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Currency exchange helping dollars flow to Canada

While the sinking Canadian dollar is hurting many businesses on the U.S. side of the border, some in Canada are enjoying a boost from American spending. The trend is providing a positive business impact to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The festival is currently saying an American dollar buys $1.35 Canadian and that adds up a lot, even with provincial and federal sales taxes.

With so many Americans and Canadians heading back and forth across border bridges, there's a constant awareness of of where the two currencies stand.

"We've seen some really good uptick in numbers of US patrons who are wanting to come across the border because it's a little bit like Canada is on sale, at the moment," said Tim Jennings, Executive Director of the Shaw Festival. 

"So, that's been very good for us. And, also, we're seeing more Canadians looking to stay home for their vacation this year, at least in terms of not heading south of the border because obviously that affects them the other way."

Ticket sales are up five percent, significant for a theater festival whose deficit last year approached $2 million and with a budget of $27 million. Ticket sales increases are also likely to increase business in hotels, restaurants and those shops which line Queen Street.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.