TORONTO - Wallets were flung open and registers rang out Wednesday as a number of Canadians shook off holiday fatigue and flocked to stores for Boxing Day bargains.

In Toronto, eager shoppers lined up in sub-zero temperatures outside downtown stores while others scoured the Eaton Centre mall for savings.

Griffin Courtice, 17, got a 5 a.m. lift to Best Buy, braving the morning cold to stand in line with dozens of people an hour before the store opened its doors.

The teen said he set his sights on a deeply discounted TV, the nearly half-off sale price deemed worth the pre-dawn wake-up call and "mind-blowing" lineup.

Despite growing competition from the U.S.'s Black Friday — the annual day of drastic markdowns held the Friday after American Thanksgiving — Courtice said the bargains found on Boxing Day are nothing to sleep through.

"Even though Black Friday may have been a bit more intense, a bit crazy, people are still getting good sales," Courtice said while clutching a 32-inch flat-screen TV.

A new survey commissioned by the Bank of Montreal suggests Canadians continue to embrace the Boxing Day tradition this year.

The Pollara survey of 1,000 Canadians found that roughly six in 10 respondents planned to shop on one of the busiest business days of the year for retailers.

The survey suggested Alberta would see the most transactions Wednesday, with 76 per cent of respondents saying they planned to take advantage of Boxing Day bargains. Atlantic Canada was next at 72 per cent, followed by Ontario at 69 per cent.

Quebec was expected to see the lightest Boxing Day shopping, with just 36 per cent of respondents saying they planned to take part in the annual shopping extravaganza.

The survey also found that men were more likely than women to take advantage of Boxing Day sales at a rate of 66 per cent versus 58 per cent.

One-in-five, or 22 per cent, said they planned to shop for themselves, while 34 per cent said they would buy items for both themselves and others.

The survey was conducted between Oct. 11 and 16. and the results are considered accurate plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Despite the survey's findings regarding Quebec, several major electronic and clothing stores in downtown Montreal drew big lines on Wednesday.

A crowd of bargain hunters waited for hours outside a big-box retail store in frigid temperatures.

Fabiola Ruiz, 31, split the waiting duties with her mother and brought along her eight-year-old daughter for company as well.

"It's very cold, but it's worth it," she said, sipping coffee to keep warm. "We're looking for deals for the whole family."

It was a similar scene in Vancouver, where shoppers bustling through one of the city's most popular downtown shopping streets paid little attention to the light mist of rain coming down on their packages.

Small queues formed outside several Granville Street clothing stores, and a steady stream of flatscreen TVs were wheeled out of a big box electronics store and loaded into taxis.

Two sisters who called themselves "professional" Boxing Day shoppers said the deals lived up to their usual expectations, having arrived at 7:15 a.m. from Mission, B.C., an hour's drive from the east.

"You know what to expect and it's just going to be crowded and crazy and you have to know what you want and get in and get out. We went scouting before," said Gillian Robertson, 20.

"The other day we came in, walked around, saw what we wanted and then waited for the deals," explained her sister, Caitlin Robertson, 24.

Howard Ma, however, who used to live in Vancouver but now returns from his home abroad to visit family each year, said he is starting to notice a downward trend.

"There wasn't as many good deals as I thought there'd be. Retailers do sales the whole year round," he said.

Regardless, he expects he'll be back again next year.

"I think it's still going to happen, it's just a tradition," he said. "Going to come out the day after the holidays, walk, look around. But you're not going to go out of your way to do the 6 a.m. thing anymore. That was, like, ten years ago."

Future Shop spokesman Elliott Chun said most shoppers ducking into the electronics chain on its busiest day of the year are looking to fulfil their own desires.

"We're seeing customers coming in with their gift cards, with their Christmas cash and they're starting to spend it on themselves," he said, adding the average transaction on Boxing Day tops $500.

Chun said Black Friday isn't sapping the enthusiasm of shoppers, noting that hundreds lined up early at Future Shop stores across the country, some arriving the night before to camp out for a prime spot in line.

Meanwhile, BMO Vice-President Su McVey said in a statement that bargain seekers should take Boxing Day buys into account when figuring out how much they'll spend over the holiday period.

