Eating out as a family can be expensive. Coming from a big family (seven total), we knew that eating out was only for special occasions (read: your birthday or someone’s graduation). But if you are looking to take the family out without breaking the week’s budget, you should definitely take note of these restaurants around Canada that offer free meals (or close to free) for kids.
Since every kid loves pizza, and loves the saucy pie so much they decided to name their establishment with the word in it twice, we’ll start the list with what will most likely be the most exciting. When you join the Kids Club, you can take your kid out for their birthday and receive a free meal (for the birthday person, of course). You will have to first before claiming it though.
East Side Mario’s
Hey bada boom bada bing! This offer from East Side Marios will have your kids eating for close to free on every Tuesday ($2 meals) and when you enrol your kid in the VIP Mini Marios Club, you will automatically receive 5 FREE Kids Eat Big meals and 5 FREE Chillers in the mail. This should take between 6-8 weeks after registration to come in the mail.
This is a small one, but free nonetheless. When you stop by the Ikea cafeteria and pick up any adult meal, you can also grab free baby food for your smallest ones.
Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? In my family, it became such a staple that we began calling it ‘brinner’ or ‘brupper’ (I personally prefer the former over the latter). Kids (ages 10 and under) can get their ‘brinner’ fix at Denny’s on every Tuesday from 4pm-10pm. There is a limit of two free meals per visit.
Once a week, you can head into your local Swiss Chalet and grab your kids meal on the house. This offer varies by location, as the day is not the same across the country. You can find your
Similar to Swiss Chalet, Pizza Hut offers your kids a free meal once a week (on Tuesdays), but this offer varies by location. Be sure to check with the server before purchasing!
Meat eaters, rejoice! Montana’s offers your small ones the chance to grab a free meal on Tuesday, and also gives kids who are 12 years of age and younger a free meal on their birthday.
This offer, unlike most, is actually offered on a ‘going out night’ (Friday) instead of the much less exciting day of Tuesday. When you go out to dinner at Humpty’s, kids who are 10 and under can eat for free, but only between 5pm – 9pm.
Another change up in the day of the week that free meals are offered. If you head into Crabby Joe’s after a long weekend, on Sunday, you can have your kids eating for free with no restrictions on the time when you eat!
Jungle Jim’s Eatery
This is one of those ‘close to free’ offers we mentioned at the beginning of the post, but it’s still a rather sweet deal so we decided to include it anyway. On Tuesdays at Jungle Jim’s, your kids will pay for their meal based on their height. This means that if your kid is just clearing a metre (100 centimetres), then they’ll only have to pay a dollar!
Another great Sunday offer to make your weekends that much less stressful (and costly). When you bring your kids in on Sunday, they can get free meals for every adult entree that’s purchased.
Lone Star Texas Grill
This offer from Lone Star Texas Grill requires that you sign-up ahead of time, but when you do join the Bronco Billy Birthday Club you can grab your child (12 or younger) a free meal on their birthday.
Nintendo Switch has finally released some more details about the launch of the much talked about online subscription platform, which will be coming to Canada in September 2018.
In their announcement, they let buyers know how to purchase the service and how much it would cost for Canadians. The payment options are broken down as such:
- $4.99 for 1 month
- $9.99 for 3 months
- $24.99 for 12 months
Family plans (A Nintendo Account holder may invite up to seven others to join a family group; all members of the group will have access to Nintendo Switch Online):
Included in the announcement was the fact that subscribers will also have access to an online library of at least 20 NES games. So far, only the following ten have been announced:
- Donkey Kong
- Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Balloon Fight
- Ice Climber
- Dr. Mario
- The Legend of Zelda
- Super Mario Bros. 3
Nintendo has said they will release the titles of the other ten games in the months leading up to the launch this September and that they will regularly update the selection in the library with more free games.
On top of all this, the new subscription service will also come with a feature called Save Data Cloud, which is a backup function that will be able to take saved files and share them between consoles. This means that your files will also be automatically backed up into the cloud, which I imagine is a great relief to those of us who tend to forget to save as we go along in a game.
