Canadians and Americans renewed their interest in cross-border shopping in August according to a report issued Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
The federal agency which tracks international travel trends reported a 1.5 percent increase in same-day trips to the U.S. by Canadians in August compared to July.
The number of quick car excursions south of the border had slipped for the three previous months, after remaining fairly stable since early 1994. A seasonally adjusted total of 3 million same-day trips were recorded in August, still well below the all-time high of 5.4 million crossings in November 1991.
Meanwhile, the slide in the number of same-day car trips to Canada by Americans, which has followed February's peak of 2 million visits, came to a halt. That category of travel showed a modest four-tenths of one percent rise to 1.9 million trips.
Americans also increased the number of overnight travel to Canada in August by 1.8 percent from July. Canada has experienced a steady climb in foreign overnight guests, dating back to mid-1992. Some 1.5 million foreigners spent at least one night in Canada in August, with Americans accounting for 1.1 million of those stays.
Locally, raw travel numbers, which have not been adjusted to account for the wide swings in seasonal travel, showed a 1.3 percent increase in daytrips by Americans to Canada, compared to August 1995. A total of 998,975 same-day trips were counted this August, compared to 986,196 in the prior August.
All four local international bridges showed an increase, with the greatest jump occurring at the Whirlpool Bridge, up 6.4 percent. The Lewiston-Queenston span reported a 1.6 percent rise, with the Rainbow and Peace Bridges gaining by 1.3 percent and five-tenths of one percent, respectively.
Overall, same-day travel by Canadians to the U.S. fell by six-tenths of one percent to a total of 544,064 trips across the four local bridges. While the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge saw a jump of 8.2 percent, the other three bridges all experienced declines.
The greatest drop was noted at the Whirlpool Bridge, down 9.7 percent, followed by the Peace Bridge, with a 5.4 percent dip. At the Rainbow Bridge the drop was slightly less than one-tenth of one percent.