Robert Knowles, 56, said he didn't work Boxing Day spending into his holiday budget this year, but that the $50 computer printer he nabbed Wednesday in Toronto isn't going to break the bank.

"I'm not very good at budgeting (for) it other than not to spend too much money," he said before heading home with his purchase.

— with files from Ben Shingler in Montreal and Tamsyn Burgmann in Vancouver

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Urban Outfitters

    The Details: Wednesday, Dec. 26 What You Get: Take an extra 30 per cent off!

  • The Peacock Parade

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Three dress blowouts organized alphabetically by designer. All dresses will be under $50 and prices will be up to 90 per cent off!

  • Indigo, Chapters & Coles

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 <strong>What You Get:</strong> In-store sales of up to 75 per cent off on select home décor, books, toys and accessories. They're also offering a great deal on the Kobo Arc (16GB for $200; 32GB for $250; 64GB for $300). With the purchase of one Kobo Arc you can get a Kobo Mini (valued at $80) for free. Online customers will find discounts on bestsellers.

  • Old Navy

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Saturday, Dec. 29 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Up to 70 per cent off on adult and children's clothing.

  • Home Outfitters

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Sale starts on Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Thursday, Jan. 3 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Doors open at 7 a.m. (early bird gets the worm!). Expect to find door crashers on kitchen, bed and bath items. You'll even find bargains on cookware and dinnerware sets, vacuums, coffee makers, home furnishings and more. <em>Bonus: Save 60 per cent off on all Christmas-themed products like ornaments and 50 per cent off on all Christmas-themed tableware and gift baskets (late Christmas present ideas, anyone?).</em>

  • EQ3

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Saturday, Dec. 22 to Saturday, Dec. 29 <strong>What You Get:</strong> In store and online deals on furniture for your living and dining room, bedroom, office and more! In addition to discounts from their winter sale (beginning December 14 and ending January 20), you get an extra 15 per cent off on all regular-priced items and 20 per cent off if the bill total is $2,500 or higher (all items must be purchased at regular price, before tax and delivery; this excludes Herman Miller).

  • Future Shop

    <strong>The Details:</strong> The online sale starts Monday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. <strong>What You Get:</strong> For all you tech lovers and die-hard gamers, there'll be bargains on video games, computers, tech gizmos and gadgets galore.

  • The Home Depot

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Thursday, Dec. 20 to Sunday, Jan. 6 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Bargains for all your home needs and get an extra 10 per cent off the last ticketed price on all major appliances.

  • Best Buy

    <strong>The Details:</strong> The online sale starts Monday, Dec. 24 and the in-store sale begins Wednesday, Dec. 26 <strong>What You Get:</strong> For all things tech and electronic, you'll find great bargains here. The company is even offering a price-beat promise (find a lower price anywhere and they'll match it). If you're an online shopper, you can even reserve your products online for fast and easy in-store pickup.

  • Thyme Maternity

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Tuesday, Dec. 18 to Monday, Dec. 31 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Up to 50 per cent off stylish maternity wear. Find cardigans starting at $39, pants starting at $49, shirts starting at $29 and loungewear starting at $39.

  • Canada Computers

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 <strong>What You Get:</strong> From cameras to computers, they're offering door crashers that will make any tech-savvy customer happy. (Though they aren't specifying the discount amount yet.)

  • The Brick

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Doors open at 6 a.m. (so get enough shut-eye the night before). You can get 50 per cent off select items like mattress and sofa sets. They're even selling 1,500 seven-inch tablets for only $68.

  • Walmart

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Online sale starts Friday, Dec. 21 <strong>What You Get:</strong> It's Walmart... what can't you get? Watch them slash low prices even lower! <a href="">Get full discount deals here</a>.

  • Fred Perry

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. <strong>What You Get:</strong> 50 per off on Fred Perry wear

  • Oliver Spencer

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. <strong>What You Get:</strong> 50 per cent off stylish menswear

  • Canadian Tire

    <strong>The Details:</strong> We know something's brewing at Canadian Tire, we just don't know what yet. So put it on your list of places to hit and you'll be the first to know once we get the scoop!

