Toronto, ON - May 31, 2021 – Canada is known for its natural beauty and stunning landscapes, and has long been a favourite destination for tourists from around the world. And, while Canadians have always enjoyed the open road, the pandemic has fueled a newfound love for the outdoors and a greater desire to get back behind the wheel and explore their own country, according to a new poll conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of Toyota Canada.
More than three-quarters (76%) of Canadians polled indicated that the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for the outdoors while two-thirds (65%) feel it has given them a greater appreciation for travel within Canada. In fact, when travel is permitted, nearly half (49%) of Canadians are planning to take a road trip this summer, an increase of almost 10% over last year.
Plans to Stay Closer to Home = The Resurgence of the Road Trip
While the majority of Canadians (73%) have had to change their summer vacation plans due to the pandemic, and eight in ten (84%) Canadians plan to stay closer to home than usual,43% feel this summer could be the perfect time to explore Canada via a road trip(as soon as its safe to do so*). Of those planning a road trip, two-thirds (67%) are opting for a shorter day trip. In fact,35% of those planning a road trip will be travelling only 4-6 hours away from home. When restrictions are lifted, those planning a road trip are looking forward to exploring new cities and towns (51%) and spending time with family and friends (43%).
New Appreciation for Being Outdoors = New Road Trip Activities, a Focus on More Eco-Friendly Journeys
With a greater appreciation for the outdoors, Canadians are focusing on destinations that bring them closer to nature and activities that keep them physically active. According to the survey, more than half (56%) of Canadians embarking on a road trip this summer are planning to go hiking, while 48% will be walking, running or rollerblading, and 46% plan to sightsee. Additionally, if restrictions allow, almost half (46%) plan to enjoy the outdoors while visiting with friends and family, while 45% plan to picnic and 42% will go camping. Exploring national or provincial parks is also high on the list of road trip destinations for those planning a trip with 43% planning to visit one this summer.
With their new appreciation for the outdoors - along with greener destinations and activities - Canadians indicated they want the journey itself to be more eco-friendly. More than half (58%) of Canadians would feel better opting for a hybrid vehicle because of the environmental benefits.
Staying Cautious: 75% Plan to Continue Wearing a Mask in Public
While Canadians are eager to explore, they’re still planning to be cautious, taking local health and safety protocols into account. Three-quarters (75%) of those planning a road trip this summer indicate that they will continue to wear a mask in public as an added safety measure. Those who are planning a road trip this summer will be opting for more remote locations like campsites (37%) or cabins / chalets / cottages (34%).
A Shared Passion for the Great Outdoors… with Regional / Provincial Variations
While Canadians from coast to coast to coast share a love for the outdoors, there are also some interesting regional highlights when it comes to our road trip preferences:
- British Columbians are slightly more likely than others to make concessions when it comes to their travel, with 79% stating the pandemic changed their vacation plans and the vast majority (89%) planning to stay closer to home than usual this summer.
- Alberta residents are slightly more likely to hit the open road, with 61% planning a road trip this summer.And,on par with the rest of the country, almost half (48%) of Albertans planning a road trip noted camping would be their preferred outdoor activity.
- Relatively on par with the country, residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are true road trip warriors,with 35% willing to drive more than 12 hours from their homes for their vacation. Not surprisingly, almost two-thirds (63%) of Saskatchewan and Manitoba respondents say fuel efficiency is the car feature they care about most when taking a summer road trip.
- Roughly in line with the rest of the country, Ontarians are open to driving a little farther from their home this summer, with 35% willing to drive 7 or more hours.
- Quebecers seem to love their cars the most, with more than half (58%) stating the pandemic has caused them to miss driving and 67% feeling that their car is a part of their family.
- Atlantic Canadians feel most connected to nature, with the majority stating the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for the outdoors (85%) and for domestic travel (79%).
“It’s not surprising that, over a year into the pandemic, Canadians are more eager than ever to get back behind the wheel and explore our beautiful country as soon as its safe to do so,” says Stephen Beatty, Vice President, Corporate at Toyota Canada. “We are so fortunate to live in a country that has so much to offer in terms of scenic drives and outdoor adventure, and it’s wonderful to see an increased appreciation for the outdoors.”
For a list of eco-friendly road trip destinations you can enjoy safely this summer, click here.
For media inquiries, including interview opportunities and high-resolution images, contact:
Andrea Mancini, CASACOM
About the Study
These are some of the findings of a recent Leger poll, conducted on behalf of Toyota Canada. An online survey of 2000 Canadian drivers aged 18+ was completed using Leger’s online panel. Weighting has been employed to ensure that the sample composition accurately reflects the adult population of Canada, as per the latest Census Data.
No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e. a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 2000 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
*The purpose of this study was to better understand the perspective of Canadians in terms of taking a road trip this coming summer. Given the extent of COVID-19 restrictions across the country, a disclaimer was provided to respondents up front as follows:We understand that each province is currently abiding by its own set of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. This survey only intends to get a better idea of Canadians' opinions and perspectives for the upcoming months. Therefore, when answering questions about the future, we ask you to imagine a time in the upcoming months, assuming that such government orders and restrictions have been lifted.
About Toyota Canada Inc.
Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota has sold over five million vehicles in Canada through a national network of 287 Toyota and Lexus dealerships. Toyota is dedicated to bringing safety, quality, dependability and reliability to the vehicles Canadians drive and the service they receive. TCI’s head office is located in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax, and parts distribution centres in Clarington, Ontario and Vancouver. Toyota also operates two manufacturing facilities in Canada. Having produced more than nine million vehicles, popular Canadian models built at these facilities include Toyota RAV4, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid. Recent investments at its facilities in Ontario will allow for increased production of the top-selling Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid models.
Founded in 1986, Leger has gained an impressive knowledge base, which provides clients access to credible and reliable data and more than 30 years of experience. Leger possesses research capabilities spanning across every dimension of the marketplace and opinion landscape conducting both quantitative and qualitative research on behalf of an extensive array of public and private sector clients on a local, national, and global scale.
Leger is Canada’s largest independent full-service research firm, with over 600 employees in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver in Canada, and Philadelphia in the United States. The LEO (Leger Opinion) panel is the largest Canadian panel with over 400,000 representative panelists from all regions of Canada. Leo was created by Leger based on a representative Canadian sample of Canadian citizens with Internet access.
Leger is a founding member of CRIC and is actively involved in raising quality standards in the survey industry. President Jean-Marc Léger is a member of the CRIC’s Board of Directors and the Canadian representative of ESOMAR.
Leger is the polling firm that has presented the most accurate data, on average, over the last ten years in Canada. During the last federal election in 2019, Leger was once again the most accurate firm in the country. This accuracy is attributed to the quality of the LEO panel and rigorous application of methodological rules by Leger's employees.
Poll aggregator 338Canada.com gave Leger the highest rating among all polling firms in Canada for the accuracy of its studies. See https://338canada.com/pollster-ratings.htm