Lee Valley stores: London or Burlington?

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Our Christmas travels this year will be taking us from central New York to northern Michigan, through the fine province of Ontario. I think I can convince SWMBO that a stop at Lee Valley is absolutely necessary, and I see on their website that they have stores in Burlington and London, neither of which would be very far out of the way. I was wondering if any friendly Canadian wRECkers (or traveling US-ians) had been to both stores, and could comment on which is bigger, nicer, whatever. I'm pretty excited to drool over real tools (Mmmm... low-angle block plane...) and not just pictures in a catalog. Also, any ideas on whether I'd be better off in terms of the exchange rate using US cash at the store, a credit card at the store, or just ordering from the catalog? Thanks for your opinions, Andy
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I can't comment on the two locations you asked about, but I've been to the one in Toronto (on Steeles). All their nice tools were in glass cabinets and I could only stare/drool at a safe distance. Also I'm not sure if all stores accept US $.

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AL wrote:

It's easy to find somebody to demo something and to let you fondle -- er I mean test -- a plane or whatever.
Most people at the stores seem to consider their work to be a charitable service for other "deprived" woodworkers. Lee Valley gets most of their salary money back in tool sales -- so you are likely to meet another wood addict anyway.

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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On 16/12/2005 2:09 AM, AL wrote:

Most of the stores are similar (I've been to several, including both of those, plus Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, and am much the poorer for it :-) I've find the store staff to be very helpful, and they'll get anything out of a glass cabinet for fondling, if you ask. Any of 'em will be packed at this time of year.
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I haven't been to either of those stores, but I have been to both stores in Toronto. I think you'll find a great deal of stuff out on display if they're anything like Toronto, although smaller stuff is usually in a display case. Anytime that's happened and I wanted to examine something closely, I'd put it down on the order form, examine it when it was brought out and then decide if I wanted to buy it. There's never been any kind of criticism when I've done that. I'm positive you *won't* be disappointed whichever store you go to. Allow yourself enough time to thoroughly browse around.
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I do not know about Burlington, but I drool a lot in the one in London.
-- PDQ
--
| Our Christmas travels this year will be taking us from central New York | to northern Michigan, through the fine province of Ontario. I think I | can convince SWMBO that a stop at Lee Valley is absolutely necessary, | and I see on their website that they have stores in Burlington and | London, neither of which would be very far out of the way. I was | wondering if any friendly Canadian wRECkers (or traveling US-ians) had | been to both stores, and could comment on which is bigger, nicer, | whatever. | I'm pretty excited to drool over real tools (Mmmm... low-angle block | plane...) and not just pictures in a catalog. Also, any ideas on | whether I'd be better off in terms of the exchange rate using US cash | at the store, a credit card at the store, or just ordering from the | catalog? | Thanks for your opinions, | Andy |
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Wise choice of routes. Staying north of the lakes in snowtime is the best choice. I once got caught running south near Buffalo in a storm so bad that the churches were canceling bingo, so I know of whereof I speak.
Anyone will take bucks. They will also take credit cards, but a lot of those have a new revenue source - currency conversion fees. Used to be the best choice, now costs more. Would be nice if the store could pretend it was in the US the way the mail order place does, and take the card without the fee.
Carry cash and make it a charge if they can do it with no conversion.
How far north? Taking big Mac to the better part?
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Most Canadian banks will exchange US money at a fairly reasonable rate, while not the best you can find it will be better than the credit card companies charge. The other plus, in Canada you will find a bank branch on most busy corners shared with gas stations and donut shops.

that
the
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The US to Canadian exchange rate is now so bad that you could almost just give them one US dollar for every Canadian one.
I just looked this up today for something else and was shocked to see that it would take 90 cents American to buy a Canadian dollar after fees.
Brian Elfert
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Brian Elfert wrote:

You do mean _good_ -- don't you?

Life is simply unfolding as it should.
Goods from the frozen north are worth a considerable premium after all! Our northern elves work very hard and are very quality conscious. Don't even think of it as a premium -- just the fair value.
An exchange table is at the bottom of the screen. I guess it depends on which money changer you use.
http://kitco.com /
Merry Christmas!

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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Burlington is larger/newer.... but both will be busy! I'd pick whichever one is closest to your route (store maps are on our website). Be sure to check holiday hours/dates too.... we don't open Sunday's!
You'll get a good exchange rate at either....we change rates regularly.
Cheers -
Rob
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That is Step 1.
After that, the rest is easy.
Learn these very useful phrases: (a Canadian accent is not required, the language of tool love is universal.)
"This is only $ 8.98 and ohhhsoooo handy!" "I don't know how did without this all these years." "What a clever gadget, my work will be so much more accurate if I had one of these."
Then, when you hand in your slip with your list of items that you 'need' (wink, wink) make sure you write on there that's you're an American...that way, they will give you change in our special currency: Canadian Tire Money.
If you stay out of the garden and kitchen departments, you can get out of the store for under $5000.00 on your first visit. And yes, you CAN carry $ 5000.00 worth of stuff in one walk to the car. They will also give you a catalogue. Read it in the parking lot, go back in and drop another couple of K.
There should be an immigration lawyer on staff to help fill out the forms you'll need in order to move to Canada so you can experience that Lee Valley shopping goodness at any time. I must warn you that all real estate within walking distance of a Lee Valley store fetches premium prices.
You have been warned.
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I am a regular at the Burlington store. I like it a lot however they recently put all the planes into glass cabinets and moved their stuff around. As everone else said you just need to ask to see stuff. I have never been to any other Lee Valley but I think for an American you should experience whenever you are near one!! If you need "Exotic Wood" they are around the corner from the Burlington store as well (no affiliation). Enjoy your trip to Canada.
wrote:

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What is Exotic Wood? I pass through Burlington a few times a year.
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"Toller" wrote

It is the rilly, rilly, rilly expensive stuff.
It is often pretty too.
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On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 14:47:48 -0500, Lee Michaels

Not to mention occasionally very toxic to breathe or have contact with.
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I kinda meant the "Exotic Wood" in Burlington, that Highspeed referred to.
As long as we are on the subject of Burlington, I have a question OT for anyone in the area. I climb at Milton a few times a year, going out Appleby Line. It crosses 407, which would be shorter for me according to the map, but I have never been able to figure out what it is. Is it a toll road of some sort? How do you pay? How much is it?
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Toller wrote:

407 Is a toll road. They will send you a bill by mail if you have an out-of-province plate.
I think it is $2 per transaction plus Kilometerage... ( 1 Mile = 1.67 KM)
http://407etr.com /
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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out-of-province plate.

Thanks. With a transponder it is not too bad, but $5 for 10km is absurd.
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Toller wrote:

Check the map I posted on this thread...
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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