Canadians headed to shopping venues on Boxing Day in hopes of scooping up deals on everything from cameras to clothes.
There were early-morning lineups outside the West Edmonton Mall and the Eaton Centre in Toronto and lineups to get into some stores during the afternoon.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the city's north expected more than 100,000 people to walk through its doors. Shoppers vied for parking spaces at the mall, circling the parking lots for a vacancy. Roads leading to shopping centre were backed up for much of the day.
The first shopper arrived outside Future Shop, a large electronics retailer on Montreal's Ste-Catherine Street at 1 a.m. ET, 12 hours before the store opened.
Kevin Bergeron, 18, said it was a long, cold night. He hoped the electronics store would give him a prize for being first in line.
"I think I'll buy a TV or some video games, or maybe a laptop," he said. "Whatever has the best deal, that's what I'll take."
But the crowds outside some of Montreal's stores appeared thinner than in previous years, The Canadian Press reported.
No shoppers in some provinces
Shoppers weren't looking for deals in every province, though.
Future Shop, a large electronics retailer, said its stores in all four Atlantic provinces and in the northern Ontario cities of Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie were closed because of local laws forbidding store openings on the public holiday.
There are two possibilities about the potential size of the take from Dec. 26 bargains.
Stores started their sales early, with online divisions offering deals on Christmas Eve. And Canadians flocked to the Black Monday sales, said Moneris Solutions, which processes debit and credit card sales.
If enough shoppers opted to buy before Christmas, it could limit the volume on Boxing Day.
On the other hand, Moneris also said that electronics and camera sales dropped sharply from the 2010 pre-Christmas levels, "which may indicate consumers are holding out for Boxing Day discounts."
That's certainly the impression the CBC's Redmond Shannon got, reporting from outside Toronto's Eaton Centre on Monday morning, when there were 500 people lined up at 6 a.m.
"People want their deals," he said.
Wide-screen TVs appeared to be the object of choice. "You just see people dragging them along the floor" (because the boxes are too big to carry), Shannon said.
But if crowds are good for retailers, potential shoppers are not so enthusiastic.
"I am so not looking forward to the crowd of people that will be at the mall today. But that still won't stop me from going," one Toronto shopper tweeted Monday morning.