway day that interests you. A full list of the promotional items and schedule is available on the Blue Jays website. Typically there are 15-20k of each item available but people start lining up hours beforehand for popular giveaways so make sure you get there early! You’ll be as fired up as Jason Grilli after a strikeout when you score your giveaway item.


Free Fountain Drink or Budweiser Prohibition Brew

With the Blue Jays' poor start to the season you’ll probably want to drink but if you’re okay sticking to pop or non-alcoholic beer, why not grab one for free? At the Budweiser Good Sport Designated Driver booths (sections 114 & 524) you can fill out a card pledging not to drink and drive and you’ll receive a coupon for a 24oz fountain drink or Budweiser Prohibition Brew! You’ll also be entered to win a gift card and the winner will be on the jumbotron for your 15 minutes of fame.


The 4K Experience

If going to the stadium isn’t your thing, you can now watch every Blue Jays home game in crisp 4K resolution. You’ll need a 4K compatible TV and receiver to watch the games in this higher resolution. Every home game is available in 4K (sorry, away game fans) and you can tune in on Sportsnet. Crank the volume up, have your loud drunk friend spill some beer on you and you’ll swear you were at the game!

Contest

To help everyone get in the baseball spirit we’re giving away a Sportsnet prize pack which consists of two t-shirts, a hat and a Sportsnet gym bag. To enter just reply to this article and tell us your favourite Blue Jays memory. Click here for a complete list of rules. Good luck!

Express to Close All 17 Canadian Stores

Express to Close All 17 Canadian Stores

By Simon Hung

Express, an American clothing chain with 17 locations in Canada, has announced that they will close all of their Canadian stores.

No specific timeframe has been given, but closing sales will begin this month and the company has stated that they will pay all 340 employees their salaries and benefits until at least June 15.

The chain operates over 650 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico and expanded to Canada in 2011, with plans at one point to open 50 stores. In a press release, Express CEO David Kornberg cited a challenging Canadian retail environment and unfavourable exchange rates as the primary reasons behind the decision to cease operations in Canada.

Court filings also show that their Canadian stores contributed a net loss of $6 million USD this past year and the company has lost $56 million USD in Canada since 2011. Rising rent costs were another reason behind the closures, as Express is still responsible for $120 million USD in property leases.

Express has stores in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario -- click here to find the location nearest you. The company also estimates Canadian customers have around $400,000 in unused gift cards, which will be honoured during the liquidation process.

Unfortunately for shoppers, this marks yet another American chain that has opted to leave Canada after underestimating the difficulty of the Canadian retail market, joining a growing list that includes American Apparel, BCBG, Bebe and Target.

Microsoft Unveils New Surface Laptop, Available in Canada Later This Year

Microsoft Unveils New Surface Laptop, Available in Canada Later This Year

By Simon Hung

Thin is in when it comes to laptops and Microsoft is joining the trend with their new flagship product, the Surface Laptop.

The Surface Laptop is undeniably pretty. It’s made with aluminum, glass and fabric, with a minimalist design aesthetic similar to the Apple MacBook. Although it bears the Surface moniker, the Surface Laptop has no unique tricks like past Surface products -- it’s a conventional laptop design.

The Surface Laptop comes in four colours, but only platinum will be available outside the US.

Weighing less than three pounds and thinner than 15mm, the exterior is aluminum while the lower interior is covered with Microsoft’s Signature Alcantara fabric, which they claim is stain-resistant and easy-to-clean. It looks luxurious, but time will tell how the fabric will hold up against dirt, dust and dander after continuous use.

The keyboard and palm rest are lined with fabric.

Microsoft also boasts about the Surface Laptop’s power and versatility, as it features an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, full-sized USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort connector, 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect port, which means it's compatible with existing Surface accessories, including the Surface Dial and Surface Pen. It also sports a 13.5” touchscreen display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504, 720p camera and stereo speakers embedded below the keyboard. The absence of a Thunderbolt USB-C port is puzzling on such a premium device, but the array of ports should be sufficient for most usage scenarios.

One major criticism of the Surface Laptop is its operating system. It runs Windows 10 S, which is a streamlined version of Windows 10 that only runs apps from the Windows Store. This means you’re stuck with Microsoft Edge as the web browser and can’t run Chrome, Firefox or any other conventional programs that aren’t available in the Windows Store.

Windows 10 S is the default operating system, which means you can only use Windows Store apps.

Microsoft will let you upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free until December 31, 2017 (you’ll need to pay $50.00 USD to upgrade after that), but the fact that it doesn’t run a full version of Windows out-of-the-box is a serious disadvantage and a likely deal-breaker for many, especially with such a premium price range.

