CANADA'S TOURIST INDUSTRY
AN ADDRESS BY MR. D. LEO DOLAN
Chairman: The President--Mr. J. P. Pratt, K.C.
Thursday, March 9, 1939.
THE PRESIDENT: Gentlemen of The Empire Club: I rather think that very few people in this Club and perhaps in the whole Dominion realize that the tourist industry is the third largest business in Canada. Today the subject of the tourist industry is to be discussed by Mr. Leo Dolan, Chief of the Travel Bureau of the Department of Transport at Ottawa.
Mr. Dolan was born in New Brunswick. Very early in life he chose the newspaper field as his career. I say very early, because at the age of twenty he was the youngest member of the Press Gallery at Ottawa. In subsequent years he was associated with various newspapers in Canada and eventually was invited to return to his native province to become its Director of Travel and Tourist Business. In 1934, following an enquiry by a Committee of the Senate of Canada, a Travel Bureau was established by the Dominion Government and Mr. Dolan was invited to be its chief. He accepted and as a result of his determined efforts throughout the five years that have intervened, he has built up the tourist industry until it is now the third largest business. Mr. Dolan will speak to us today upon "Canada's Tourist Industry." I have very much pleasure in introducing Mr. Leo Dolan. Mr. Dolan. (Applause)
MR. D. LEO DOLAN: Mr. Chairman and Members of The Empire Club: Perhaps my first word to you, Sir, should be my very sincere thanks for the all too flattering introduction which you have seen fit to give me. Newspaper men today are occupying rather an important place, shall I say, in the public eye, and since you have been good enough to make reference to my newspaper career, I hasten at once to tell you I appreciate very much indeed your references to those enjoyable days, when I, too, was a working newspaper man, and before I had, shall I say, degraded into the status of the civil servant at Ottawa. I do want to say this, in my newspaper days when I was a working reporter I came to have a very low opinion of that gentry in your community known as the after-dinner speaker. Since I too, have fallen into that category myself, and having been brought up in a religion where they say that open confession is good for the soul, I must say I have no greater opinion today than when I was forced to listen to their addresses as a newspaper man. In fact, I think I can agree with the dictum set down by one individual: "If all the after dinner speakers in Canada were laid end to end I would leave them there."
May I say, more seriously, I appreciate the opportunity of speaking to this very representative Club of the City of Toronto. The Chairman made me promise I should make that comment before I entered into the subject matter of my address to speak for a very few moments on what has become one of the outstanding industries of the Dominion of Canada, an industry the importance of which is not fully appreciated by the whole people as I would like to see it.
The travel industry--I like to call it that much more than a tourist industry-has become so vital and so important to the economic welfare and progress of the Dominion of Canada that I offer no apology, even to this most representative gathering today, to discuss with you some things which we have done in Canada to create a greater interest in the industry and some things which I hope we will do in the future to bring about a greater promotion and more intense development of this industry.
Perhaps some figures I will give to you today may appear to be astounding. When we talk of the travel industry we must indulge, particularly those of us closely attached to it, in what have been described as astronomical figures. It has become an industry that represents twenty-five percent of the total exports of the Dominion of Canada. Its monetary value during the last five years has exceeded in value by one hundred per cent the total gold production of this country. In the last ten years, visitors or travellers to Canada have spent within the nine provinces of this country the astounding sum of 2 1/4 billions of dollars and that amount, I may say to you, has been instrumental in preventing in a large measure a serious financial situation. Even last year, 1938, which was not by any means a peak year in the tourist industry, we saw 269 millions of dollars spent in this country by visitors to the Dominion of Canada, making possible a favourable balance on our international payments--most important to us--a debtor country, of the staggering sum of 149 millions of dollars.
I give these figures to you because I propose today to discuss this travel industry, purely from an economic standpoint and I hope, before I am through, I will be able to submit to you facts and figures that will convince this audience, and those who hear me on the air, that this is an industry which compels the attention of businessmen from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I say it demands the attention of citizens of Canada who desire to see this country make more economic progress than it has within the last number of years.
