TORONTO – A new poll finds that while most Canadians have lived or travelled abroad, the majority see their homeland as a top vacation destination.
A survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for Historica Canada says 68 per cent of participants agreed that “Canada has something for everyone, so why go anywhere else.”
About a third of respondents, on the other hand, said they think Canada is a great place to live but not that interesting to visit and they’d rather travel outside its borders.
Among those planning Canadian vacations, most – 32 and 24 per cent, respectively – are headed to Ontario or Quebec, where the bulk of the country’s population lives.
But a quarter of respondents say British Columbia is their dream destination in Canada, far ahead of any other province, though almost as many (22 per cent) say they long to go on a coast-to-coast road trip.
The poll, administered online to 1,008 Canadians between June 17 and 22, is accurate to within 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
“Canadians are very happy at home and there’s a lot to choose from in Canada and Canadians in general celebrate that,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, president and CEO of Historica Canada.
Many respondents (46 per cent) say they would prefer to travel domestically rather than head south of the border even if the exchange rate wasn’t a factor, although 26 per cent say they would choose the U.S. if our dollar was stronger, the poll says.
Close to a third say their preference depends more on the weather, noting they like summer in Canada and winter down south.
Those at least 55 years old are the most likely to choose based on the season – 36 per cent say that affects their decision, compared to 32 per cent of those 35 to 54 years old and 24 per cent of those 18 to 34.
Nearly four in 10 say they visit the U.S. less often due to safety concerns.
“There’s a lot of general discussion lately of gun issues, of crime issues, how much does that affect you? And you see a high return there of people saying, ‘Actually, yeah, I do think about that and that makes it less likely for me to go there,’” Wilson-Smith said.
Still, the average Canadian has lived in or visited five other countries, the poll finds. Most (39 per cent) have been to two to five other countries, while 20 per cent have visited one and 15 per cent have never left the country.
Residents of Alberta were the most likely (22 per cent) to say they’ve never left Canada, followed by those in Atlantic Canada (19 per cent).
Prolific travellers – those who have been to at least 10 other countries – were most likely to be from British Columbia, with Ontario as runner-up and Quebec close behind.