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Loonie’s resurgence an ‘unprecedented move’ benefiting Canadians

Click to play video: 'Loonie is rising and Canadians are noticing' Loonie is rising and Canadians are noticing
WATCH ABOVE: It's been struggling for some time but the Canadian dollar is now stronger than it has been in months and as Shallima Maharaj reports, both businesses and snowbirds are counting every penny – Apr 14, 2016

EDMONTON – With the dollar rising to its strongest level in nine months, some Canadians have begun feeling a renewed sense of optimism.

The loonie has had an impact on everything from grocery bills to local businesses and travel plans.

Sherwood Park couple Diane and Loyd Bacon consider Arizona their little slice of heaven. Every year, they typically book off two months to enjoy the sunshine.

“Go to the bank and say ‘okay, I want to change so many Canadian dollars into U.S. dollars’ and then you’re like ‘Oh my gosh,'” Diane said.

The Bacons especially saw the difference on the final bill for their rental vehicle. Typically they paid anywhere from $1,400 to $1,500 CDN. This time around, they paid more than $2,000 CDN.

“We’d take our little packs of money out and we’d count it about once a week and say ‘okay we’ve got to make sure we don’t spend more than $100 a day,'” she told Global News.

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When asked if they had to do that a lot more this time around, she replied, “Oh, we never did it before,” with a laugh.

“If you go back to the middle of January, the Canadian dollar got down to around 68 cents (U.S.). So it’s gone from 68 cents to 78 cents. That’s really an unprecedented move that we’ve had on the Canadian dollar,” Angus Watt, managing director at National Bank Financial in Edmonton said.

For those purchasing products from the United States, the loonie’s rise also bodes well.

“We’ve really had to close in on our margins a lot – really tight margins – and try to sell our products. So it’s helping to leverage and get that price point down again so we can offer what we have,” Leanne Wlock, managing partner at Urban Timber, said.

Urban Timber receives more than 50 per cent of its product from south of the border. While the dollar has been a challenge, they have seen some benefit.

“We were able to expand our [wood]mill and make that primarily our main focus. And that’s been an amazing journey and an awesome benefit for us because we’ve been able to do things we didn’t think we could do and now we have a 3,000 square foot shop,” she explained.

That shop, located in Alberta, has allowed them to create custom made furniture.

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“When we originally opened our doors, it [the dollar] was almost par, so we just had to re-evaluate everything and see what we could sell, what we could not sell, how we can reinvent, where we can look, maybe at different products.”

Not every industry benefits from a rising loonie though. According to Angus Watt, exporters and those in the tourism industry would fall into that category.

 

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