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Black Friday, meet Cyber Monday.

As hundreds of Americans line up outside big-box stores across the United States today, an annual Thanksgiving tradition that will start before some families have even had the chance to clear the leftover turkey from the table, a growing number of Canadians are getting into the action.

More retailers will be launching special online sales this weekend as well as in-store promotions, a sign the yearly shopping frenzy is increasingly taking hold here. The major online sales have grown dramatically in recent years, and are expected to start as early as today and continue until early next week, a phenomenon often referred to as Cyber Monday.

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A new survey released by the Bank of Montreal found that 46 per cent of respondents said they would do their holiday shopping online this year, up from 41 per cent last year.

"As more Canadian retailers mirror U.S. sales promotions, there is the potential for significant activity on Cyber Monday. More than ever, Canadian shoppers are taking notice and adjusting their retail calendar," Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist of BMO Capital Markets, said in a statement.

Many Canadian retailers are hoping they can cash in by making Cyber Monday a big deal this year, with many using social media to promote their sales and woo customers.

Getting in early, Air Canada already announced Thursday morning a 15-per-cent-off sale, with the company sending a tweet that says "Cyber Monday comes early!" The Gap released details of its sales plans on Facebook, while Best Buy Canada used Twitter to announce it will be participating in Cyber Monday for the first time this year.

Online forums and other sites are abuzz with members exchanging information about the latest sales and how to score big deals, an indication that this could be the year online sales timed to coincide with U.S. Thanksgiving could become a major event.

Are you planning to take advantage of Cyber Monday sales?

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More

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