An early sneak peek at the new Microsoft Store in downtown Toronto

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Updated Nov.21 2014: The Eaton Centre Store is now open for business and here is our video recap of the opening

Microsoft will be opening their third store in the Toronto area tomorrow, marking the ninth retail store in Canada and the 109th across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Their new store is situated in the heart of downtown Toronto’s Eaton Centre mall, which happens to be a very busy place all throughout the day and a vital location to have an official store. This new retail space was occupied by the Sony Store before closing down and Microsoft managed to secure it.

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Toronto Eaton Centre Mall Area

On a side note, for those of you hoping to see the Microsoft Band’s debut in Canada with this new store opening, don’t hold your breath as the store manager has confirmed that Microsoft’s new wearable device will not make its way to the great white north tomorrow, and it may be a while before it does. (Which many already know)

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There are an additional two rows of desks behind the camera with Surface displays

We managed to get a sneak peek and general tour earlier this morning and we like what we saw, but we noticed that the store has a smaller footprint than the other two locations in the surrounding area.  There are a total of six desks (stations) – two of which are behind the camera in the photo above and serve as Surface displays.  The other four stations will display 2-in-1 devices, tablets, and traditional laptops while the walls will be occupied with accessories, Xbox games, and a designated area for all-in-one PCs and Windows Phones.  HP’s new $199 ($249.99 in Canada) Stream laptop will make its debut in Canada tomorrow as well.

We noticed that Microsoft used the space efficiently – cramming everything the larger stores offer, except for the show-off items such as the 3D printer display, the Xbox One Kinect area and training area that usually reside behind the answer desk.

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Canada has a pretty poor selection of Windows Phones, hence the display

WP_20141119_11_27_12_RawMicrosoft has implemented some design changes when comparing to their elaborate Yorkdale Mall location, as walls are not occupied by connected displays which are dynamically changing, but rather a more subtle approach with what appear to be billboard displays (although they look like actual displays which may not have been turned on to display additional information). We will find out tomorrow.WP_20141119_11_27_29_RawMicrosoft also has a special something for Canadian Xbox fans, and that’s actual stock of the Sunset Overdrive Xbox One bundle.  Although not many, you’ll be hard pressed to find them anywhere else.  There are more in the back room, but they seem to be in limited supply so we suggest you line up a little earlier tomorrow if your looking to grab one. Microsoft will also carry  the Assassins Creed and Advanced Warfare Xbox One bundles so this is the place to be for your Xbox One bundle needs.WP_20141119_11_28_05_Raw

Promotions and Special offers for the opening day

Attendees will be able to purchase an Xbox 360 or a Dell Venue Pro 32 GB for just $99 tomorrow, and that’s  while supplies last of course, the downer is that the offer is limited to one per customer.  We have been assured that there is plenty of Dell tablets to go around and obviously less Xbox 360’s due to the larger physical size but plenty of them as well.

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A stack of $99 Dell Venue Pro 32GB tablets
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$99 Xbox 360’s

As part of the opening promotions, Microsoft will give the first 500 people in line for the ribbon cutting ceremony a gift card with a value of $10-$1000. Out of these 500 gift cards,  100 of them will have a $100 value with two of them offering the grand prize of $1000. In addition, the first 200 people in line will receive a complimentary meet and greet ticket for an Xbox One event with hockey star Tie Domi.

Microsoft will kick off their grand opening ceremonies at 10:30 AM with the official opening and curtain drop taking place at 11 AM.  The Xbox event with Tie Domi will take place at 4 PM.

We are happy to see that Microsoft has covered the major parts of Canada’s largest city with their stores, they now have a store in the three largest and busiest malls in Toronto.  There are of course more areas to cover throughout the city, particularly the east end with Fairview mall and Canada’s second largest mall a little north of the city (Vaughan Mills Mall).  For now the three most important areas are covered and it certainly encouraging to see more stores pop up.

We will be covering the opening ceremonies and the official curtain drop tomorrow to capture the excitement and the scene inside the Eaton Centre so stay tuned.

For official details on tomorrows opening check out the Microsoft Store website

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