The Surface Laptop is available in four configurations with up to 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD storage and only in a platinum colour (four colours are available in the United States). Release date and pricing are currently unknown -- Microsoft has stated that it will be available in Canada later this year, while prices range from $999.00 to $2199.00 USD in the United States.

Taco Bell Announces Plans to Serve Alcohol in Select Canadian Locations

Taco Bell Announces Plans to Serve Alcohol in Select Canadian Locations

By Ambia Staley

If you've ever craved an adult beverage with your tacos and burritos, you'll soon get your wish, as Taco Bell recently announced plans to offer alcoholic beverages in select restaurants starting this June.

Amanda Clark, general manager of Taco Bell Canada said about the decision, "This announcement highlights how committed we are to further growing our business, and how devoted we are to building deeper relationships with our customers and evolving the way they experience our brand."

This move is the latest in a growing trend of quick-serve restaurants adding an alcoholic beverage option to their menus. KFC introduced beer to their menu in 2 KFC Fresh locations in Toronto last fall, and Starbucks continues to serve wine and craft beers on their evening menu in select Canadian locations despite the program being pulled in the United States this past January.

Currently Taco Bell Canada's flagship store at 484 Queen Street West in Toronto is expected to introduce alcohol to its menu first. As of now, Taco Bell says customers can expect a beer selection only, but if you were looking forward to adding something a little harder to your Mountain Dew, there is a potential for other alcoholic beverages to be added to the menu down the road.

Canada currently has 170 Taco Bell locations in over 7 provinces, however the chain has announced their intention to one day have as many as 700 locations across the country. It's unclear how many of these locations could potentially have alcohol on their menu in the future.

What are your thoughts on this announcement? Are you planning to head to your local Taco Bell and sip beer with your Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch once it becomes available? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

May 2017 Video Game Release Dates

May 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

If you've already finished playing through some of this year's hottest video game releases and are looking for something new to play, May 2017 has a great list of new titles to check out! Anticipated titles coming out this month include Injustice 2 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Star Trek: Bridge Crew for HTV Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, and the remake of 1992's Fire Emblem Gaiden, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, for 3DS.

If you've missed out on past releases, be sure to check out video game releases from past months, including February and March, and April, here on RegFlagDeals.com.

Without further ado, here's a look at what's coming out this May:

  • Extreme-G 2 (PC) - May 2
  • The Caligula Effect (PS Vita) - May 2
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd (PC) - May 3
  • Prey (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - May 5
  • World to the West (PS4/Xbox One/Wii U/PC/Mac/Linux) - May 5
  • Birthdays: The Beginning (PS4/PC) - May 9
  • LocoRoco Remastered (PS4) - May 9
  • Strafe (PS4/PC/Mac) - May 9
  • Minecraft: Switch Edition (Switch) - May 11
  • Farpoint (PlayStation VR) – May 16
  • Injustice 2 (PS4/Xbox One/iOS/Android) - May 16
  • The Surge (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - May 16
  • Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion (PC) - May 16
  • Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy (PC) - May 16
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS) - May 19
  • Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island (PC/PS4/Xbox One) - May 19
  • Impact Winter (PC) - May 22
  • Darksiders Warmastered Edition (Wii U) - May 23
  • Disgaea 5 Complete (Switch) - May 23
  • Mirage: Arcane Warfare (PC) - May 23
  • Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada (PS4/PC) - May 23
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 (PC) - May 23
  • Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception (PS4/PS Vita) - May 23
  • Get Even (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - May 26
  • Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 (PS4) - May 26
  • Rime (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – May 26
  • Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (Switch) - May 26
  • Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy (PS Vita) - May 19
  • Star Trek: Bridge Crew (PSVR/Rift/Vive) - May 30
  • Don't Knock Twice (PC)

Release Dates TBA

  • Battalion 1944 (PC/PS4/Xbox One)

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 playing any of May's new releases? Let us know in the comments!

Amazon Brings Free One-Day Delivery to Calgary and Edmonton

Amazon Brings Free One-Day Delivery to Calgary and Edmonton

By Simon Hung

Amazon has expanded the number of cities eligible for free one-day delivery, as the service is now available for Amazon Prime members in Calgary and Edmonton!

This brings the total number of cities with free one-day or sooner delivery to five, as Calgary and Edmonton join Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Toronto and Vancouver residents are eligible for same-day delivery given their close proximity to Amazon warehouses, while the rest are eligible for one-day delivery -- click here to check if your address is eligible.

Five cities are now eligible for free one-day or sooner shipping with Amazon Prime.

