April 16, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


William James Hammell


Mr. W. J. HAMMELL (Muskoka):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to participate in this debate, my purpose is not to dwell on any particular phase forming the subject matter of the financial statement or of the budget resolutions so ably presented to this chamber by the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). I propose to again leave the beaten trail, as I did in similar circumstances last year, and crave the indulgence of hon. members for a short discussion of one of the most important branches of our national trade, and one which, unfortunately, has been far too long neglected. I refer, Mr. Speaker, to that great source of actual and potential revenue, the tourist trade. The purpose of my remarks is primarily to bring to the attention of the government and more particularly to the attention of the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) the urgent necessity and the beneficent effects to be derived from a government policy which would make for the proper exploitation of one of thp greatest of our natural resources. In fact, the great value of the invisible exports to be credited to our tourist trade can be classed at the head of the list when we consider our national business from the viewpoint of desirability. Yet this important factor has grown in spite of nearly absolute neglect. I propose to show some of the important reasons why it is most desirable that our federal government should take immediate steps to sec in motion the necessary machinery to systematize and develop this great national asset.
On the 7th of May last year, during the budget debate, I endeavoured to show with reliable figures and carefully prepared estimates the undoubted value to the nation of the tourist traffic. I may be permitted to quote one or two passages from those remarks. In giving a comparative table of amounts derived from wealth-producing industries I said, as reported at page 1857 of Hansard for 1924:
Taking only those industries which are absolutely basic we get this amazing comparison. The figures are for the year 1923, and are as follows:
Agriculture and agricultural products.. $407,760,000
Wood and wood products 228,756,200
Tourist travel, estimated 136,000,000
Animals and animal products 135.000,000
Minerals and mineral products 123,142,653
Is it not amazing to find this item of production to which we have paid so little attention with a value higher than that of our animal and animal products or than the wealth produced by our mines?
And again on page 1859 of Hansard, 1924, I read:
Turning for a minute to the automobile traffic over our borders, we find still more amazing results. In the year 1923 the Customs department recorded entries of 1,936,598 cars. A large number of this total of
cars stayed in Canada for a period of twenty-four hours or less; on the other hand, more than 200,000 stayed for a period ranging from two days to one month, and some 3,000 cars stayed from one to six months. Even taking a most conservative estimate of three passengers per car, and an average expenditure of only $20 per car, we obtain a total expenditure from this source alone of $40,000,000. And when we consider the cost of maintenance and upkeep, gasoline, oil, and so forth, for the car and the food and lodgings for the passengers, without even including the large sums spent for souvenirs, entertainments and so forth, we readily realize that this is a most conservative total.
Now, Mr. Speaker, it is pleasant to realize that greater interest in the tourist trade is being taken throughout the country, and since the publicity given to my speech of last session I have received hundreds of letters and newspaper clippings from all parts of Canada. The press have taken up the battle cry and are spreading the good news. Automobile clubs, good roads associations, and many other organizations are lending their efforts to the development of the tourist traffic and interest is constantly increasing. Letters have come to me from all points in Canada and many parts of the United States on this subject. I have here one letter from Halifax and another from Vancouver which I desire to read. The first is from Mr. E. G. Stairs, of Halifax, and reads as follows:
My Dear Sir,-As one who has made a personal study of the tourist trade and its possibilities by my own travels and investigations across Canada from Halifax, my home here, may I ask you for a copy of Hansard with your May 7, tourist speech.
Many thanks,
E. G. Stairs,
The other is from Mr. J. R. Davison, Manager of the Vancouver Publicity Bureau, and reads as follows:
Dear Sir,-In a Toronto paper of last summer I note a report of a speech made by you in the House of Commons last year in regard to the value of the tourist traffic.
This has a very great deal of excellent information in it and all your points are, I think, well taken. Among other things I note that you pointed out that the tourist travel is of value to the farmers. I am afraid as yet many of them do not realize this but it is a fact that the products of the farm form a great part of what tourists buy when with us. To make this point clearer out here we stressed it at our annual meeting in 1923. 1 am sending you a copy of
the menu which will explain itself.