This past Saturday marked the opening of one of Ontario’s largest tourism draws: . Canada’s premier amusement park opened their 2018 season with great fanfare, as with this year’s opening there are two new rides being introduced to the park’s already explosively entertaining lineup.
The Lumberjack, as the ride’s name implies, is designed to mock the swinging axes of a tree faller. It’s one that’s definitely for the thrill-seeker, as it will have two axes swinging on a pendulum that will swing riders on a full 36o degree loop.
This ride, the Flying Canoes, is a more tame option than the previously mentioned ride. It’s designed to be a family-friendly ride that can seat two to a boat and will give riders the chance to control the trajectory of their ride as there are interactive controls that you can direct.
This is less of a new ride, and more of an expansion as Splash Island’s children’s pool is going to now be called Lakeside Lagoon. This is because the pool will be doubling in size and will also include a fun and interactive spray (one that I’m sure the kids will enjoy, but the parents/babysitters might find a little irritating!)
There are also new food and drink offerings at Canada’s Wonderland this year. To drink, why not try out some of the , available thanks to a partnering with the Great Lakes Brewery. You can test out the new Leviathan Lager and Behemoth Blonde Ale at the new Minebuster Bar (in the Action Zone) and Medieval Refreshments (located in Medieval Faire).
To eat, you could try out the new poutine offering that won an internal competition among various dining locations at Canada’s Wonderland. This signature dish, aptly named “The Kicker”, has the typical base of fries but is then topped with chicken, BBQ sauce, Chipotle Baja sauce, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, diced tomatoes, green onions, and nacho cheese sauce. But then to substitute the traditional cheese curds, they’ve put in mozzarella shredded cheese.
You can pick up the Kicker, plus the new butter chicken poutine and pea meal bacon poutine at the new poutinerie locations at Canada’s Wonderland, which are the Apres Poutinerie and Action Zone Poutinerie, which is replacing the Bistro 81 food truck.
On June 15th, we’ll be blessed with another instalment from the much loved Pixar Animation Studios of the Incredibles. The Incredibles 2 will feature all of the original cast, including the quirky but lovable Edna Mode, and to celebrate the much awaited sequel, is releasing a new lineup of toys.
The toys from Funko will include pens, plush toys, keychains, minis and bobbleheads.
Having just come back from Costco Canada yesterday to get my bi-weekly haul of bulk goodies, I can assure you that these shopping tips are ones that I defer to frequently before I pack the car up to go to my local Costco.
Everyone knows that buying in bulk can (most of the time) save you money rather than shopping at your more conveniently located grocery store, but there are some hacks for shopping at Costco that will ensure that you are saving the maximum amount of money.
Here, we’ve rounded up the tips that will guarantee that you are maximizing your saving at every corner:
Choosing your membership
Costco offers different types of memberships for different types of shoppers, and for some people, it may not even make fiscal sense to invest in a membership if you only find yourself frequenting every couple of months. If you are this kind of shopper, then I’d advise getting one of your friends to grab you a .
If you’re a more frequent Costco shopper, then you’ll have the option to buy an executive, a business or gold star . If you’re shopping for a big family, or you and your roommates have gone split on a Costco membership and use it to stock the house, then it might make sense to invest the $120/year for the executive membership.
This will give you 2% back up to a maximum of $1,000/year, which means if you spend at least $6,000/year that you’d be making the cost of your membership back. Otherwise, you should stick with the gold star membership, which is just $60/year. Also, all of these cards will include a FREE spouse card.
Knowing the pricing
This tip will just alert you to why items are being marked down the way they are, which will ultimately help you gage how much of that item you should grab (i.e. it will let you know if that particular item is going to stop being stocked):
- if the price ends in….99…then it is just the regular price
- if the price ends in….97…then it is marked down from regular price
- if the price ends in….79, .49, .89…then they are specially priced items with the manufacturers discount
- if the price ends in…*…then it means the item is going to be discontinued and won’t be restocked, so it’s your last chance to grab it
- if the price ends in….88, .00…then it is a manager markdown, meaning it’s priced to sell fast
Join the vehicle program
If you join the , then you can save hundreds of dollars off on brand name products for some of the best-selling vehicles in Canada.
