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Your guide to birthday freebies in Toronto

Once a year, Torontonians can rack up hundreds of dollars worth of free goodies – if they know when and where to look. Across the city, many big chain retailers and small independent shops are ready to treat citizens on their birthdays.

It would be impossible to consume everything offered by the city’s vendors. Some can’t miss stops include: a Booster Juice smoothie, Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast, a dozen bagels from What A Bagel!, a buffet dinner at Tucker’s Marketplace Restaurant and numerous options for free ice-creams across the city.

Time permitting, stop by Sephora to pick-up a beauty item (last year the company offered birthday cake scented body wash), look your best after a complimentary blow-out at Privé Hair Gallery and take in a dinner and show at Medieval Times – with the purchase of one adult admission.

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Similar to Medieval Times, many retailers add stipulations to their birthday gifts that may make it not worth the freebie. Milestones will only dish out a free entrée if the birthday celebrant brings a minimum of three paying guests. The Body Shop may be the biggest scam, offering $10 off a purchase after visitors buy a $10 membership card – on which users earn points towards future freebies.

In addition to knowing the fine print, birthday boys and girls must prepare in advance as most places require patrons to sign-up for their e-mail newsletters to receive any birthday discounts. To avoid being inundated by junk mail the other 364 days a year, many coupon experts online advise creating a separate e-mail account for this purpose.

If Canadians plan a few weeks in advance, they can receive special messages from the Canadian government on their birthday. Queen Elizabeth II will send greetings to centenarians and the Governor General will do the same to people 90 years or older, if they apply online. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will send those 65 years and older a greeting every five years. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty waits until residents are at least 80 years old. Even Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will pen a message – with no apparent age restrictions.

Top Ten Deals

Some birthday freebies come with big catches requiring participants to purchase multiple entrees or invest in store loyalty cards. Here are the top ten best birthday deals in Toronto – without too much fine print.

1.) Tucker’s Marketplace Restaurant: free buffet dinner

2.) Denny’s: free Grand Slam breakfast

3.) What A Bagel!: free dozen bagels

4.) Privé Hair Gallery: free blowout from a junior stylist

5.) Medieval Times: free adult admission with the purchase of one adult admission

6.) RW & Co.: 25 per cent discount during your birthday week

7.) Sephora: free make-up item

8.) Booster Juice: free smoothie from your nearest location

9.) Dairy Queen: free Blizzard

10.) Marble Slab Creamery: free ice-cream

Just for Kids

1.) Taco Del Mar. Sign your child up for Club Carlos and they will get a birthday card and free meal on their birthday.

2.) Pizza Pizza. Enroll your child in the Pizza Pizza kid’s club and your child will receive a birthday card, one slice of pizza and a drink on their birthday.

3.) Lone Star Texas Grill. Sign-up for the Bronco Billy birthday club and your child will receive a free kids meal on their birthday. Maximum value $7.99.

4.) Air Transat. Sign your child up for the Air Transat kid’s club and your child will receive a birthday card. If your child travels on their birthday, they will get a surprise from the crew.

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