Within the ordinary course of commerce in the United States, as a striking example, we sell to that country an enormous volume of goods of all kinds, but it is not so widely appreciated, I am sorry to say, that side by side with this commodity export business we also sell to the citizens of the United States another huge bill of goods and services, not itemized in our trade returns. Enormous as are our regular commodity exports in this country, that trade I say now is seriously rivaled in value and volume by the tourist industry of Canada. The records of recent years illustrate this case and show that during the last five years, from 1931 to 1937, inclusive, for every $5.00 worth of goods taken, such as newsprint, farm products and so on, and shipped to the United States in the ordinary course of trade, we sold in addition $4.00 worth of goods and services which make up the purchases of American tourists in this country. For every $5.00 worth of goods, lumber, newsprint, farm products, and so on shipped to the United States in the normal course of trade in the period which I have mentioned, we sold an additional $4.00 worth of goods and services which made up the purchases by American tourists in this country.
I don't think that I could give you any more convincing figures to indicate beyond all doubt the importance of this travel industry to the economic progress and welfare of the whole people of this country. I have said it before, and I repeat today, I don't care whether you are a bondholder or a bootblack, you can't escape receiving benefits from this so-called travel industry in the Dominion of Canada. Some people say it is a mysterious sort of thing. It is nothing of the kind.
Let me for the moment take a tourist party that arrives at the port of Windsor, crosses the international boundary and comes to stay a period of days in the Dominion of Canada. Immediately they arrive in Canada they become members of the consuming population of the Dominion. Very rapidly, in some places more rapidly than others, they become non-resident taxpayers of certain goods and services which we sell to them, and in other provinces, may I say they become very rapidly non-resident taxpayers in the support of the hospitals, et cetera, which take certain taxes on meals and so, first of all the tourist becomes a consumer. He demands goods and services within the country anal for that he must pay certain taxes which all of us know. So adding to the consuming population, what does the tourist do? At the very outset he is an asset to the great primary industry of agriculture. In 1929, which was the peak year of our tourist industry, a very estimable economist in this Province-Professor Taylor of McMaster University--estimated that the tourists in Canada consumed 4 million pounds of butter, 18 million pounds of meat and 4 million dozen of eggs, and other farm products in like proportion.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, may I say this to you. There is no agency or industry within this country that can be so beneficial to the primary industry of agriculture as the so-called travel industry by its greater promotion and development and surely, surely from that standpoint alone, you, who are citizens of this country should bestir yourselves with government agencies, transportation agencies and other agencies, both public and private, endeavouring to develop the industry on strong economic lines.
Secondly, the tourist demands, as I said a moment ago, goods and services. He immediately takes off the relief rolls in certain sections of the country men employed in the travel industry, particularly in the great resort areas of this country. May I for a moment refer to my own province of New Brunswick which gives a striking example of the employment of local labour by non-residents. The Restigouche is a great salmon stream. Some say it is the greatest in the entire world. It was leased by wealthy American people, and with that policy I am in most hearty accord. Had not the river been leased by private enterprise and wealthy Americans it would not today be the great salmon river it is. Along that river hosts of men are employed in the caring for camps, as guides and as outfitters who, without the investment made by outside capital on that stream would today be unemployed and upon the relief of the northern section of the Province of New Brunswick.
Bear in mind another thing in connection with what I call the non-resident tourist and taxpayer. Some of these men and women, too, come year by year, as visitors, desiring recreation and they become within a very short time visitors in the commercial and industrial enterprises of our country. Let me give you one striking example of that in the neighbouring Province of Quebec. Last year, a young man, Mr. Joseph B. Ryan, came into the Laurentian Mountains as a ski enthusiast, in one of the resorts in the great territory north of Montreal. He was delighted with the place. He saw what some of our Canadian visitors had not seen, the great opportunity for the development of a ski resort in the Laurentian Mountains. With what result? To date, Mr. Ryan has invested his own money to the extent of $300,000 in the establishment on Mount Tremblant of one of the finest ski resorts on the North American Continent. It is comparable to the one constructed two years ago by the Union Pacific in Sun Valley which made that resort a great playground for the wealthy people of the United States who are now more than ever indulging in winter sports.
