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Ontario malls to stay open longer on U.S. Black Friday

The Toronto Eaton Centre will open its doors at 6 a.m.

Mike Blake/REUTERS

Some of Ontario's biggest malls are going to be open even longer than usual on Black Friday in hopes of keeping Canadian shoppers close to home rather than crossing the U.S. border in search of bargains.

Mall operator Cadillac Fairview Corp. said Monday that it will extend the hours at nine of its properties on Nov. 23, which will be one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the United States.

The day takes its name from the assumption that it marks the day when retailers turn a profit for the year or go "into the black."

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Retailers in Canada – where Thanksgiving is in early October – have been increasingly under competitive pressure from Black Friday deep discounts promoted in the United States.

This year's shopping season could prove particularly competitive for Canadian businesses after the federal government relaxed cross-border shopping rules in June.

Cross-border shoppers who stay overnight in the U.S. are now allowed to bring back up to $200 (U.S.) worth of merchandise duty-free, rather than just $50 before the new rules were put in place.

For people on a jaunt of between two and seven days, the limit has doubled to $800 from $400, while the limit for visits of more than a week increases to $800 from $750.

Travel for less than 24 hours still has no personal exemptions.

"Our retail sector has to work hard to remain competitive and keep shoppers north of the border," said Martin Wray, vice-president of the Ontario operations portfolio in a release.

"Through initiatives like Black Friday, Cadillac Fairview is providing better access for consumers, and generally creating retail environments to keep people shopping locally."

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The Ontario malls participating in the longer hours are Fairview Mall, Sherway Gardens and Shops at Don Mills in Toronto. Also, Fairview Park in Kitchener, Limeridge Mall in Hamilton, and malls in in Markham, London and Thornhill.

Most locations will open their doors at 7 a.m., while the Toronto Eaton Centre will stay open even longer, starting at 6 a.m.

Cadillac Fairview also owns malls in several other provinces, though none of those properties are taking place in the extended hours for Black Friday.

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