You may be interested in looking over a plan we have suggested for the Dominion government. This has already been endorsed by the chief publicity organizations west of Quebec, and has received very general editorial support also. We are hopeful that the government will follow our suggestion, and put in operation some comprehensive plan for increasing the revenue from this very valuable traffic.
This year has been the most profitable we have ever had, and we believe that a campaign such as we suggest will bring a great deal of business to all parts of the country.
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I would like to hear from you on receipt of this, and trusting that you may be able again to put forward the need of aggressive action by Ottawa.
Yours very truly,
J. It. Davison.
Now, the menu card enclosed with this letter deserves special commendation. On one side the heading reads: "This is what we eat," and the dinner menu is given. On the other side appear the words. "This is what the tourists eat."
This page is certainly wTorth quoting and here are the figures given:
It is estimated that the tourists visiting British Columbia last year consumed foodstuffs to the following amounts:
Cereals, 1,323 bags or 132,300 pounds; bacon and ham, 394,800 pounds; bread at one pound a loaf,
2.100.000 loaves-2,100,000 pounds; jam, 315,000 pounds; coffee, 78,750 pounds; tea, 78,750 pounds; sugar, 279,300 pounds; butter, 180,000 pounds; vegetables.
2.100.000 pounds; potatoes, 42,000 bags or 4,200,000 pounds; fish, 2,100,000 pounds; flour, 630,000 pounds; salt, 31,500 pounds; fat for cooking, 210,000 pounds. Meat: cattle, 3,500 head; hogs, 8,400; sheep, 25,200. Fruit-420,000 pounds: apples, 21,000 boxes; cream, 73,500 gallons; milk, 262,500 gallons; syrup, 4,200 gallons; eggs, 8,400,000.
In reference to the number of sheep consumed this remark is appended:
Hon. E. D. Barlow said there were 50,000 sheep in British Columbia. Tourists ate over half our flock. He will have to count them again.
And I could keep on quoting for hours along the same lines, showing the great economic value of the tourist traffic. Suffice it to say that we are not in any way depleting our reserves when we deliver our goods through the eyes of our tourist friends. When we feed them our fanners profit; when we transport them our railway and steamship companies benefit; in fact every time a tourist moves some part of our economic structure is called into function, and the collective mass of this travel provides a real impetus to trade generally.
Another very important factor that is too easily forgotten is that tourist travel has a secondary influence, often far-reaching in its benefits. It builds up good-will and understanding and it opens the eyes of the visitor to the possibilities of the country. Many a holiday has culminated in an investment or in permanent settlement. It is said that the wonderful industrial development of Shawini-gan Falls is traceable to a summer holiday spent in lower Quebec by one of our great capitalists. And if the truth were known it would perhaps be amazing to realize the prominent part played in the development of our country by those who first came here seeking pleasure and rest and who could not fail to realize the immense possibilities of our vast

Dominion with its great wealth of natural resources.
That Canada has the required scenic beauties to attract and please the tourists is beyond discussion. There is not a single province that does not possess scenic marvels and points of beauty such as the tourist craves. Right at the door of this capital city lies th wonderful valley of the Gatineau capable of attracting and sustaining the interest of thousands and thousands of tourists. We have from east to west a chain of holiday paradises which are veritable fairylands for the tourists. The Bras d'Or lakes, the Garden of the Gulf, the Land of Evangeline, the magnificent Laureatides, the far-famed Murray bay, the Thousand Islands, the National parks, all are assets beyond value, ready to be exploited for the national benefit. I need no excuse to advertise the beauties of my own district of Muskoka; its myriads of lakes, streams and waterfalls, its countless attractive islands, its beautiful and ever-charming scenery, its healthful and invigorating climate, are yearly the pleasure grounds of increasing thousands. Here, if anywhere, the value of the tourist business is realized and every effort is courageously being made for its development. All in our district take a personal interest and have at heart the conservation of the scenic wonders of this fairlyland on the Georgian bay, and we feel, that the efforts we are making will result in benefits that will be nationally felt. The development has been marked in recent years and the number of visitors is continually increasing. Not only this, but scores and scores are added annually to the number who have already become permanently settled summer residents in the various localities.