So Mr. Ryan is a striking example of a citizen of the United States who came to play and remained to invest his hard earned cash in a development on Mount Tremblant that will eventually make the Laurentian Mountains the Sun Valley of the eastern portion of this country.
Another factor that I want to talk about today applies particularly to this great Province of Ontario. Personally, I believe we have but scratched the surface of the potentialities in this great travel industry.
I like to tell the story of Maine. Twenty-five years ago Maine was one of the backward states of the Republic. Maine had seen her industry move from that state to more populous centres of the Middle West. She had seen her agricultural industry drop, she had seen her fishing industry going down. Every prosperous industrial and commercial enterprise in that state was on the down grade. But there arose within that state a man of great faith in Maine, a man of tremendous vision and a great courage founded upon that faith and vision-the late Hiram Ricker. He said, "while industries may move, while the agricultural industry may not be prosperous, there is one industry placed here for us by God Himself that can be and should be developed, namely the recreational industry of this state." With what result? Within the last years we have seen Maine rank, one, two, three within the recreational areas of North America-a state with a population even less than the population of the three Maritime Provinces. A tourist industry having a value of 125 million dollars annually. We have seen summer residents in that State, nonresident taxpayers own cottages and summer homes which today have a tax valuation of 50 million dollars.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, without desiring to make odious comparisons, I think I could find one hundred spots in this Province of Ontario comparable of the development which has existed in the State of Maine. The summer resort business in this province could be and should be developed along the same lines which Maine has done, namely the establishment of these cottage colonies in great areas which exist in the northern part of this Province.
There has been development, you may say to me, in Muskoka. Reserves come to my mind like the Temagami. There are countless lakes still unnamed, comparable in every way to any resort area that exists on any part of this North American Continent. There are resorts lying idle, the land held by the municipalities, taken away from the owners because of nonpayment of taxes. I say those areas could be developed to bring about in this Province and indeed in other Provinces of Canada, the same condition which exists in Maine and instead of having non-resident taxpayers holding property to the value of 50 millions of dollars in this Province, there is no reason, in my mind, why there shouldn't be established these colony resorts in all the provinces of Canada, with a tax valuation five to ten times greater than now exists. But hand in hand with the development of a colony resort of this kind must .go something else, a conservation of the timber resources of this country or, shall I say more properly, the forest wealth of this Province. There must be a conservation of that because without a forest wealth adjacent to these lakes the great charm of the area is gone. The fishing possibilities are lost and the natural beauty of the country is desecrated.
So, I say, hand in hand with the development of this tourist industry must always and ever go a strong programme of conservation of our forest wealth and our natural resources, to maintain the beauty of the country and to maintain the great fishing reserves which exist in this great lake-land province of the Dominion.
Let me give you one or two more figures with respect to Maine. They will give you an idea of the ramifications of this industry. I quote from a report issued by one of the statistical firms, charged with the responsibility of bringing this report to the people in this State. I find in the last year, 1938, approximately 25,000 persons employed in the travel industry earned $7,420,000 in wages alone. About $2,500,000 was spent by summer visitors for farm products and the products of the sea during that same year, repeating in some respects the statement I made to you a while ago as regards the purchases of farm products and products of the sea by visitors who come to Canada.
I would like to see developed in this province of Canada the non-resident summer resort colonies because they become, as I say, non-resident taxpayers and they take up a great slack in our tax burden, so sorely needed in this and other parts of the country.
I want to speak to you for a moment, too, with regard to the changes in connection with this industry during the period of the last twenty-five years. Some twenty-five years ago the railways of this country carried about eighty-five per cent of the tourist traffic of the Dominion of Canada. Today the railways and steamships carry about fifteen percent of our tourist traffic. The trend in travel has changed. Eighty-five percent of our traffic comes to this country on rubber wheels and I think it ought to be as plain as a pikestaff, if we are to maintain this type of traffic, if we are not only to advance and expand but hold what we have, it is essential, it is imperative, that governments charged with the responsibility of highway construction shall see to it that our highways are comparable at least, perhaps not necessarily so expensive, to the type of highways the 28 million motorists are enjoying in the country to the south. No tourist area, no country which desires to make its recreational industry a part of its national effort, can hope to expand or improve without a fine system of hard surfaced highways to carry the tremendous motor traffic which is awaiting entry.