What to buy at Costco
Now this hack will vary depending on what your particular preferences/needs are, but there are some things that are exclusively sold at Costco, or are simply sold at the best price at Costco. But unless you’re buying a product exclusive to Costco, or a size of a specific product that’s only sold at Costco, I’d recommend always having your shopping apps available so that you can do an instantaneous price compare while you’re shopping (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Loblaws, Metro, etc.)
Some of the items that I find that I exclusively buy at Costco, as they are almost always cheaper than anywhere else are or they are only sold at Costco, are:
- bulk packages of frozen fruit and veggies (they come in sizes that you can’t find at any grocery store, and at prices that are unbeatable)
- baking necessities (Kirkland brand pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, yeast, spices, butter)
- snacks (Bark Thins, trail mix, Kirkland 2.5lb nuts, dried mango)
- spinach (the bulk organic packages only really make sense if you eat a lot of spinach, otherwise it’ll spoil before you’ve eaten through half the package!)
- Scoop Away cat litter (obviously only practical for those of you with feline friends hanging around)
- Nutella and peanut butter (Nutella is usually 25% the price of grocery store prices, and their natural nut butters are also usually cheaper)
- movie and restaurant (these are 20% cheaper than the face value)
- Rotisserie chicken breast meat (these are decently priced, but the best part is that they’ve already been stripped from the bone!)
- Costco sheet cakes (these are double the size of your supermarket variety, but somehow will end up costing you less)
- coffee (no matter what brand you’re buying, Costco will almost always have the most inexpensive and largest offering of your coffee, ground or unground)
Do you have any tips for saving extra money during your shopping trips at Costco Canada?
Click here to view Costco Canada’s latest flyers.
announced that later this spring they will be expanding the Canadian Tire loyalty program to include all of their retail brands. This will mean that Canadian Tire rewards will be able to be collected and redeemed at all of the following stores:
The new rewards program, which comes amidst a climate of various Canadian retailers updating and expanding their rewards programs (e.g. Loblaws’ and Shoppers rewards program, Air Canada’s evolving rewards program), will come into effect this spring and will be renamed the Triangle Rewards program.
In addition to the new retailers that the rewards program will include, Canadian Tire is also offering two new MasterCards as part of the updated program.
With the premium, no annual fee Triangle World Elite Mastercard, cardholders will receive all of the following benefits, in addition to Road Side assistance:
- 4% back on qualifying purchases made online and in-store at Canadian Tire, Mark’s, Sport Chek and Atmosphere
- 3% back in Canadian Tire Money on grocery store purchases
- 5 cents back per litre on regular fuel and 7 cents per litre on premium fuel at any Canadian Tire gas bar
- 1% back everywhere else you shop with your Triangle World Elite Mastercard
The Canadian Tire program was last updated in 1958, and the company’s chief marketing officer Susan O’Brien was quoted in an article written in the Globe and Mail that the change was a welcome one.
“We’ve got wonderful competition out there that’s making us think through new ways to connect our customers better and give them back the value that they want,” said O’Brien.
Torontonians were reported to have been lining up for 10 hours on Easter Sunday just to get a taste of the chicken from Jollibee, a fast-food chain that has long been touted as the ‘McDonald’s of the Philippines’.
On both sides of the Pacific, Jollibee has long been a staple of Filipinos living inside and outside of their home country, serving up traditional American dishes, such as burgers, fries, chicken and spaghetti, with a uniquely Asian spin.
The chicken and gravy, which you can order at the location at a two-piece Chickenjoy, is arguably the most popular dish on the menu. A pro tip for maximum enjoyment from a seasoned Jollibee customer: ask for extra gravy sauce. You’ll need it for both dipping the chicken in, and then to pour over your rice.
