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Canadians made fewer same-day trips to the United States in October, continuing a downward trend that began in September.

Statistics Canada, the Canadian federal agency that tracks international travel patterns, said the two-month dip puts same-day trips at their lowest level since February 1995.

However, Casino Niagara, in Niagara Falls, Ont., continues to boost trip counts on the Rainbow and Whirlpool bridges. In October, the Rainbow Bridge reported 219,794 same-day trips, an 83.5 percent leap over the 119,768 trips recorded in October 1996, prior to the opening of the gambling venue.

The Whirlpool Bridge reported a 28.9 percent increase, to 43,783 from 33,963 same-day trips.

The four Niagara region bridges reported an average same-day traffic increase of 30.2 percent over October 1996. The Lewiston-Queenston and Peace Bridges reported rises of 23.8 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

Quick round trips, which are generally accepted as a barometer of cross-border shopping activity, fell 0.7 percent to 2.9 million excursions, compared to September's headcount. However, despite recent downward fluctuations, same-day trips by Canadians are off by only 200,000 from the peak for all of 1997.

Since early 1996, the number of same-day car trip has edged down, as the Canadian dollar has sunk from nearly 75 cents (US) to under 70 (U.S.) on Monday.

In November 1991, when the Canadian dollar hit a record high exchange rate of 88 cents (U.S.), same-day trips also hit a peak of 5.4 million.

Canadians also made fewer overnight visits to the United States in October. The seasonally adjusted 1.2 million trips of one or more nights was down by 0.4 percent from September totals.

Americans, meanwhile, apparently took advantage of the comparatively strong greenback to do some shopping in Canada. In October, Americans made 2.1 million quick round trips, up 0.8 percent from September.

Card shop opens in Falls

Factory Card Outlet has opened a new store in Niagara Consumer Square at 7414 Niagara Falls Blvd. The Illinois-based chain operates 175 stores in 20 states.

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