The investment in property beautification and conservation has already reached a very large sum and costly additions are made every year. I again refer to my remarks of last year, at page 1858 of Hansard, to show what the tourist traffic means in this locality alone. I said last year:
Taking as a survey, that each of the 155 places referred to, with their accommodation for 10,000 guests, only filled their rooms five times each during the entire season, we have a total of 50,000 guests, which at an average expenditure of only $100 each would mean a total expenditure of $5,000,000. From ' a very conservative estimate of the value of the investment in that region we find that in cottages, resorts and launches, the total investment in the three sections of Muskoka, Lake of Bays, the Georgian bay, and Muskoka lakes, is well in excess of $20,000,000. And the investment is rapidly increasing from year to year.
On the Muskoka lakes alone we find this remarkable summary of investment, and my authority is

The Budget-Mr. Hammell
no less a person than the manager of the Muskoka Lakes Navigation Company:
Lake Joseph 175
Lake Rosseau 230
Lake Muskoka 490
Total 895
At an estimated average value of only $5,000 this alone represents an investment of $4,500,000.
Lake Joseph 12
Lake Rosseau 32
Lake Muskoka 26
Total 70
The estimated total investment of these resorts is conservatively placed at $2,000,000. There are besides a fleet of 22 steamers valued at $367,000 and 390 gasoline launches estimated to be worth $1,000,000. The total investment represented is $7,867,000. In this district alone the numbers of visitors during 1923 is placed at over 30,000, which at the average expenditure of only $100 each would mean a total of $3,000,000.
To handle this traffic, the help engaged on steamers, in the resort houses and in the cottages would represent
3,000 at an average of $7,500 per day for wages alone. The average daily population would be about 7,000 visitors and 3,000 emploj'ees, a continuous population of 10,000 per day during the summer months. So that, at an average of $1 per day per person, you would have a total of $10,000 per day for food alone. One could go on endlessly quoting statistics of the importance. from the tourist standpoint, of this locality; and what applies in one part of our country would be more or less general to all those wonderful sections that our country possesses.
That the estimates and' statistics just referred to are the most conservative can be better realized from the following passages which I will read from a letter addressed to me a few days ago by Mr. W. J. Moore, general manager of the Huntsville, Lake of Bays and Lake Simcoe Navigation Company Limited. Mr. Moore says, in part:
The owners of the different hotels and resorts in Lake of Bays district catering to the tourist traffic, must have an investment of from one to one and a quarter million dollars in buildings, furnishings, etc. You will understand that it is difficult to give accurate figures of investment in hotel and resort properties, in the absence of figures from the owners, which are difficult to obtain.
My estimate is that at least 10,000 people, including summer cottagers, hotel and boarding house guests, and motorists visited the Lake of Bays territory in the season of 1924. Within such territory there is at least 350 summer cottages, 200 gasoline and small steam launches, also hotel and boarding house accommodation for summer guests to the number of about 2,800. Each year is showing a decided increase in the number of vacationists from the United States.
Concerning tourist traffic during summer season to this section of Ontario and Muskoka, I should certainly like to have been in a position to give you something definite as to the number who visited this territory in the season of 1924, but regret that I can only form an approximate idea, because of the very large number who travel by motor car. A large percentage of the
latter traffic do not even patronize the hotels and resorts or boarding houses, but prefer to pitch their tents on camping grounds and then attend to their own cooking, etc. The season 1924 showed a decidedly large increase in the travel by motor car, to Huntsville and points beyond here.
