February 18, 2016 9:11 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 9:25 pm

Not all U.S. tourists aware of Canada’s dwindling dollar

WATCH: It's a "loonie" time in Toronto, filled with wide-eyed tourists. But as Mike Drolet reports, not all American visitors know how far their currency will carry them and that has tourism officials scrambling.

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Matthew Bruhn and his two sons, Henry and Jack, lived the NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto to the fullest.

Decked out in all-star gear signed by some elite players, they say their first visit to Canada’s largest city was a success, even though it cost them a small fortune, $7,000.

“We went hard,” said Matthew. “We bought a lot of stuff.”

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But what he didn’t realize was the built-in discount since he was paying with American dollars. The loonie traded at just over 70 cents U.S., meaning his Visa won’t be as hard hit as he thought.

“You didn’t realize you were going to get 30 cents on every dollar?” Global News asked him.

“Oh really, did we? That’s good!” he replied.

READ MORE: Low dollar fuels Whistler, B.C.’s rising economy

Remarkably, not all Americans are conscious of their good fortune. News outlets in the U.S. are more preoccupied with the presidential election than Canada’s dwindling loonie.

As a result, Tourism Ontario has launched a new campaign aimed at New York and Detroit. It’s called “Family Memory Builder,” and it targets families who will be travelling in cars for their next vacation. The loonie is a lure, but so too are low gas prices. Travelling regionally has never been more affordable.

“For tourism and our American visitors, it’s going to be a value proposition,” says Tourism Ontario’s Ron Holgerson. “Basically $1,000 Canadian is what you’re going to get for $700 American.”

Tourism is a massive business for Ontario, pumping $28 billion into the economy and creating 360,000 jobs. There are 71 daily flights from New York to Toronto alone.

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