The iconic Jollibee red and white mascot was first seen on the front step of the chain’s premiere restaurant in the Philippines in 1975. Since then, it has grown to become the small Southeast Asian country’s largest fast-food chain and this Scarborough location will become Canada’s third location, as there are already two operating in Winnipeg.
The chain is hoping to expand their Canadian fleet to include a location in downtown Edmonton and another two stores in Ontario, one in Mississauga and one in downtown Toronto.
If you do reside in the GTA, then you can make a trip to Scarborough Plaza to check out the Filipino fast-food offerings from Jollibee.
Do you have a self-professed Peppa Pig fan at home? If so, then you’ll be keen to hear that the adorable pig will be heading out on tour in Canada starting this April 2018. The show is going to feature life size puppets, and will include all of the favourite characters that your child has come to love watching on the television, but this time they’ll be played out as anthropomorphized puppets!
You can get tickets at either , where you will be able to grab seats for as little as $32 USD, or at the main Peppa Pig site where they are selling VIP passes for $179.50. This is a bit pricier than the general admission seats, but the VIP Surprise Party Pass will include all of the following extra perks:
- 1 premium seat in the first 15 rows of the venue
- Exclusive access to the Peppa Pig Party after the show
- Healthy snacks and water
- Meet and greet photo opportunity with the Peppa Pig cast on the pink carpet
- 1 exclusive Peppa Pig lunch box
- On-site party concierge
Another possible option, should it be available in your city, is to pick up tickets on , where tickets have already been discounted (for the Hamilton show on May 1st) to be just $35 (reg. $53.40).
Things are looking up for the Canadian traveler as flight prices between Europe and Canada are expected to get much lower with the introduction of Norwegian Air, a budget European airline, into the Canadian market.
The Canadian Transportation Agency has given an initial permit to the Norwegian airline service, who are anticipated to start selling tickets ahead of their official summertime launch. Before things can become official, however, the airline service must first receive approval from Transport Canada. The fact that they’ve already been given permission to start selling tickets ahead of their launch though indicates that things will be going forward without a hitch.
“The agency is satisfied that there is a high probability that the licence will issue prior to the intended startup date on July 23, 2018,” the CTA , according to CBC.
Norwegian Air has yet to confirm what routes they’ll be flying to in Canada, nor given an indication of what their prices will be, but one can guess that they will be competitive with the other budget airlines who have been contending for the attention of the Canadian traveler. For instance, in 2015, Wow Air (an Icelandic carrier) set up a route between Canada and Europe that cost less than $100. Later, they added a flight between Canada and continental Europe that cost just $149!
In a similar move, the Latvian carrier Primera Air announced last year that they would begin flying between Toronto and continental Europe for as little as $199. These flights are going to be taking off from Pearson starting next month and will be running three times a week between England and Toronto and four times between France and Toronto.
Now I may date myself when I say this, but I remember when you could go to the movies with just a crisp $5 bill in your pocket. Nowadays, that will barely put a dent in covering your jumbo-sized Coke or equally large bag of popcorn. That being said, there are a couple of hacks that can keep you and your family on the straight and narrow when it comes to saving at the movies. We’ve collected these tips into one list so that you can not only save money this March Break, but continue to save even after the kiddies are back at school.
The first and probably best deal that you should cash-in on is the one from , where they are offering from Monday through to Friday (dates will vary depending on your region) for just $2.99. This is the same awesome price that they offer their for each Saturday morning, which you can continue to take advantage of even after March Break!
This one isn’t necessarily a ‘hack’ but more of a throwing your name in the hat for a chance to win free movies for an entire year. Virgin Mobile is offering this contest for members through till January 27, 2019 and they will be drawing a new name to announce a new winner each week. Your chances are pretty slim, but hey, it’s free movies so it’s worth a shot at least?
If you’re a CAA member and you , then this offer can snag your two FREE movie vouchers when you refer a friend to CAA. This offer is only valid in some provinces throughout Canada, but if you’re in Manitoba then you can refer a friend either by presenting the coupon in-person, online or over the phone. Not a bad deal for gaining two free movies, arguably valued at $20 or more!
