Best Buy Canada’s Life & Tech Festival returning to Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square

 

Best Buy Life & Tech

Best Buy Canada announced Thursday that their Life & Tech Festival is returning to Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square for the third year.

The interactive festival showcases smart home and connected health devices, along with the latest in wearable tech, connected toys and drones, and gaming and virtual reality systems.

Best Buy says over 60 exhibitors from around the globe will be demonstrating products at the 2017 fest.

The event runs daily from September 12 to 14 between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. It’s free for the public to check out.

Are you interested in Best Buy Canada’s Life & Tech Festival? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Gallery: Home Depot Canada holiday 2016 showcase

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

These gifts will light up your home with style and class.

Home Depot Canada got all holly and jolly last Tuesday night to showcase its 2016 holiday collection at an event in Toronto.

Continuing the theme both Lowe’s Canada and Canadian Tire displayed at their events earlier this year, Home Depot Canada is featuring quality, stylish products that will help make your home look classy and sophisticated as you celebrate with family and friends this holiday season.

RELATED: Canadian Tire’s 2016 holiday preview

Whether you’re looking for new holiday lighting, a special item for the mantel or a white poinsettia, Home Depot Canada has you covered. Check out some photos from the event below and share your thoughts in the comments or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

Items you can place on mantels or shelves are popular this year.

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

Holiday-themed cushions are always welcoming!

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

I’m a sensing a theme with large decorative gift boxes (these ones don’t light up but still look cool).

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

Jars with lights look great on a mantel or as a centrepiece on a dining room table.

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

Large ornaments spread around your home offer a unique look.

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

Even cute decorations can look classy!

Home Depot Canada Holiday 2016

Sticking to one colour palette helps your tree stand out and will make your guests jealous.

For more decorating ideas from Home Depot Canada, visit homedepot.ca.

5 reasons to get an Amazon Kindle e-reader

Amazon Kindle

I’ve barely put my Amazon Kindle e-reader down since I got it.

Amazon released an all-new version of its Kindle e-reader recently that features a 6-inch glare-free display with E Ink Pearl technology, 4GB of storage, built-in WiFi and a battery that lasts for weeks. Amazon sent me one to test and I have barely put it down since I got it. After using it for two weeks, here are the top five reasons I recommend getting an Amazon Kindle for yourself.

No more clutter on your nightstand

With 4GB of storage (plus free cloud storage from Amazon), the paperback-sized Kindle is perfect for keeping a massive library on your nightstand without a stack of books cluttering up the place. This is a huge bonus if you have at least six books on the go at once, like I do, or if you just hate having a mess beside your head when you sleep.

It’s not distracting to read on

Besides cutting down on clutter, the best reason to get a Kindle is because it won’t distract you while you read. It’s got built-in WiFi for downloading books, articles and documents, but there’s no web browser, messaging app, Facebook, Twitter or sound of any kind. The anti-glare screen and digital ink are also very much like a real book and don’t affect your eyes like an iPad or iPhone screen does (there’s also no backlight on the regular Kindle so you can’t read in the dark, just like a real book).

RELATED: Is now the time for Amazon to launch a delivery service in Canada?

The Send to Kindle feature

No question, Amazon knows online shopping and delivers a wonderful experience when it comes to buying ebooks. But there are things you want to read besides books. Online articles, PDF manuals, short stories and blog posts can all be formatted and read on a Kindle. Every Kindle has a unique email address you can send document files to and it will automatically download and add them to your library. You can also use the Send to Kindle app for Mac, PC or Android to push documents to your Kindle. For online articles, like Andrew Sullivan’s lengthy I Used to Be a Human Being, you can use the Send to Kindle extension for Chrome and FireFox.

You’ll read more

Because of its portable size, ability to store a ton of books and articles, Amazon’s intuitive store behind it (yes, I would like a sample of Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head based on my interest in Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo) and no distractions while using it, I have found myself reading a lot more since I received the Kindle (my kids have also been reading on it and want to read now). The anti-glare screen is great for using it outside on lunch breaks and because the battery lasts so long I never have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of an exciting chapter (I’ve only charged it once since I got it).

