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Google Maps holiday trends worth mulling over

Now that we’re in the final stretch of the year, we can’t help but get excited for the holidays! And this holiday season, many of us are feeling more comfortable traveling to see loved ones, shopping in person, getting our hair done, dining out and hitting the town. 

As we continue to navigate through this continuously evolving new normal, we took a look at Google Maps trends in Canada to determine the busiest times to visit popular places like malls, airports and hair salons, along with transportation and shopping trends for when you get to your destination. We also looked at the top cultural attractions to help you make your list, check it twice and get through the holiday season safely, efficiently and joyfully. 

Crowded spaces not your thing? 

Maps can help you skip the line. Whether you’re stocking up for an upcoming feast or refilling your hand sanitizer supply, no one likes waiting in line. Using Google Maps data, we’ve compiled the best and worst times to visit the grocery store, based on the live busyness information in Google Maps: 


Last year we saw popular gift stores like Toys R’ Us, LCBO, SAQ and Indigo get a lot of attention in December, with Maps searches for these places almost doubling when compared to the previous month. If you leave your shopping to the last minute and missed online shipping cut-off dates, here are the best and worst times to fill your sleigh at shopping centres and department stores, according to Google Maps data: 

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Some Canadians are still travelling for work, others are counting down the days to buckle up and take to the skies to either reunite with family or to escape to a snowy or sunny destination. If travel is in your future, take a look at these least busy airport times: 


New feature helps you navigate malls, airports and transit stations in a snap 🏃 

There’s nothing quite like running through the mall in search of a last-minute gift or dashing across the airport to catch your flight. To help you find your way around large buildings fast, we’re launching the Directory tab globally on Android and iOS for all airports, malls and transit stations around the world. This new feature allows you to quickly locate stores inside a large shopping mall or find amenities in airports like lounges, car rentals and parking lots. For each of these categories, you can see additional helpful information, including opening hours or business reviews. 


Let someone else do the dishes 

Planning to take advantage of your time off to dine out on the town? Are you due for a romantic tête à tête or a catch up with friends? We’ve got you covered, here are the busiest times for restaurants: 


Maybe you’re considering changing things up this year by foregoing the entire holiday cooking stress? According to Google Maps data from last year, on Christmas Eve, Chinese food was the most popular cuisine that Canadians turned to on Google Maps. On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Japanese food is the top searched cuisine in Maps. 

Sugar and spice and everything nice 

With all that holiday hustle and bustle, make sure you take the time to treat yourself! According to Google Maps searches, people look for nail salons more than three times as much as they search for gyms in December. If you’re looking to get pampered at the salon, consider making your appointment at a less busy time: 

Holiday Activities Not exactly pine-ing to see a big tree? No problem. Here are 10 of the most popular cultural attractions across Canada, according to your reviews in Google Maps: 

Canadian War Museum, Ottawa 

Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa 

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto 

Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, Toronto 

The Orpheum, Vancouver 

Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 

Maison symphonique, Place des Arts, Montréal 

Le Bordel Comédie Club, Montréal 

Heritage Park Historical Village, Calgary 

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, Calgary 

Winspear Centre, Edmonton 

Fort Edmonton Park, Edmonton 

Regardless of how you plan to plan and celebrate the season, we hope you do so safely with a little holiday help from Google Maps.