August 19, 2015 5:08 pm

Number of Americans travelling to Canada reaches 7-year high

More Americans are driving across the border into Canada, according to Stats Canada.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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TORONTO — Travel from the U.S. to Canada in June was the highest it’s been since May 2008, according to Stats Canada. The seven-year peak appears to be related to more people crossing the border by car.

Canada hasn’t seen this many Americans taking overnight road trips since November 2007. It also hasn’t had this many day-trippers from south of the border since February 2012, when Vancouver hosted the Olympics.

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This time, the FIFA Women’s World Cup is believed to have played a role in June being such a record month for travel. Of the nearly two million U.S. residents who visited Canada in June, just over one million of them entered Ontario.

INFOGRAPHIC: FIFA Women’s World Cup by the numbers

Almost half a million entered B.C. (up 1.5 per cent from the previous month). Quebec welcomed 221,000 U.S. residents (up 16.3 per cent from May, a spike which may be related to Montreal hosting some of the games); Alberta drew 63,000 (up 6.8 per cent); and New Brunswick rounded out the fifth most visited spot, with 72,000 people from the U.S. entering the province.

READ MORE: Road trip! Your guide to uncover Canada’s hidden gems

A spot that especially stood out, though, was Manitoba. It experienced a 51.4 per cent jump to 43,000 visitors.

“That is on the provincial level for U.S. travellers the largest increase. Winnipeg had two [FIFA] games with the U.S. playing,” said Stats Canada analyst Frances Kremarik.

Overseas visitors

After the U.S., which is by far Canada’s largest source of visitors, Europe (with 300,350 visitors to Canada) and Asia (with 215,923) contribute the most to our country’s tourism.

Visitors from the United Kingdom lead the charge, followed by France, China, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Canadians’ travel patterns

While Canadians’ overseas travel remained stable, trips south of the border fell 1.3 per cent from May to 3.8 million trips.

Economist Douglas Portland believes it has to do with the steep drop in the Canadian dollar over the past couple years.

“This is clearly the currency at play,” he wrote in a BMO trends report, adding, “Note that even now, there are still two Canadians travelling to the U.S. for every one American visiting Canada. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the ratio was 1:1.”

According to his analysis, “it would take a 65-cent C$ to return to that ratio.”

WATCH: Mario Canseco, with Insights West, discusses the results of a poll, which asked people across the country if the low loonie is affecting their summer travel plans.

The Stats Canada data is adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, taking into account typical spikes in travel during the summer break.

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