RELATED: 5 reasons to add Philips Hue bulbs to your smart home

It’s only $79

Amazon offers a few different Kindle models ranging in price and features. The base Kindle e-reader I received is only $79.99 though and is well worth every penny. It’s such a reasonable price I plan to buy one for a few people on my Christmas list this year and honestly don’t know why I didn’t buy one for myself sooner.

For more information on the Amazon Kindle e-reader, visit amazon.ca.

Do you use a Kindle or other e-reader? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Is the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush worth the price?

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush comes with two brush heads, a USB travel case and a special glass that can charge the unit. Photo courtesy of Philips.

For the past few years my dentist has been recommending I switch to an electric toothbrush. I’ve contemplated it a couple of times but have always walked away after seeing the price of them and not believing the benefits matched the product. My feelings on electric toothbrushes changed when Philips sent me one of their Sonicare DiamondClean models to test.

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is a beautifully designed electric toothbrush and I knew it was a high quality product as soon as I took it out of the box.

WATCH: Unboxing the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush

It comes in a variety of colour options, but the white model I received was perfect for my needs (and looks quite lovely on my counter).

The built-in rechargeable battery can be charged in multiple ways, including a unique glass that you just set the brush in. There’s also a durable (and classy) USB travel case and a coaster-like stand (which I thought was a lid to the cup when I unboxed it) that can charge it as well.

The handle fits comfortably in my large hands and the vibration from the motor is barely noticeable. It’s also much quieter than I expected and doesn’t wake my kids up when I’m using it in the morning or late at night.

The Sonicare DiamondClean has five brushing modes to choose from depending on the level of cleaning you want. “Clean” is good for an overall standard brushing, while “Gum Care” and “Sensitive” are more gentle modes that also massage your gums. “Polish” and “White” do deeper cleaning to help brighten your teeth.

Two brush heads are included with the Sonicare DiamondClean kit (one standard and one compact) and they easily click into place onto the handle. The brush heads do come with plastic covers but don’t fit into the travel case with them on. This was the only real downside I found with the unit as I would prefer to have the brush heads covered inside the case (especially when travelling).

No doubt, there is a huge difference in how clean my teeth are after using the Sonicare DiamondClean as opposed to a manual toothbrush. I immediately noticed a difference upon first use and after a couple of weeks of testing which modes work best for me, my teeth feel much cleaner and appear a lot whiter. My gum health also seems to be doing better (which is the reason my dentist recommended I get an electric toothbrush in the first place) and I actually get excited to brush my teeth now.

RELATED: Philips launches Sonicare connected toothbrush

While it’s not as fancy as their connected “smart” toothbrush (which tells you via an app on your phone if you didn’t brush enough), the Sonicare DiamondClean is well worth the money if you care about your dental health. I don’t think I could ever go back to a manual toothbrush again.

The Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush retails for around $199.99 on Amazon.ca. Extra brush heads are available in packs of two for around $30. For more information, visit philips.ca.

Do you use a Philips Sonicare DiamondClean or another brand of electric toothbrush? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Disney Castle LEGO set now available for LEGO VIP members

LEGO Disney Castle

Are you ready to build a 4,080 piece LEGO Disney Castle?

If you ever felt the need to build a LEGO replica of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle, you’re in luck as the official set is now available to order for LEGO VIP members.

With a crazy 4,080 pieces, the Disney Castle set measures 48cm wide by 74cm high and features a detailed facade, clock, stone bridge, arched entrance, four-storey main building and a five-storey tower.

RELATED: LEGO Imagine Nation Tour coming to four Canadian cities

Rooms inside the castle are based off of animated Disney films and include items such as a chest with book of spells, buildable candelabra and a large redbrick-patterned stove.

The magical model also comes with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Tinker Bell minifigures.

BELOW: Explore the Disney Castle with LEGO Designer Marcos Bessa

If you’re not a LEGO VIP member (which is a free loyalty program so why not become a member), you’ll have to wait until Sept. 1 to purchase the set, which retails for a cool $399.99 in Canada.

RELATED: The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

For more information on the Disney Castle LEGO set or to become a LEGO VIP member, visit shop.lego.com.

