Par Has New Meaning In Canada

“That would be Canadian dollars?” Thus did colleagues and I express giddy surprise at the combination of bargain prices and a favorable exchange rate during a golf media trip to the Great White North a decade-and-a-half ago.

The U.S. dollar was then worth roughly 1.5 times its Canadian counterpart; and even though prices on some goods were “inflated” to mitigate the differential, most things Canadian – golf in particular – represented a phenomenal buy.

Things change. Golf in Canada generally remains a good deal relative to here in the States – just not as good as in the past. The main culprit – or benefactor, depending on which side of the border you’re on – is the exchange rate, which as of this writing is about $1.05 in American dollars for every Canadian buck.

“We’ll give it to you at par” is what restaurateurs and other retailers say, in currying favor with Yanks who want to pay in U.S. currency, meaning the merchant will accept payment without exacting any conversion premium for the transaction in question.

As a trip to Toronto last week demonstrated, however, fluctuations in exchange rates provide only a partial explanation for the leveling of the price-to-value graph. Canada has definitely matured as a tourism destination. Burgeoning metropolises like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver rival New York City in upscale trends like the penchant for locally produced food, with price structures to match.

To this reporter, Canada continues to represent a puzzlingly underutilized recreational resource for American visitors, regardless of shifting dollar values, gas prices (significantly more expensive in Canada), customs-and-immigration rigmarole, and the like.

As in golf, though, par is a desirable outcome.

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