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.
In fact, 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.
And 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.
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 it’s 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.
And 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%).
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 Leger 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.
Yet 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%).
Stephen Beatty, vice president, corporate at Toyota Canada, observed of the findings that: “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 it’s safe to do so.”
And Beatty adds: “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.”