The service is only available to Prime members who place orders of $25.00 or more before the cut-off time of 4:00 PM local time and orders will be delivered by 9:00 PM the next day -- orders under the $25.00 threshold are still eligible for free two-day shipping.

One-day delivery is one of the more useful perks of Amazon Prime, as the quick turnaround for delivery is handy when you need something in a pinch and don’t want to go to a brick and mortar store. Other Amazon Prime perks include 20% off video game pre-orders, 20% off diaper subscriptions, access to Amazon Prime Video and more!

An Amazon Prime subscription costs $79.00 per year or FREE for eligible students for six months ($39.00 per year thereafter).

Sneak Peek of the New RedFlagDeals.com Homepage

By Kate Musgrove

We're launching a new RedFlagDeals.com homepage soon, and we wanted to give you a sneak peek of it before the big launch! These are just mockups with fake deal data, but you should be able to get a good idea of what the page will look like and how it will function. We've hidden the whole page screenshots to keep this post from being too image-heavy, but you can click through the links below to see them.

Click here to view the whole new homepage for desktop.

Click here to view the whole new homepage for mobile.

The new homepage will allow you to select what content you want to see. Logged-in users will see deals and forum posts from the categories they've chose. You can also add "Popular" or "Latest" to your list to see the most popular or newest content across all categories. You can choose up to five categories to feature on your personalized homepage. The page is responsive, so on a desktop browser, deals will display on the left, and forum posts will display on the right. On a mobile or tablet browser, they'll be stacked.

After the new homepage is released you'll be prompted to pick your favourite categories to customize your homepage experience.

We're also launching a new Navigation Bar. Here's a peek at the Navigation Bar on mobile:

And here is the Navigation Bar on desktop:

What else will be on the new homepage? At the top, we'll have a Headline Article to highlight breaking news articles written by the RFD editorial staff, and below that we'll have a Carousel highlighting the biggest and most compelling deals and shopping news.

Under that, the Seasonal Deals Section will show the most relevant deals for the time of year. On the page below, it's labeled "Fast Food Deals". The Seasonal Deals Section won't be visible at all times, just when there's a lot of seasonal content (like Back to School deals or tons of competing Free Coffee offers).

Bebe Announces the Closure of All Stores by the End of May

Bebe Announces the Closure of All Stores by the End of May

By Ambia Staley

California-based retailer Bebe announced late Friday that they expect to close all stores by the end of May 2017, making it the latest in the long list of recent retail closures.

This decision may come to a surprise to some, as the retailer announced less than one month ago plans to shutter only 21 of its total locations. The company has suffered declining sales over the past 4 to 5 years, with as much as an 80% drop in stock price in the past 2 years alone. The decision to shutter all brick-and-mortar locations is rumored to be the company's attempt at staving off bankruptcy.

Bebe currently has over 130 stores and over 30 outlets worldwide. Canada is home to 6 store locations in Toronto, Mississauga, Calgary, Edmonton, Burnaby, and Vancouver. There are also outlets in Vaughn Mills in the GTA and Outlet Collection at Niagara. All of these locations are expected to be closing their doors in the near future.

Luckily, fans of Bebe may not have to mourn the total loss of the brand, as Bebe is rumoured to remain online and focus all their efforts on driving apparel sales on the web. However, the move to e-commerce is not yet confirmed, as currently the only source is "people familiar with the situation", and representatives from Bebe have yet to issue a statement with regards to their online shop.

The Cheesecake Factory to Open First Canadian Location in Toronto

The Cheesecake Factory to Open First Canadian Location in Toronto

By Simon Hung

Cheesecake fans have a reason to get excited, because The Cheesecake Factory will be opening a restaurant this fall in Toronto!

The Cheesecake Factory currently operates over 200 locations in the United States, Asia and the Middle East and this will be their first location in Canada. The restaurant will be located in Yorkdale Mall, occupying a 10,400 square-foot space with two covered patios, limestone flooring, custom wood columns and hand-painted murals.

The chain is renowned for offering over 50 varieties of cheesecakes and the Toronto restaurant will carry a number of popular items from their American menu, including their Glamburgers, Skinnylicious and Super Foods lines along with pasta, pizza, sandwiches, seafood, steak and of course -- cheesecake and desserts.

No exact date has been given for the grand opening, but you can click here to visit the restaurant page on the Yorkdale Mall website for future updates.

UNIQLO to Open a Burnaby, British Columbia Location in Fall 2017

UNIQLO to Open a Burnaby, British Columbia Location in Fall 2017

By Ambia Staley

If you're living on the west coast and a fan of the popular Japanese brand UNIQLO, you'll be happy to hear that the retailer has recently announced plans to open up their next store location in Burnaby's Metrotown sometime in fall 2017!