To appreciate properly the remarks which I have just quoted from Mr. Moore's letter, it is necessary to keep in mind that the data which he gives apply only to the Lake of Bays district, which is by far the smallest of the three main sections of Muskoka. The Muskoka lakes and Georgian bay sections are not only greater in extent, but the development there has made greater strides.
Perhaps I may be accused of partiality to Muskoka. In explanation let me say that being in closer touch I have been enabled to obtain more detailed information from my own district. However, the general information which I have and the mass of statistical data in my possession enable me to say that what is true of Muskoka is no less true of scores of other districts. We are truly the inhabitants of a real everyday wonderland, and the apathy which we have shown by our inertia in the development of this vast possible trade is far from creditable to our spirit of advance. That this condition should so long have existed is very difficult of explanation, more so when one considers that in no less than forty different constituencies the problem awaits development for the pleasure of the tourists and to the great benefit of Canada generally.
I now desire to read a few passages from newspaper editorials, and other writings, to show the wakening of interest which is taking place and the demands from the press for the development of this very important natural resource. In these passages hon. members will also note the large value placed on the tourist traffic by independent observers. First I have a quotation from Mr. Frank Waterhouse, President of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which shows the tremendous benefits derived from advertisment. Mr. Waterhouse says in the Victoria Times of October 31, 1923:
Three years ago Tacoma's tourist population was 100,000. The expenditure of $65,000 in advocating this traffic brought the total of transient visitors to
350,000 in .1922 and to 500,000 in 1923.
From the Natural Resources Bulletin of the Department of the Interior, I find this passage, which I also read reprinted in an editorial of the Toronto Gldbe under date of December 20, 1924. The paragraph reads:
There is at least one direction in which Canada appears to enjoy a golden opportunity-the attraction of profitable tourist traffic from abroad. Already the Dominion's income annually from such business
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runs into a large item, but there is every sign that we have merely scratched its revenue possibilities.
Under the heading "The value of the Tourist Trade" the London. Free Press says-August 29, 1923:
However, there is another aspect of the tourist trade which is even more vital and more important. This is the fact that thousands of Americans from the interior states to whom Canada is a foreign nation and who imagine it is largely trackless forest peopled by bears, moose, Indians and gay voyageurs are having their eyes opened. The constant streams of Americans to Canada will do more than any treaties or acts of congress or parliament to make for good-will between the two countries.
I find the following appreciation, well merited indeed, in the British Columbian of New Westminster, August 13:
In contrast to the failure of the British Columbia government to estimate the wealth that will flow to the province by the capitalizing of its scenery, is the work of the Dominion Parks Service in developing great national park areas, opening them to tourists, and making known their scenic attractiveness throughout the continent. The Dominion, in other words, went into the business of selling scenery for the benefit of all of Canada, and while the commercial side is not alone the mainspring of national park development, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been caused to flow through Canadian channels and especially British Columbia channels of trade by the National Park development.
The following paragraph from the Victoria Times has its own significance:
One of the advantages of the tourist traffic is that while the province of British Columbia has $90,000,000 worth of lumber less than in 1921 it still has the same scenic attractions it had in 1921, although $20,000,000 has been paid for enjoying these by visitors from every part of the world and the province has not been depleted.
The figures given are for the year 1921. A more recent survey of the value of the tourist traffic in British Columbia placed the revenues derived at over $60,000,000 for the year 1924. And let me again say that this large sum was reaped without sacrificing a single stick of timber.
The Financial Post, after completing a survey and review of the tourist traffic, has this to say:
There is perhaps no more profitable industry in Canada than the tourist industry. Like any other industry it shows returns for good sound business backing. It pays for investment in good roads, it pays dividends on capital invested in hotels which give satisfactory service, and it pays in -profits to dealers and to merchants, who sell wanted goods at fair prices. And over all, like any other well conducted business, it shows satisfactory returns for money well expended in advertising when the governments, the hotel-keepers and the merchants are prepared to live up to the advertising and send back to their homes satisfied tourists who will multiply the benefits of the benefits of the original expenditure.
