Why Are Canadians Choosing Not to Visit the US?

Did you know that more than 80% of Canadians actually live within 100 miles of the American border? With few exceptions, like northerly Edmonton and Saskatoon, it’s common for denizens of most large Canadian cities to pop over the border for a weekend shopping trip to the United States. There’s been a sharp decline in Canadian tourists recently, however, and one American city is trying to reverse that trend.

“We miss Canadians,” stated one Fargo business leader, lamenting the decrease in tourists and shoppers from Manitoba. As a special enticement, participating hotels are slashing rates for Canadian guests. If a room normally costs $100, it will be offered for $84, matching the current currency exchange rate and eliminating that extra cost for border-crossers.

But is it really about the exchange rate? The Canadian dollar, while it hovered around par a decade ago, has also been much lower than this in the past, trading at 60-odd U.S. cents. If anything, a conversion rate of 84 cents per Canadian dollar is historically typical, and it’s also on the tail end of a steady period of increase.

A Winnipeg radio station shared the above story on its Facebook page and the comments told a different story. In more than half of actual comments not counting pingbacks, complaints about the NRA and gun violence, behavior of border security, and especially U.S. President Donald Trump came up. Only a couple of commenters indicated that the exchange rate was a factor for them.

This is not a particularly liberal radio station or Facebook group, and likely represents a broad economic cross section, although it’s a relatively small number of people in this informal poll. So what else is happening across the country?

In Vancouver and other Southern British Columbia communities, travel to nearby Washington state has dropped noticeably. This article includes a lot of statistics, which suggest there are multiple factors at play, including, perhaps, the relative strength of the Canadian and American dollars. But to the extent that you can control for those other factors, the net effect of Trump is a decrease in tourism. This applies to countries abroad like the United Kingdom, not just Canada. But let’s keep talking about Canada, because this an old and important relationship.

With Canadians, used to universal health care and strong gun laws (still sporadic in the U.S.), it’s not entirely about safety. Concerns about mass shootings, racial violence similar to that in Charlottesville, and official corruption are all tied up in a rather knotty mess of feelings that Canadians have about Americans. It truly is a familial relationship–complicated by the long history of growing up the two young countries growing up together, sharing a physical space, and annoyed at the inevitable comparisons as they each emerged from under the shadow of their parental nation in their own unique ways–but ultimately it’s a relationship based on love.

It’s strained now. A poll recently reported in the Toronto Star found that an unprecedented majority of Canadians, 53%, have an unfavorable opinion of the United States currently, and most of this ire seems to derive from feelings about the president and his party. While 83% of Canadians believed former President Barack Obama would do the right thing when it came to world affairs, only 22% feel the same about Trump currently.

But don’t think that 53% of Canadians have an unfavorable opinion about Americans themselves. If Seattle misses Vancouverites, New York City misses Torontonians, and Fargo misses Winnipeggers, the feeling certainly is mutual.

It’s just that the United States has some stuff to work out. The country is currently in kind of an abusive relationship with the Republican party, big money, and other selfish entities. Canadians think the country can do better. And it will.

Meanwhile, Canada, like the rest of the world, will be watching and waiting.

Photo credit: BrokenSphere


Amanda M
Amanda M3 hours ago

There are times I wish I could escape to Canada, especially if worse comes to worse and we end up with Pencilneck or another Rethuglican Religious Reich regime after Twitler. This country would become a mix of 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Hunger Games-not a place to be if you don't lockstep to the RRR's demands. Unfortunately, with my luck I wouldn't be considered acceptable for a visa because I'm "not skilled enough." Well, I'm not done fighting to take back America yet!

Leanne K
Leanne K4 days ago

Of course it’s because of trump! I’m Aussie and no way would I visit with him as president and the dodgy heavy handed tactics of government employees and emboldened red necks and all those bazookas. No thanks. Bring back Obama’s and I’ll be there in a heartbeat

Leanne K
Leanne K4 days ago

The comments! Calling people terrorists and that quip about Monica L is going too far!

Shelley w
Shelley w4 days ago

The Toronto Star is a left wing rag and should not be trusted to report on how many Canadians have a negative view of the States. That paper is constantly trashing President Trump and the U.S. The exchange rate is what is deterring Canadians from traveling as well as our crappy economy and bloated government especially in Ontario. Job losses are mounting as the Wynne government continues its socialist agenda of taxing Canadians into oblivion and taking away more of our freedoms.

Colleen W
Colleen W5 days ago

Stuff and nonsense. People don't go (or not) to other countries because of their presidents or leaders.. Where do you come UP with this twaddle. If that was the case NO countries would ever have tourists!!!

MilliSiteProbs M

Bill Arthur continued again AND ALL WAY OFF TOPIC SORRY FOLKS

You have to consider the concerns people express, do you want a terrorist who may or may not still support jihad and or be recruiting for them, probably no more that a family with younger girls would want Monica L living next door or their daughters babysitting for her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVYlUjRwATw or
ISIS Question = Refugee Answer = Crowd Applause = WTF!!!

MilliSiteProbs M

Bill Arthur continued
Martin was interviewed recently and while I do not recall his exact words, believe he said he "dropped the ball on this one". Zaynab (Omar's sister) and her mother also supported the al-Qaida terrorist group. And according to CBC News, in 1999, Osama Bin Laden attended her wedding.

While his birth may have occurred in Canada his mother was Palestinian and father Egyptian, he lived in Pakistan and Afghanistan, take a look at the family summary as published by the National Post (above).
You may also find this one interesting, it contains the same speech Trudeau gives almost word for word whenever asked how he intends to protect Canadians from the returning ISIS fighters. These people are not immigrants or refugees. they ARE Canadians, white, black, middle-east or of any other ethnic decent. He goes on about legal immigrants and compares the Irish, Italians, etc. to Canadian ISIS fighters that want to run home to mommy/daddy (if they will have them). You have to consider the concerns people express, do you want a terrorist who may or may not still support jihad and or be recruiting for them, probably no more that a

MilliSiteProbs M

Bill Arthur
I find it difficult to comprehend how anyone in a democratic country can go out of their way to support terrorists. You must be aware of what al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden represented to the free world? He was not fighting for his "father's country", if as you claim daddy is/was or became a Canadian, he may have been fighting on daddy's instructions but sure as heck not for Canada!

Sorry, I should have said Trudeau dropped an appeal and settled for 10.5 million. The Courts determined his rights were violated, however this situation puts most democratic governments in a very uncomfortable situation, rights vs terrorist, my reaction would be terrorist all the way and no soft soap peddling. His initial petition was denied and he was required to re-submit, his charges against Canada included conspiracy among other things. The government (Harper - Con) also appealed his release on bail, which is another one Trudeau dropped. Khadr, pleaded guilty in 2010 to murder in the death of American Sgt. Christopher Speer, as well as attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists and spying. According to a document listing facts in the case, Khadr killed Speer when he threw a grenade at him following a firefight between al-Qaeda operatives and U.S. forces in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002 (Jean C. and Paul Martin, Liberal PMs 1993 - 2006). Martin was interviewed recently and while I do not recall his exact

Joan E
Joan E6 days ago

If I didn't live here, I wouldn't come here for a visit during the Trump Regime.

K M6 days ago

People can not be blamed for not going to to someplace that has so much bad stuff happening.