Skip to main content

Loonies hit 11-year low: What that means for Minnesotans, and the tourism industry


The Canadian dollar hit an 11-year low against the U.S. dollar Tuesday, which is good for Minnesotans looking for a Canadian getaway, but bad for Minnesota's American Indian tribes who benefit from visits from our northern neighbors.

The loonie closed at 75.87 cents to the U.S. dollar – the lowest its been since August 2004, CBC reports, due in part to weak oil prices and the likelihood the Bank of Canada will cut interest rates.

This is a good thing for Minnesotans willing to trek over the border to shop – the U.S. dollar is worth roughly $1.31 in Canada.

American travelers are visiting their northern neighbors, spending more money in the country because the dollar is worth more, which has contributed to a boom in the Canadian tourism industry, CBC reports.

The country's businesses have seen an influx of Minnesotans in the past two weeks, with the Star Tribune reporting a car dealership in Fort Frances, Ontraio, sold three vehicles to Minnesotans in a week, citing the exchange rate as a major factor.

But it could hurt Minnesota businesses

But because of the strong American dollar, more Canadians are deciding to stay home and travel within the country instead of coming to Minnesota (and other border states) – and that could start impacting business around the state.

Every year, about 700,000 Canadians – many from the province of Manitoba – come to Minnesota for an overnight trip, Explore Minnesota statistics show, with many visiting to shop in the United States, taking in a sporting event or visiting American Indian-run casinos, reports note.

"Canadian visitors are extremely important to Minnesota," John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota, told the Star Tribune.

But Canadians may think twice before crossing the border now that their loonies aren't worth as much, reports note.

“There’s always been this idea, at least, that there was more diverse retail offerings in the [U.S.]. A strong U.S. dollar will discourage some shoppers from crossing, although there is still an attraction," University of Manitoba economist Fletcher Baragar told Circle News.

Shop owners in International Falls have already noticed fewer Canadians stopping in, they told the Star Tribune. And Baragar told Circle News that Minnesota's tourism industry may soon start feeling the impact because fewer Canadians may cross the border for recreational purposes if the large exchange gap continues.

This could have an affect on the 18 American Indian-run casinos in the state, which often serve busloads of Canadian visitors, especially those near the Canadian border.

Grand Portage Lodge and Casino – less than an hour south of Thunder Bay, Ontario – may be the most affected if the flow of tourists over the border lessens. About 80 percent of the lodge and casino's patrons are from Canada, the Indian Affairs Council notes.

“It’s hard to imagine there is another Minnesota enterprise as dependent on international trade as them,” Minnesota Trade Office director P. Richard Bohr told Circle News.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.