Google Play Music Update

Google Play Music will be replaced by Youtube Music in August 2020 so if you have an account on Google Play Music, you should transfer your account as soon as possible using this link or by using the Youtube Music app.

Access to the Music Manager and Music store on Google Play will cease that month and access to Google Play Music itself will cease by December 2020.

The Youtube Music app is available from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

More Ontario Theatres Open

Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas have opened several of their theatres in the province of Ontario, with limited showings and extra precautions to keep COVID-19 from being spread.

The newly converted Cine Stars Theatres in Western Ottawa and Burlington have also been opened with the above-mentioned precautions.

By the way, I’ve also noticed that Canadian Tire stores now sell both masks and face shields, although I couldn’t find the latter listed on their site. Disposable face masks are also available from your local Shoppers Drug Mart and Giant Tiger stores, as well as from living.ca online.

My First Impressions of Amazon Cash

First of all, a disclaimer; This blog is affiliated to Amazon but I have not been asked by them to review this service.

That said, Amazon Cash is a service that was announced in June 2018 that allows people to add funds to their Amazon gift card account at a participating retailer by using cash or debit, instead of using a credit card online.

This can be quite useful for students and people who don’t have credit cards. And yesterday I decided to try it out, to take advantage of the offer I had mentioned on this blog two days back so I printed a bar code from the site and went to the nearest participating retailer to load money into my account.

The procedure is relatively easy – They scan your bar code from your printout or Amazon.ca app (or punch in your phone number), you give them the amount you want to add to your accounts and they give you a receipt. But unfortunately, you may encounter cashiers and staff at these participating retailers that are unaware that their store offers this service.

My local Circle K convenience store was listed as a participant on the Amazon.ca web site but the staff member there had no idea what I was talking about. And when I found someone that knew how to add funds to my account, miles away at a Canada Post Outlet, he told me that very few people use the service there and that he just learned how to handle Amazon Cash deposits a few days back.

I suspect this payment method is likely more popular near colleges and universities, some of which have shops and bookstores that are listed as participating retailers. And in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

I guess I could have called ahead to make sure the convenience store staff knew how to add funds to my account. But shouldn’t they know how to do it by now, two years after it had been activated? Or have some of the smaller retailers stopped participating?

I may still consider using it in the future at the Canada Post outlets and participating wireless stores, who are more likely to have a handle on this, regardless of the spotty coverage.

Save on Music, Books and DVDs at Indigo.ca

How I save money on Streaming/Downloads

You can save money on the music, television and film streaming and downloading services in Canada by purchasing discounted gift cards to pay for downloads or subscriptions in advance.

I’ve personally obtained discounts and bonus loyalty points on gift cards for Amazon.ca (Amazon Music/Prime Video), Cineplex, iTunes, Google Play and Netflix. And have seen similar offers on gift cards for SiriusXM and Spotify on occasion at some retailers. But you’ve got to know where to look to find them:

Amazon.ca – Amazon occasionally has targeted promotions that are sent by email to their customers and occasionally pop up on banners on their site, most of which include promotional credits when one reloads their gift cards or adds funds to their Amazon Cash accounts. At the moment there is an offer for a $5 promotional credit for first-time users that add $20 to their Amazon Cash account before September 30th, 2020.

Best Buy Canada – iTunes gift cards are usually discounted at this electronics chain in the Christmas shopping season but offers do occasionally pop up from time to time.

Esso/Mobile Canada – Esso Extra points can be redeemed in store for Cineplex gift cards and online for Amazon.ca, Cineplex and iTunes gift cards. Click here for details.

Guardian/IDA – Both these pharmacies have rare offers on gift cards, also mostly in the Christmas shopping season. Their flyers might be worth a browse then.

Jean Coutu – Mostly located in Quebec, New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario, this pharmacy occasionally offers a discount on gift cards. And although you can’t collect or redeem Air Miles for gift cards at the stores themselves, you can redeem “Cash Miles” for Cineplex eVouchers from Air Miles collected at participating retailers.

Loblaws – This grocery chain and its affiliated stores (Your Independent Grocer, Real Canadian Superstore, Atlantic Superstore) mostly offer bonus Optimum points with the purchase of the above-mentioned gift cards but do occasionally offer discounts on these gift cards. Look at the bottom of the flyer pages for their weekly offers and/or occasional graphic showing the gift cards associated with the week’s offers.

London Drugs – Although I haven’t personally shopped at a London Drugs pharmacy, I’ve heard they occasionally have discounts and offers on their gift card selection. I’ve seen a flyer or two with some rather interesting offers that I couldn’t take advantage of because they don’t have a store in my community. They do ship gift cards by mail though.

Petro Canada – Although I haven’t seen discounts being offered on gift cards by this gas station chain, it is one of the few retailers that allow people to redeem their loyalty points on physical and electronic gift cards, specifically from Best Buy, Cineplex and iTunes.

Pharmasave – Another pharmacy that has discounts on gift cards, mainly in the Christmas shopping season.

Rexall – This chain of pharmacies used to offer bonus Air Miles for gift cards but have just introduced their own loyalty program, whose terms & conditions state points cannot be collected or redeemed on gift cards. But I suspect they may discount specific gift cards on occasion, like during the Christmas shopping season, so you may consider browsing the weekly flyers.

Shell – These gas stations rarely have flyers but they and Air Miles occasionally send out promotions that contain offers for bonus Air Miles, by mail, email and on their respective web sites. But the selection of cards may be limited in the smaller locations.

Shoppers Drug Mart – This pharmacy also offers bonus Optimum points and also occasionally offers discounts on specific gift cards, mostly posting these offers along the bottom of their flyer pages, among other information. They also occasionally add pictures of the gift cards that are eligible for an offer that week.

Sobeys – This grocery chain occasionally offers discounts and bonus Air Miles on gift cards, including a few of the gift cards listed above.

I haven’t yet tried Rakuten to get money back from my Cineplex and Cineplex gift card purchases but I’ll consider it in the future. And if I can think of some more discounts and loyalty point offers I’ll update this blog entry, as soon as possible. I’m sure I’m forgetting one or two.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll be able to find some deals.

Newegg Canada

Stage 3 in Most of Ontario

The provincial government of Ontario has released a document specifying what Stage 3 entails: Click here for a PDF of this document.

It will be of interest to people residing in Northern and Eastern Ontario, as well as some less populated areas of South-Western Ontario, where Stage 3 will be implemented on July 17th, 2020.

In regards to live performances/concerts, music lessons, record conventions and fundraisers, these will still be subject to gathering limits and physical barriers, as defined by local health authorities. And masks will be required for both staff and patrons in the above-mentioned establishments, with social distancing.

Movie theatres in Ontario will probably open with the aforementioned gathering limits, physical barriers and requirements. But Cineplex, Landmark Cinemas and Imagine Cinemas have yet to issue statements on when these will open.

You should note that nightclubs will not be re-opening yet anywhere in the province, nor will dancing or karaoke be allowed because these were determined to be high risk. And I suspect these will not be opening across the country for some time.

By the way, disposable face masks are available from Amazon.ca, Living.ca and your local Giant Tire Store.

Virtual Canada Day

Multiple online, television and radio broadcasts will be made available today, many of which are listed on the Canadian Heritage web site.

You can also listen to the Top 100 Canadian Songs of All Time on Boom 97.3 starting at 10 AM Eastern. These will also air on local Boom affiliates through-out Canada.

Enjoy. And Stay safe.