There are some 28 million automobiles in the United States. Last year we got something like 3,081,000 motor cars into this country for tourist purposes. There came, as well, 17,048,000 visitors, almost twice the entire population of the Dominion of Canada itself.
I had a letter from a gentleman in this province the other day and he told me he had made a check as he was travelling to his summer home on Georgian Bay and day after day, by check of his own on the highways, he discovered by actual count that sixty per cent of the motor cars he met on the highway bore license plates of the United States. That is indicative, I am sure, of the importance of this motor traffic, the importance, I say, of a system of highways which will be comparable, at least, to that system which they are enjoying in the United States.
I want to say this in Toronto. Ontario has taken the lead in the construction and building of the type of highway which the motorists of the United States desire. This province has built some of the finest highways found on this Continent and its progressive policy in that connection will bring back dividends. I am confident that no money invested by governments will bring back a bigger or a quicker return than the investment which is made on improved highways, to take care of the increasing tourist traffic which is ours for the asking.
There is one other factor I want to speak about. That is in connection with the sports fisherman and the hunter who comes into this country. The sportsman has become and has been for years the de luxe type of tourist who comes to Canada. The figures which are available for a whole year are only of 1937, but they are somewhat enlightening. During 1937 80,380 non-residents came into Canada to hunt and fish in this country and they paid into the Provincial Treasury for merely the right or license to fish a sum of $585,000. That figure is twice as large as the total appropriation, if I may say so, of the Canadian Travel Bureau for any one year of its existence, and that money was spent merely for the right or the license to fish.
I am speaking to an audience that must include a number of sports fishermen and they are going to agree with me, I am sure, in the assertion I propose to make, that the smallest item of expenditure on any successful fishing trip is what you pay for your license. Indeed, there are other necessary attributes to make your trip a success which require the outlay of far more money than the mere payment of a license, which permits you to go to these lakes and rivers and streams and our American visitors, if I may say so, are prolific spenders along that very popular avenue. Last year, I think it is safe to say, about 20 million dollars was spent by nonresident sportsmen in this country.
If we are to maintain this industry, our fish and game industry, I say this in all seriousness, there again must go hand in hand with your tourist promotional work, a fine conservation programme, because in addition to the 80,000 non-residents, some 236,000 residents desire to fish and hunt in this country and they paid $348,000 in licenses, or a total of resident and nonresident sportsmen paid to the provincial treasury, a sum just a little less than one million dollars in 1937.
Let me give the figures for Ontario. I think perhaps they would be most enlightening. This province sold more than 90,000 angling and hunting licenses in the year 1937. The non-resident hunters paid into the Provincial Treasury $92,484 and the non-resident anglers in this province paid to the Provincial Treasury for the right to fish, $330,000 in the year 1937 and so I say again to you, that the non-resident sportsman has become the de luxe tourist of this country, because Canada is the last great fishing and hunting ground left on this continent. As I said a moment ago, it is essential, it is vital that there should be a fine programme of conservation of these great resources, lest we find ourselves in the position of other states to the south of us who years ago boasted the same fishing and hunting resources that we have today and who as a result of no conservation policy, find their lakes and their rivers and streams denuded of fish, and game no longer travel in the forests of that country.
I think efforts have been made and substantially made by provincial authorities to carry on this conservation work, but I say to you, my fellow Canadians, we should always and ever be alert to support those government officials who are endeavouring to maintain the fish and game resources of this country and who look upon those who violate them as in the same category as men who violate any provincial or federal statute upon the law books of this country. There has been too much lethargy, too much inertia with respect to the control of our fish and game laws and particularly to the enforcement of them. There should be, and I plead with you today to support those government officials who are endeavouring to enforce to the limit the fish and game regulations in this or any other province of Canada.