In a statement regarding the upcoming British Columbia expansion, Yasuhiro Hayashi, Chief Operating Officer of UNIQLO Canada said, "We are extremely excited to share UNIQLO with the people of Vancouver and surrounding areas and introduce them to how our high quality, comfortable and functional clothing can help improve their everyday lives."

Concept art of the upcoming Burnaby location.

The new location, expected to occupy the former Home Outfitters space, will cover 2 floors and measure a total of 20,630 square feet. The store will carry all of UNIQLO's core items for men, women, kids, and babies. You can also expect to see popular collections such as AIRism, HEATTECH, Ultra Light Down, and more.

UNIQLO currently has approximately 1,800 locations worldwide, with 2 Canadian locations in Toronto's Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

Are you excited for the new UNIQLO location? Let us know in the comments! And while you're waiting for the new location to open, check out our experience visiting the first Canadian UNIQLO opening last fall in Toronto!

Meet Canada’s New $10.00 Bill

Meet Canada’s New $10.00 Bill

By Simon Hung

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year and the Bank of Canada is celebrating by releasing a brand new $10.00 bill.

The commemorative banknote will begin circulation starting June 1 and is not replacing the other new $10.00 bill featuring Viola Desmond that will begin circulation in 2018. Instead, the commemorative note will be a limited-run item and there will only be 40 million of them issued -- one available for every Canadian.

This new commemorative $10.00 bill will be available on June 1.

It's only the fourth time that the Bank of Canada has issued a commemorative banknote and they've made a very impressive website to showcase the new bill (while you're there, enter the Konami Code -- up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A -- for a fun Easter egg), with detailed descriptions of design elements and security features integrated into the bill.

Our History

The new note features portraits of four important figures in Canadian history and marks first time that four portraits have been printed on a Canadian banknote. The portraits include Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister; Sir George-Étienne Cartier, an architect of Canadian federalism; Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to the House of Commons and James Gladstone (Akay-na-muka), Canada’s first senator of First Nations origin.

Four portraits are featured on the new commemorative $10.00 bill.

Other design cues that commemorate Canadian history include dates when provinces and territories entered Confederation, an arch from inside the Memorial Chamber and the Hall of Honour inside Parliament Hill. For security, raised ink is used for each portrait, metallic ink is used for Confederation dates and the Memorial Arch shifts from blue to green depending on how you tilt the bill.

Our Land

Canada has the second largest land mass in the world, so it’s no surprise that the back of new bill is devoted to our diverse landscape, featuring the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, the Prairies in Saskatchewan, the Kipawa River in Parc national d’Opémican in Quebec, Cape Bonavista in Newfoundland and Labrador and the northern lights above Wood Buffalo National Park.

Signature Canadian landscapes are featured on the back of the bill.

Each landscape, except for the northern lights, is printed with raised ink.

Our Culture

Cultural diversity is a hallmark of Canadian history and the new note includes several design elements to recognize the importance of Canadian culture, including an Assomption sash pattern to recognize the cultural symbol of the Métis people, Owl's Bouquet artwork by acclaimed Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak, 13 maple leaves linked by their stems to represent each province and territory, the Canadian flag and the Coat of Arms.

The Canadian flag, Coat of Arms and Inuit artwork are featured on the transparent window.

The Owl’s Bouquet, national flag and Coat of Arms are printed metallically on the transparent window and change colour depending on how you tilt the bill, while some of the maple leaves along the bottom of the window create a 3D illusion.

Visit your financial institution on or after June 1 if you want to get your hands on this new banknote. Plus, be on the lookout for a complete refresh of all of Canada's banknotes in the coming years -- following the new $10.00 bill releasing in 2018, the Bank of Canada plans to release a new $5.00 note, followed by new $20.00, $50.00 and $100.00 notes every two-to-three years after that.

Payless ShoeSource Files for Bankruptcy in the US, Plans to Close Nearly 400 Stores

Payless ShoeSource Files for Bankruptcy in the US, Plans to Close Nearly 400 Stores

By Ambia Staley

Discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource is the latest retail chain in trouble, as the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on April 4.

Following the filing, the Kansas-based retailer announced immediate plans to close nearly 400 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in an effort to reorganize. The company has also reached agreements with many of its top lenders, who will provide up to $385 million in debtor-in-possession financing, which will allow the company to continue business during the bankruptcy process.

Payless CEO Paul Jones said in a statement about the filing, "This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify."

