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Malls, airports expected to be packed as Friday marks busiest travel and shopping day

Last Updated Dec 21, 2018 at 7:27 pm EDT

It’s a trifecta of Christmas tradition on Friday as two of the season’s biggest days just happen to fall on the first day of winter.

The Friday before Christmas is well known as the busiest travel day of the year — with long lines and excited passengers heading out of the city to visit relatives or head down south on holidays.

An average of 127,000 people pass through Pearson International Airport during the holiday season but that number is expected to jump up to about 135,000.

To help passengers save some time in lineups, airport officials are advising travellers to check in online ahead of arrival at Pearson and do not wrap any gifts because they will be unwrapped by security.

Those who aren’t heading out of town today will probably be rushing to the mall.

December 22 is known as the busiest shopping day of the year.

The volume of retail business activity on Friday is expected to be bigger than Black Friday.

Debit and credit processor Moneris, which handles about one-third of all electronic transactions in Canada, says its data has even revealed which hour of the day today will be the busiest — 2 p.m.

This shopping day could be extra busy as people rush to get their gifts ahead of the weekend, which may be filled with weekend holiday events with family and friends ahead of Christmas Day.

Not to mention that it’s also too late for online gifts to be delivered.

Moneris also says that sales on Black Friday this year surged by seven-per-cent compared with 2017 so a similar spike is expected for Friday.

Friday also marks the last day of school for many children across the GTA so drivers should be extra careful around schools.

The winter solstice also begins at 5:23 p.m on Friday with a full moon expected on Saturday.