Now, I want to say something else in connection with this industry. Incidentally, perhaps, I should tell you that very, very often we get some humorous letters from the United States, indicative, and I say this without offence, of the ignorance of the people to the south with respect to this country. I had a gentleman write me last year and he said this: "Please tell me what game there is and when there is an open season on it in Ottawa." It required some diplomacy to answer an enquiry of that character, fettered as you are by Civil Service regulations, because, shall I say, one might have gone a little astray and told them of a very popular species of game upon which there seems to be an open season twelve months every year.
Then I had a gentleman who wrote about your own city of Toronto and he said this: "I will be in Toronto on my honeymoon. Where can I fish?"
Very frequently we have had other strange communications. We issued a very fine tourist booklet. Perhaps I shouldn't say that but everybody tells me it is. It is called "Canada Calls You." The other day a letter came from a gentleman in Massachusetts. He said that he had two friends who were going to be married, and would I be good enough to send publications to them. He desired to place both of the booklets among the wedding presents.
Now there is another phase of the tourist industry that I think I should speak of, particularly at a Club of this kind. The great charm of this country is its Canadian and its British atmosphere. The United States citizens who come to Canada desire to find something different than they can find in their own land. Those of us who are charged with the responsibility of advertising this country tell them they can go to a foreign land and find something different by crossing an imaginary line and sometimes they get in here and what do they find? They find some people engaged in catering to tourists are more concerned with Americanizing Canada than they are with maintaining the Canadian, yes, and the British atmosphere of this great country. I detest and I despise those people who think they toady to our American visitors by putting the Stars and Stripes over their hot-dog stands and lodges and cabins. If they must put up a flag, and perhaps they should, I think they ought to have some respect first, for the flag of their own country or Empire and, secondly, they should have some decency and not flaunt the flag of the United States in the eyes of American visitors. They don't appreciate it, they don't want it. Letters in my office tell me they are surprised that such an effort should be made. I had a letter about a year ago from a gentleman who entered the port of Niagara, driving through the Province of Ontario. He had with him his wife and two children, a boy of fourteen and a girl of sixteen. They had passed the Immigration and Customs Officers. They had been driving through the Niagara Peninsula for forty-five minutes when the boy said, "Daddy, when do we get into Canada?" "My dear, you have been in Canada almost an hour." The boy said, "I wouldn't know it, because I have seen the Stars and Stripes more in the last half hour than I saw it all through the State They will, I think, give an opportunity, not only for Canadian citizens, but our friends across the border to see royalty. They will give an opportunity, if I may say so, for Canadian people as a whole to demonstrate to the entire world the devotion and loyalty which we as citizens of this Empire have to that gallant young gentleman who sits upon the throne in Britain and his charming Consort, the Queen. (Applause)
In this connection may I say just this. Don't you think it would be a splendid idea if all of us, as Canadian citizens, saw to it that we presented Canada in the most delectable colours, in a most delectable way during the time they are in this country, that there may be an effort put forth by governments, Federal, Provincial and Municipal, to decorate Canada and to present this country in a most appealing manner?
Then again, this visit from the tourist or travel industry standpoint has this great effect. There will be focused upon this country the attention, not only of the entire British Empire but of the people of the entire world, and the attendant results of that visit shall make Canada better known throughout the world than any other incident which has occurred in the history of this country and will give Canada a foremost place, particularly among those who desire to travel for recreation and for education,
I hardly think I need say anything more in that connection, except to repeat again that the arrangements being made, I am sure, will be a credit to this country and a credit to the people who reside therein.