This is not the first sign of trouble for the retailer, who operates 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. In 2004 hundreds of stores were closed in an attempt at restructuring, and in 2012, Payless' former parent company was bought out and control of Payless was split between Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital. Trouble was also seen as recently as December 2016, when Payless shuttered all 132 of its Australian locations with a loss of over 700 jobs.

Following the latest store closures, Payless has plans to "aggressively manage" their remaining portfolio, but will also be looking to expand more in international markets, including Latin America.

Currently, there are no announcements regarding Canadian Payless closures. You can view the full list of confirmed store closures online.

Why do you think Payless ShoeSource is struggling in today's retail market? Do you think Canadian Payless locations could be next on the chopping block? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Costco Opens First Business Centre Location in Canada

Costco Opens First Business Centre Location in Canada

By Simon Hung

Costco opened a new store in Canada this past week, but it’s a format that may be unfamiliar to regular Costco shoppers.

Costco Business Centre -- located at 50 Thermos Road in Scarborough, ON -- is the first Business Centre location to open in Canada and caters to small business owners. Costco hopes the format is popular with their business clientele and aims to open more Business Centres in major cities within the next five years.

All Costco members are welcome to shop, but don’t expect to find your regular assortment of Costco merchandise like apparel or toys, because up to 90% of the products stocked in Costco Business Centres are not available at traditional Costco stores. Instead, these stores cater heavily towards the food service industry and some products include restaurant supplies, food and meat in bulk volumes and commercial-grade appliances.

Utensils, cookware and other cooking supplies are available for individual purchase.

RFD forum member markopas visited the store during its grand opening and uploaded approximately 150 photographs in our Shopping Discussion forum. The restaurant theme was evident, as many food products were sold in large volumes that would be impractical for ordinary consumer use.

We’ve included some of the more interesting finds in the store to help give you an idea of what’s available.

Some might argue a 3kg tub of Nutella isn't quite enough for their needs.

This 208L barrel of olive oil is available for $999.99. (via BNN.ca)

Various meats (including whole lambs) are available by the case. (via StyleDemocracy.com)

Many candies and snacks are available by the case.

Umm, okay. (via BNN.ca)

Costco Business Centre is open from 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM from Monday to Friday and 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Saturday (the store is closed on Sunday).

Those in the Greater Toronto Area can also shop online for products including groceries and office supplies. Online pricing includes a small markup compared to in-store prices to cover delivery and no minimum order is required. However, note that deliveries can only be made to business addresses that meet Costco's delivery requirements.

April 2017 Video Game Release Dates

April 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

Spring is on the way, and if you're looking for something to keep you occupied during some of the rainy days ahead, then you'll be happy to know that April 2017 has another huge list of video game titles hitting store shelves! Some highly anticipated titles coming out this month include Persona 5 for PlayStation 3 and 4, Dragon Quest Heroes II for PlayStation 4, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a port of the popular Wii U game, for the Switch.

If you're behind on past releases, be sure to check out video game releases from January, February and March, on RegFlagDeals.com.

It's time to get your controllers, keyboards, and smartphones ready -- here's a look at what's coming out this April:

  • Domina (PC) - April 3
  • Drawn to Death (PS4) - April 4
  • LEGO City Undercover (PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC) - April 4
  • Persona 5 (PS3/PS4) - April 4
  • Paradigm (PC/Mac) - April 5
  • Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - April 7
  • Don't Think Twice (Oculus Rift/HTC Vive) - April 7
  • The Sexy Brutale (PS4/ Xbox One/PC) - April 11
  • StarBlood Arena (PS VR) - April 11
  • Stardew Valley: Collector's Edition (PS4/Xbox One) - April 11
  • Yooka-Laylee (PS4/Xbox One/PC/Mac) - April 11
  • Calm Waters (PC/Mac) - April 13
  • Imitation Crime (PC) - April 15
  • Full Throttle Remastered (PS4/Vita/PC) - April 18
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode 1 (PS4/Xbox One/PC/Mac/Android/iOS) - April 18
  • The Silver Case (PS4) - April 18
  • Dragon Quest Heroes II (PS4) - April 25
  • Outlast 2 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - April 25
  • Pinstripe (PC) - April 25
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris (PS4/Switch) - April 25
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - April 25
  • Syberia III (PS4/Xbox One/PC/Mac/Android/iOS) - April 25
  • What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4/PC) - April 25
  • Expeditions: Vikings (PC) - April 27
  • Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness (PC) - April 27
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (PC) - April 27
  • Constructor HD (PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC) - April 28
  • Little Nightmares (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - April 28
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) - April 28

Release Dates TBA

  • Don't Knock Twice (PS4/Xbox One/PC)

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.

Are there any games you're looking forward to this April? Let us know in the comments!