Are you excited for the LEGO Disney Castle set? Will you buy it for yourself or your kids? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

IKEA meatballs finally coming to some pick-up and order locations

IKEA meatballs

IKEA’s frozen meatballs are now available to purchase at select pick-up and order locations.

Since IKEA began opening their pick-up and order locations in smaller Canadian markets last year, customers have been generally happy.

These locations allow customers to browse and purchase certain IKEA items, work with IKEA employees on planning things like a kitchen layout and of course order items directly to the store for pick-up (for a ridiculous $20 fee).

RELATED: You can now use PayPal online at IKEA Canada

What these locations don’t offer, though, are the famous frozen Swedish meatballs IKEA customers love. That’s about to change, the company announced Thursday.

“Our customers told us they wanted meatballs at our pick-up and order point locations and we listened. At IKEA, we know food plays a key role in bringing people together for important moments in life and we’re proud to be a part of that,” Danielle Beauchesne, IKEA Canada Food Manager, said in a statement.

The IKEA pick-up and order locations stocking the frozen meatballs include Kitchener, Quebec City, St. Catharines, Whitby and Windsor. The variety of fully cooked frozen meatballs available at these locations include beef, chicken and veggie.

Are you a fan of IKEA meatballs? Do you like their pick-up and order stores? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Guelph’s new Walmart focusing on convenience, sustainability

Walmart truck

The new Guelph South Walmart Supercentre officially opens Thursday, August 4. File photo courtesy Spencer Tirey.

When Guelph’s second Walmart location opens Thursday, Aug. 4, customers might be surprised to find a unique shopping experience.

Located at the former Target location on Stone Rd., the Guelph South Walmart Supercentre is a new prototype design store that focuses heavily on convenience and sustainability.

RELATED: New Walmart Canada app aims to help customers shop better

Along with the new prototype layout, the Guelph South Walmart Supercentre includes better in-store signage to help navigate the 121,000-square-feet of groceries and merchandise. Customers will also be able to order groceries online at walmart.ca and pick them up in store.

“Canadians now recognize Walmart as a grocery destination and our supercentres are a favourite shopping format,” Store Manager Crystal Truax said in a statement. “We’re also extremely excited about our new prototype design. We’re always working to help our customers save money and live better and we know our customers will love the new store layout and signage.”

The Guelph South location also features a full-service pharmacy, medical clinic, photo kiosks and a Western Union.

Environmentally-friendly features of the new store include LED exterior signage, energy-efficient coolers and freezers and a system to divert waste from landfills. Walmart has also stopped offering free plastic bags at all Ontario locations and is working with vendors to reduce packaging.

RELATED: Walmart Canada focusing on quality and colour for 2016 spring collection

The Guelph South Walmart Supercentre officially opens at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4. There will be a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Aug. 6 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. featuring free samples, family activities, live music and a special appearance by Shopkins characters.

Share your thoughts on the new Guelph South Walmart Supercentre in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

The Beer Store taking online pre-orders at 25 locations

Beer Xpress

A minimum order of $20 is required to use The Beer Store’s online pre-order service.

The Beer Store is now offering online pre-orders at 25 locations across Ontario.

Using the website BeerXpress.ca, customers can search for items by category, brand, container type, country of origin, what’s on sale or browse by what’s available at a specific location.

“We’re delighted to offer a digital solution that will enhance the overall customer experience. We have introduced our mobile application and in-store touch screens (Pricing Information Centres) in recent years and Beer Xpress is the latest digital innovation for customers to enjoy,” Ted Moroz, President of the Beer Store, said in a media release.

RELATED: LCBO now taking online orders

Each of the 25 locations have been outfitted with a Beer Xpress station so customers can quickly pay and pick-up online orders. A minimum order of $20 is required and customers must register for an account to use the Beer Xpress service.