  • Drake Hotel General Store

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Up to 50 per cent off on seasonal and fall/winter collections including Lifetime, Something Else, 213 Industry, Gant, Cheap Monday, Levi's and more!

  • Over The Rainbow

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Sale starts on Wednesday, Dec 26 at 8 a.m. and runs through the week. <strong>What You Get:</strong> All fall/winter fashion items like shirts, sweaters and jackets (except for the brand Canada Goose) and accessories like bags, shoes and jewellery are on sale. Get up to 50 per cent off on denim and keep an eye out for some amazing door crashers starting at $25.

  • Thomas Sabo

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Thursday, Jan. 31 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Get excited! This is the <em>first ever</em> worldwide Thomas Sabo sale! All Thomas Sabo Signature shops and retailers are offering 40 per cent off on select merchandise!

  • Gotstyle Menswear

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 starting at 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. <strong>What You Get:</strong> Thirty to 40 per cent off everything. You'll find all your favourite designers. Here's just a snippet of what they offer: Moose Knuckles, Nobis, Psycho Bunny, John Varvatos, Zanerobe, Ted Baker, Strellson, Sand, G Lab, Tombolini, Marshall Artist, Moods Of Norway, Haight & Ashbury, Dr. Denim, AG, PRPS, Velvet, Gsus, Johnny Love, No Brand, Adidas SLVR, Sully Wong, Goorin Hats, Tiger Of Sweden, Lab, Cerruti 1881 and more!


    <strong>The Details:</strong> Starting 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26 for an entire week! <strong>What You Get:</strong> Get up to 25 per cent off Beats headphones and speakers, up to 40 per cent off select digital cameras from Panasonic, Olympus and Canon, up to 78 per cent off memory cards and up to 75 per cent off select movies and television shows. Find more amazing deals <a href="">here</a>

  • Mobilicity

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Sales start on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to Monday, Dec. 31. <strong>What You Get:</strong> You can save up to $150 on select smartphones. But keep in mind, quantities are limited.

  • H&M

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Sales start on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7:03 a.m. <strong>What You Get:</strong> Get ready to go elbow-to-elbow because the first 100 people at selected H&M's across the country will get up to $300 off their purchase. Prices are slashed on hundreds of items throughout the store — so you can expect those $5 deals!

  • Wind

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Monday, Dec. 31 <strong>What You Get:</strong> Get a free Xbox when you buy any Windows phone and activate a $40 Unlimited Wish plan. If you're among the first ten customers to sign up on Boxing Day, you'll also receive a $100 service credit. Other smartphones start at $0 when you sign up for a plans in-store. For more information, click <a href="">here</a>.

  • Jones New York

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Sale begins on Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Thursday, Dec. 27. <strong>What You Get:</strong>Get up to 80 per cent off the original price and save up to 70 per cent on everything else in store.

  • Fido

    <strong>The Details:</strong> Boxing week sales end Monday, Dec. 31. <strong>What You Get:</strong> Get the first month free when you sign up for a Fido agreement up until December 31.

  • EB Games

    <strong>The Details:</strong> In store and online sales begin on Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Monday, Dec. 31. <strong>What You Get:</strong> Save $100 on the Xbox 360 250GB holiday bundle and get up to $40 off video games like Halo 4, Diablo, Max Payne 3 and more!

  • Aritzia

    The Details: In store sales start at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26. But you can start shopping <a href="">online</a> now! <strong>What You Get: </strong>Save between 20 to 50 per cent on all fall and winter fashions.

  • Eddie Bauer

    <strong>The Details:</strong> The sale is on now, but we don't know for how long! <strong>What You Get:</strong> Get up to 60 per cent off select men's, women's and kids' merchandise both in store and online.

  • Henry's

    <strong>The Details:</strong> In store sales begin on Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Wednesday, Jan. 2 <strong>What You Get:</strong> All memory cards, lighting equipment and Sigma lenses are on sale. Get cameras at reduced prices and save big on lenses from Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and more. Save at least 20 per cent on all bags, cases and tripods.