The is one of the more consistent hacks to save on going to the movies, as it will save you 10% off on already-discounted cheap Tuesday movies plus 10% off on movie snacks. And with each movie purchase you make with your SCENE card, you’ll be that much closer to receiving a FREE movie, as you only need to collect 1,000 SCENE points.
Members who are also Scotiabank members can even stand to save and earn a little more, as the allows cardholders to actually earn SCENE points on debit purchases. The same applies for the and with both cards you’ll receive a registering bonus of 5,000 points for the debit card and 4,000 points for the Visa card.
Viola Desmond may not have been given her fair claim to fame when she was living, but she will now be forever cemented as not only being the first non-royal woman to be featured prominently on a piece of regularly circulating Canadian currency, but also the first African-Canadian woman to be featured on a Canadian bill. The new $10 bill was unveiled with Desmond’s portrait in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 8, which was, fittingly, also International Women’s Day.
Bill Morneau, the finance minister, presented the then unseen $10 note to Desmond’s sister, Wanda Robson, who went on to thank the artist behind her sister’s currency recreation for capturing a “beautiful” and “unique” bank note.
Desmond’s contribution to Canada’s civil rights movement deserves more recognition than she has historically been treated with, and this bill marks a step in correcting that wrong. She began her activism in the 1940s, most notably when she refused to leave the whites-only section of a movie theatre in Nova Scotia. This landmark event would occur nearly ten years before Rosa Parks would refuse to leave the whites-only section of a bus in Alabama, though Desmond has received much less recognition for her act of bravery than her southern counterpart.
You can expect to see the bill in regular circulation in late 2018.
Cherished for its ability to speed up cooking by 2-10 times, while also using 70% less energy than traditional pressure cookers, the Instant Pot is coming under some unwanted external heat after reports surfaced that some of their customers were experiencing overheating and, in some cases, melting of their products.
The Canadian cooking appliance company has since asked that the affected model, the Gem 65 8-in-1 multi cookers, stop being used by their customers after learning that some of these cookers were actually melting on the underside of the product due to extreme overheating.
In a statement issued on their , the company went on to say that: “We believe the problem only affects batchcodes 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734, and 1746.”
You can find the batchcode for your Instant Pot by first finding the four-digit product code that is underneath the label of the product.
It should also be heavily emphasized that this is not a product recall, but rather an advisory from the company to stop using the product any further.
“We want you to know that we take any problem with our products extremely seriously as safety and quality are our primary concern, and we are working cooperatively with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,” the company said.
More information on the status of the Instant Pot’s that are affected by this advisory is expected to come out in the next few weeks, the statement on their website continued. This will also include updates about whether or not customers will receive a replacement or will be required to recall the item.
No, we are not reverse ageing here at SmartLife, though I am feeling a bit of my childlike whim and whimsy in writing about one of the places I held in the highest regard from ages 4 to 16. But in case you need some more adult-like justification for reading about one of the most magical places on earth, that is, , then you should know that the New York Times recently named Disney World as number 41 of their .
Part of the Times reasoning behind recommending Disney World, specifically for the more seasoned traveller, is because of a redesign that the Disney World neighbourhood known as Downtown Disney has undergone in 2018. The neighbourhood has been rebranded as Disney Springs and features hot culinary venues from top chefs in the industry, such as Wolfgang Puck and Masaharu Morimoto. Disney Springs also has a grown-up wine bar opening in the spring in addition to some evening activities that only people who are above the drinking age will truly appreciate.
But aside from the adult playground that Disney is updating, there are also a number of new attractions, rides and renovations that Disney World will be launching in 2018. We’ve collected just a couple of the reasons why you’ll want to make 2018 the year you make everyone in your family’s dreams come true!
New lands to explore
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore Andy’s backyard through the vantage point of one of his toy soldiers from the Disney Pixar movie franchise Toy Story? Well starting in summer 2018, you will be able to do so at the 11-acre Toy Story Land, which will include rides like Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.