The 25 locations accepting online pre-orders are:

  • Brampton – 198 Queen St. East
  • Brampton – 180 Sandalwood Pkwy.
  • Milton – 1071 Maple Ave.
  • Oakville – 511 Maple Grove Drive
  • Oakville – 104 Lakeshore Rd. West
  • Oshawa – 257 Wentworth St. West
  • Mississauga – 420 Lakeshore Rd East
  • Etobicoke – 250 Wincott Rd.
  • Scarborough – 1437 Victoria Park Ave.
  • Scarborough – 2360 Kennedy Rd.
  • London – 155 Clarke Rd.
  • London – 414 Wharncliffe Rd. South
  • Windsor – 2380 Walker Rd.
  • Barrie – 30 Anne St. South
  • Collingwood – 415 First St.
  • Guelph – 710 Woolwich St.
  • Hamilton – 959 Fennell Ave. East
  • Cambridge – 200 Franklin Blvd.
  • Waterloo – 70 Weber St. North
  • Kitchener – 875 Highland Rd. West, Unit 80
  • St. Catharines – 99 Dieppe Rd.
  • Niagara Falls – 6757 Lundy’s Lane
  • Ottawa – 1860 Bank St.
  • Ottawa – 1984 Baseline Rd.
  • Peterborough – 570 Landsdowne St. West

For more information on the Beer Xpress service or to place an online pre-order, visit beerxpress.ca.

Are you excited you can now pre-order online at The Beer Store? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Apple Pay now available to PC Financial MasterCard customers

PC Financial Apple Pay

PC Financial MasterCard customers can now use Apple Pay with their cards.

PC Financial MasterCard customers can now use their card with Apple Pay, the bank announced Tuesday.

“We know the PC Financial customer wants simplicity, convenience and, most importantly, security when making a payment, and we look forward to offering Apple Pay as a digital option that delivers on all of these values,” Barry Columb, President of PC Bank, said in a statement.

Apple Pay allows users to easily pay for items in select stores and from within supported apps with a connected debit or credit card. Because the card number is not stored in your device (or on an Apple server), your info is secure and private.

RELATED: New Walmart Canada app aims to help customers shop better

Major Canadian retailers, including Canadian Tire, Indigo, Tim Hortons and all Loblaw grocery and drug stores (which PC Financial is a division of) all accept Apple Pay. Apps from the likes of UBER and Starbucks also accept Apple Pay.

Apple Pay works in stores on the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch. The iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro can all be used to make purchases using Apple Pay within supported apps.

CIBC, RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank and BMO all offer Apple Pay support to their clients (as do some other Canadian banks). Tangerine also announced Apple Pay support Tuesday.

PC Financial has not indicated if they are going to extend Apple Pay to banking customers at this time, but did confirm PC Points will still be collected when using Apple Pay with a PC Financial MasterCard or PC Financial World Elite MasterCard.

For more info on Apple Pay and how to set it up on your device, visit apple.ca. To learn more about PC Financial services, visit pcfinancial.ca.

Are you excited that PC Financial MasterCard now supports Apple Pay? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Indigo celebrates release of new Harry Potter book with ‘midnight magic’ events

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two’ hits shelves July 31 and Indigo is having a special event to celebrate.

Indigo is hosting special “midnight magic” events Saturday night to celebrate the release of the new book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two.

Scheduled at locations across the country, the “midnight magic” events begin at 10 p.m. on July 30 and will allow eager readers to get a copy of the book or pick-up their pre-order right at 12:01 a.m. on July 31.

“We are huge Harry Potter fans at Indigo and are counting down the days until we can dive back into J.K Rowling’s Wizarding World,” Kirsten Chapman, EVP, Digital and Chief Marketing Officer for Indigo, said in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating at our stores with fans from coast-to-coast as the Harry Potter headquarters in Canada once again.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two is a special script book of the play by Jack Thorne. It’s based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany and tells the story of an older Harry Potter, who is now an employee at the Ministry of Magic and father to three school-age children. The release of the book coincides with the world premiere of the play in London’s West End on July 30.

Indigo has many activities planned at the “midnight magic” events, including Harry Potter trivia and the chance to send a birthday wish to author J.K. Rowling (Rowling’s birthday is on July 31, the same day as Harry Potter). Indigo is also encouraging Harry Potter fans to dress up as their favourite characters for the events and will be handing out colouring sheets and washable tattoos, among other things.

Indigo says their stores will stay open until the last customer has been served. For more information and a complete list of participating stores, visit indigo.ca.

Are you excited for the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.