The Vancouver Sun adds its approval in the following words-June 19, 1924:
[Mr. Hammell.l
From motor traffic alone on a conservative basis the city of Vancouver benefited to the extent of $12,160,000. When it is remembered that an equal number of tourists came by rail and water, and that according to calculations of the companies which brought them here they spent as great a sum, it means that virtually 25 millions was reaped.
Is this not a business worthy of the greatest encouragement, one that with practical neglect brings in a single year business to the value of twenty-five millions of dollars to a single city? The Border Cities Star published on January 12, 1925, an editorial dealing with the tourist traffic under the very well chosen heading of "Tell the World." They reprinted this editorial and gave it very wide circulation. The heading of the reprint is worthy of note; it says:
By way of explanation:
The attached editorial appeared in the Border Cities Star, Windsor, Ont., on January 12, 1925. It is sent to you in the hope of stimulating a move that is admittedly of great importance to Canada. Bringing the Dominion and its advantages to the notice of other peoples, and particularly in the United States, through the medium of the radio, advertisements in foreign newspapers and magazines, etc., as well as individual effort by Canadians in general, should mean much to our country.
The Border Cities Star.
The editorial itself starts as follows:
As The Star pointed out in these columns a few days ago, one of the most important sources of revenue upon which Canada can draw is that of the tourist industry. As noted at that time, an unofficial estimate places the return from this agency last year at approximately $150,000,000, or $25,000,000 more than American investors are said to reap annually from their holdings in this country. Nothing then could be more obvious than the desirability of building up and adding to the size of this extremely valuable avenue of income.
And among other suggestions, all very good indeed, I find in the last paragraph this very good idea for the use of the radio:
The further suggestion has been made that the radio offers one of the most advantageous means of attracting tourists and immigrants. A great government broadcasting station could reach every corner of America. High class musical programmes interspersed with attractive national salemanship in the form of lectures, talks and invitations would undoubtedly bring results. The " stunt " would be more or less original and undoubtedly would attract great attention across the line. " Canadian Nights " on the radio would be looked forward to in millions of American homes and no one would be more interested than the several million former Canadians now residing all the way from Maine to California. For them these " Canadian Nights " would constitute a breath from home and in more than one instance might be the means of bringing repatriation. The Canadian National Railways is doing some excellent broadcasting work, Why not build up this idea and cash in on it?
In a lengthy editorial, condemning the inactivity of the federal government in this field, the Winnipeg Free Press of January 12, 1924, has these two telling paragraphs:
One of the worst cultivated natural resources of this country is its tourist industry. The number who annu'

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ally tour part of the land is wildly enumerated in millions, and their aggregated expenditures within the country are supposed to run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Neither estimate can be verified without more specific information, which will not be available till Canada has, like New Zealand a government tourist bureau.
After a general review of the situation and after pointing out what is being done in New Zealand, France, Italy and Switzerland, and after making a number of suggestions, the Winnipeg Free Press editorial referred- to ends with this paragraph:
With infinitely more to offer, and with a tremendously rich and willing source from which to draw, Canada, governmentally, ignores its tourist harvest.
It will be seen that interest has become aroused in this new industrial field throughout the confines of our Dominion. In choosing a few quotations from newspaper editorials it has been impossible to give fair play as the time available precludes the possibility of doing justice to the mass of excellent editorial references made on the tourist traffic, its benefits and the methods suggested for its development.
From a business viewpoint one might quote the following as the principal reasons for the development and marketing of our scenic resources:
1. The financial benefit to farmers by the requirement of foodstuffs for the tourists.
2. The impetus to trade, hotels, resorts and business generally through the necessary catering for this large transient population.