Also coming in 2018, at Walt Disney World at least (Disneyland will have to wait until 2019), is the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
In case you’ve been anxiously wondering when US President Donald Trump will be added to the Hall of Presidents inside Magic Kingdom, you needn’t fret as an animatronic version of the headline grabbing president made its way into the ride this past December 2017.
There are a number of new rides coming in 2018, and even more were announced to the lineup to be added over the next few years!
- TRON COASTER (opening on 50th anniversary in 2021): Tron Coaster will be replaced and setup closeby to Space Mountain
- MICKEY’S RUNAWAY RAILWAY (not announced yet, but last day to ride original is Aug. 13, 2018): The classic The Great Movie Ride is going to be replaced with a new and immersive ride, called Mickey’s Runaway Railway
- RATATOUILLE ATTRACTION (unspecified date): a Ratatouille themed attraction will be arriving at Epcot
- SEAMLESS CIRCLE-VISION IN CHINA PAVILION (opening date not announced): an updated digital video production at the China Pavilion
Canadians receive 20% discount offer!
As always, saving the best for last with this offer that is exclusively available to Canadian residents. In case you missed our much more detailed post about this saving opportunity back in November, you can check it out here as all the same rules and restrictions apply.
Essentially, if you buy a pass for at least four days, then you will qualify to receive a discount of 20% off. You will only have until February 10, 2018 to buy tickets at this reduced price and you will have until December 31, 2018 to activate your tickets.
There is always a good time to visit Walt Disney World, but 2018 is really shaping up to be the best for both new offerings and money saving.
Loblaws Canada and Amazon had best watch out, as has recently announced their bold decision to amp up their online grocery delivery service by partnering with the UK supermarket brand Ocado Group.
Since Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year, the multi-national e-commerce site has been putting pressure on Canadian grocers, such as Sobeys, to make significant improvements to their online grocery delivery systems.
“We want to be the other player,” Sobeys spokesperson Cynthia Thomspon said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The grocer that is competing with them head on.”
And this deal between British Ocado and Sobeys intends to launch the Canadian grocer into competing head on with the tech giant, specifically when it comes to their online grocery business.
Ocado will provide Sobeys with engineering and tech support to help build their online brand, an expertise that can be seen in Ocado’s own successful launch of Ocado.com and several other specialist banners.
The two firms are going to be setting up their main warehouse in the Greater Toronto Area over the course of the next two years, where they will build a customer base by providing services to 1,500 stores across the region falling under brands like IGA, Safeway and Thrifty Foods.
Sobeys has made this announcement just on the heels of their competitor Loblaw Companies Ltd., who also said they would be outsourcing their home delivery services to an international company. Loblaws announced they would be partnering with the California-based Instacart to provide home delivery services starting in Toronto and would later be adding Vancouver to the cities with home delivery.
Distracted driving can take on many forms, but the most common example that you’ll probably see cruising down the freeway on your morning commute to work are people who have one hand resting on the steering wheel and the other furiously thumbing through their Facebook newsfeed.
This is just one example among countless others, but these offences – as they will soon be known – are going to have some serious repercussions if you’re caught doing them in the Ontario, as the province’s new rules are set to take effect after receiving Royal Assent.
“The law has been passed — it’s now just a matter of time,” the Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe said to 680 NEWS on Monday.
“You the driver has to decide, is answering that text message or making that phone call going to be worth it when you can’t buy your way out of this anymore. You will receive a licence suspension and you will receive a substantial fine.”
These new rules that are to come into effect will mean that offenders who are caught breaking the law and are convicted will automatically have their driver’s license suspended and will receive fines reaching as high as $3,000 for individuals who are convicted three or more times.
For your first offence, you will be fined a maximum of $1,000 whereas for your second conviction you would receive a maximum fine of $2,000.
The suspension of your license will follow a similar scheme to the fines, with your first offence leading to a three day suspension, you second conviction would be a seven day suspension and people who are convicted three or more times will have their license taken away for 30 days.
The license suspension, however, will be at the discretion of the judge who will have to order the license to be taken away, meaning officers won’t be able to confiscate licenses on the side of the road.
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