The Chairman was good enough to make reference to the Canadian Travel Bureau and its establishment some four years ago, saying it had been responsible for the improvement in the travel industry in this country. Not wholly. Not, wholly. We have the most splendid co-operation from the railways, from the steamship companies, from the aeroplane and bus organizations. Indeed, I think the establishment of the Canadan Travel Bureau has proved one thing, that when the Canadian people unite on any one project for the development of this country, when there is a unity of opinion with respect to national effort, there are no bounds to the possibilities which may come from that united and that co-ordinated and concerted effort. Everybody in the House of Commons and the Senate, everybody in the transportation business has joined together with the Canadian Travel' Bureau--shall I call it the spearhead of the tourist attack?--in endeavouring to improve this industry. When in 1934 the Bureau was established we had seen tourist revenue drop to 117 millions of dollars, and three years after it had increased to 295 millions of dollars, because, as I say, there was a coordination of tourist agencies within the country. There was an effort on the part of everybody concerned in the industry to do a real bang-up Canadian job. For that co-operation, for that assistance, for that guidance, in many cases, I today want to publicly thank those organizations and agencies, both public and private, that have assisted the Canadian Travel Bureau.
There are two phases of the tourist industry, Perhaps it is an idealistic phase upon which I want to stay a moment. Then I am through. There is the international aspect of the tourist industry-the urge on the part of the people of the United States to come to Canada to see us as we are, to make it possible for the Canadian people to perform the task which I think we should perform, as part of this Empire, the purveyors of the British viewpoint and the British approach to all questions to our friends across the border, that we may be able to show them that this part of the Empire knows something of that great subject, Democracy; that by the commingling with those people we may present in better terms and in a better way the Empire view on world affairs, the Empire view as it is being carried out by the Government and Downing Street today.
Furthermore, we hear in these thunderous times of the organization of armies, of air forces and we hear of the mechanizing of this, or that or the other great army in countries, particularly, where they have adopted philosophies strange and repugnant to us. Last year to see it expand. Endeavour to make Canada the great recreational nation on the face of the globe.
(Applause) THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dolan, on behalf of the members of The Empire Club present, as well as on behalf of the large audience that has listened to you over the air, I extend our most sincere and cordial thanks for this most wonderful address. I am sure you have enlightened all of us. If I may say so, I think we can leave it to the Travel Bureau to see that there is a large supply of helmets and bicycles and that an earnest effort is made to encourage the growing of moustaches which can be waxed.
I thank you, Sir, and may I add this: In your reference to the spearhead, I couldn't help but think that the force behind the spearhead is Leo Dolan. Thank you very much, Mr. Dolan.
The meeting is adjourned. (Applause)
BIOGRAPHY--D. LEO DOLAN
Chief, Canadian Travel Bureau, Ottawa
Mr. D. Leo Dolan, Chief of the Canadian Travel Bureau, a recently formed Canadian Government organization, functioning under the Department of Transport, is a newspaperman who, for more than 20 years, has been identified with the press of Canada. He is a native of Fredericton, N.B., and until August of 1934 was Director of Information and Tourist Travel for the New Brunswick Government.
Mr. Dolan is 44 years of age, having started his newspaper career in Fredericton when 15 years of age. He has been on the staff of newspapers in Fredericton, Sydney, Saint John, Regina and Saskatoon, and when but 20 years of age was a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery of the House of Commons in Canada. At that time he was the youngest member of the press to have been admitted to the House of Commons Press Gallery.
Formerly, Mr. Dolan had been a member of the Press Gallery of the New Brunswick Legislature, the Nova Scotia Legislature and the Saskatchewan Legislature.
When the Canadian Senate in 1934 conducted the enquiry into the possibilities of the Tourist Industry of Canada, Mr. Dolan was one of the chief witnesses summoned before that committee, under the chairmanship of Hon. W. H. Dennis of Halifax. Following the enquiry the Canadian Government, acting upon the recommendations of the Senate Committee, established the Canadian Travel Bureau to control, promote and develop the Tourist Industry of the Dominion. Mr. Dolan was later appointed Chief of this Bureau by the Federal Government.
In the short space of less than five years Mr. Dolan has accomplished the stupendous task of co-ordinating existing tourist services throughout the far-flung provinces, built up a smooth-working central organization, placed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of publicity, delivered addresses all over Canada and in the United States in addition to discharging all the other duties that go with selling Canada to the tourist.