3. The large volume of increased business for our various transportation companies.
What can be sounder economically than the development of a natural resource which increases in value by its marketing and in no way suffers the depletion of its original wealth? W'e empty our mines of their valuable deposits and then hunt for new ground to despoil. The exploitation of our forests has gone on at such a pace that our remaining reserves are yearly becoming more remote. Our commercial fisheries have required stringent control to prevent their disappearance. In a word, is it not true that, perhaps with the exception of agriculture, in every line of industry we destroy to produce? It is not so with our scenic reserves; their development means their conservation, their beautification and their amelioration. The returns which they provide never deplete the shelves of our reserves and we can sell indefinitely without ever replenishing our stock in trade.
The parity of our dollar is attributable to a very large degree, if not entirely, to the revenues derived from our tourist traffic. Hon.
members may ask how. The explanation is that we pay with one hand dividends and interest on stock and bond holdings to foreign investors, and we balance our ledger by receiving with the other their contribution in payment of our scenic beauties and amusement facilities.
At a time when we require additional business to provide additional employment we cannot pass up the development of this so desirable business. I am firmly convinced that we can no longer delay the exploitation of this national asset and would humbly suggest that the best means to attain success should follow along these lines:
1. The establishment of a separate government branch specially organized for the development of the tourist traffic, and
2. The expenditure of required moneys to properly expand and cultivate the tourist traffic.
The branch which I suggest should have full powers to co-operate with all other government departments and be prepared to collect and systematize reliable statistics for advertisement and other purposes. It should also, among other things:
(a) Co-operate with all existing tourist bureaus and similar organizations with a view to welding the whole into a formidable advertising and co-operative agency, eliminating duplication of effort, providing required assistance, etc;
(b) Publish timely and well directed advertisements, together with stories, articles and pictures to make our scenic and natural beauties better known;
(c) Undertake the preparation, publication and distribution of pamphlets and other literature for the information of intending tourists;
(d) Organize and maintain an up-to-date, accurate and adequate information bureau for the benefit of all intending tourists;
(e) Work for the betterment of hotel accommodation, scenic roads, camping sites and generally for the provision of all possible facilities for the tourists.
In addition to the work I have just briefly outlined, the government should endeavour by conference and inquiry to bring about an absolute uniformity in all the laws of the different provinces in so far as they affect the tourist. I am sure that the co-operation of the provinces would be willingly forthcoming. Particular attention should be given to motor car regulations, fish and game permits and such general laws and regulations as are likely to meet the tourist in the various
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provinces. Customs regulations also should be made as easy and elastic as possible with a view to preventing delays and displeasure. In this connection the utmost care should be taken in the selection of customs officers, so that whilst performing their duties they can also very greatly facilitate and expedite the transaction of needed customs business by the tourist.
I cannot close my remarks, Mr. Speaker, without saying a word of appreciation of the yeoman sendee rendered to the tourist industry by both the Canadian National Parks branch and the Natural Resources branch of the Department of the Interior. The publicity carried on has been most timely and most instructive and has served to waken the dormant spirit in a number of our people. Let us hope that they will not only carry on but also increase their sphere of action.
I hope I have not bored horn members and I trust the policy which I advocate will find favour in every comer of this chamber. I cannot think of a single interest which would not be represented in the benefits to be derived from the tourist traffic. We have at our door one hundred and ten millions of people comprising the richest nation in the world, a nation that loves travel and pleasures. Why should we remain inactive when reasonable effort on our part would attract them in scores of thousands? The question of the tourist, industry is non-controversial and is of national importance. The farmer, the merchant, the manufacturer-all are interested in its development. Hundreds of reasons can be advanced in support of its exploitation, and I have yet to find a single argument against it. I have devoted a great deal of time, more so in recent years, to the study of this vast national resource, and I have consistently advocated the urgent need for federal action.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, may I say that I know of no better way of developing this country and of increasing our national prosperity than by taking advantage of this golden opportunity of capitalizing our natural scenic beauties and recreational facilities and selling them to the many millions of our American friends to the south of us, who are continually hunting new grounds for their enjoyment.

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