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Internet shopping in Canada is getting easier, as more and more stores and sites come online, but there still aren't very many good guides. I have done a lot of shopping online, so I thought I would gather some of the links I have found useful.
One of the most powerful features of the Internet is the capability to automatically comparison shop amongst numerous stores, locating the optimum combination of price, availability and reputation. The Canadian comparison engines aren't as sophisticated or wide-reaching as the ones in the States, but it's better than it used to be when hardly any Canadian comparison sites existed at all. Things can get quite tricky as some engines are better than others at understanding available discounts.
Book comparison has become a lot easier within Canada now that Chapters and Indigo have merged.
- AddAll will compare across many (US and Canada) bookstores. You have to change the currency and shipping destination to Canada. It appears to be the best book price comparison site.
- AllBookstores US and Canadian sites. Doesn't convert US dollars to Canadian.
- ISBN.nu compares across a few US bookstores. Despite the name, it also does keyword-based searching.
- PriceMoose Canadian price comparisons, but not keyword-based, uses ISBN or UPC. Seems to be returning a very narrow range of results.
- Computers-Canada.com On the plus side, it compares prices at a lot of Canadian computer stores. On the down side, I have never heard of most of them, as they seem to be mostly small local operations. NCIX is also featured prominently on this site.
These sites aggregate information about all of the different Canadian online stores.
This isn't a comprehensive list, just some of the Canadian stores I have bought from on the web.
You're pretty much stuck having to check every single site for the best deal.
- VIA Rail Canada
- Travelocity Canada lets you check prices and make reservations for many kinds of travel and accomodations, including Via Rail
- Expedia Canada is Microsoft's entry in the online travel reservations business
- SearsTravel.ca (used to be called Tripeze)
- Exit.ca vacation travel packages
- AirMonopoly... I mean Air Canada
- Tango (discount, within Canada?)
- Jazz (discount, between Canada and the US?)
- Zip (discount, Western Canada)
- Destina.ca is AirCanada's reservations site but for some reason it is too stupid to check all the discount lines for you.
- Aeroplan.com is their site for making reservations using your Air Canada aeromiles.
Sites I haven't tried yet
Here is a list of some Canadian sites I haven't purchased from online:
I have gathered together the information I discovered on downloading music in Canada and put it on a companion page.
Dead Online Stores
- Sportchek.ca sporting goods.
No longer sells online (still has product information) as of October 3, 2002.
- WindUpPower.com seems to have wound down
- Onvia.ca has been bought by BellZinc.ca and switched over August 16, 2001
- Villa.ca was a home and garden store from Chapters, now its doors are closed
- Canada.Buy.com computer hardware (was cheapest in Canada, now out of business)
- SamTheRecordMan.com (SamsCD.com) CDs, video, DVDs Went out of business April 30, 2001
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