What does parity between the U.S. dollar and Canadian dollar mean for canoe builders on both sides of the border?
Will Canadians flock to buy canoes from Placid Boatworks, Hornbeck, and Hemlock Canoe, etc? What are the implications for Swift and Clipper?
From hanging around myccr.com,
I’ve seen occasional Canadian awareness of premium specialty shops like Placid, but people will buy those boats only if that is the sort of boat they need.
Similarly, in the States, many potential buyers do not know much about Swift, Bluewater, Clipper, etc.
My guess is that the Canadian builders may see a little less US business, but most Canadian builders live or die in the Canadian market.
I bet thats not true for Swift
They have several US dealers and their boats are not a rarity in the States.
True that Nova Craft, Clipper, Bluewater, Souris River and Evergreen are really rare. Esquif is pretty well established among the whitewater folks in northern New England and any release on the Dead will have mostly Esquifs.
I think its mostly a matter of how businesses want to direct their marketing. I suspect there is a fear on the part of Canadians to shop in the US. For years they were given pennies on the dollar at the border. Thats psychologically hard.
Plus they really want to support their own boatbuilders which is a good thing.
Looks like that Clipper Sea 1 is getting further away.
In the big picture
US builders have sold well in Canada for well over a century – even with historically stronger US dollars. Old Town and Mad River for example are well represented on many Canadian waterways – spend any amount of time up North tripping or just kicking around in Cottage Country and that much will be clearly evident. With the lessoning value of the greenback in recent years sales of some of the higher quality major brands US brands are brisk as well these days. Wenonah and Bell for instance are selling well north of the border these days and have been for a few years (or so my friends in a paddle shop in Ontario tell me). These brands represent a good ‘bang for the buck’ value when the Canadian dollar is as strong as it is now.
That being said Canadian brands are doing well also. I see lots of Swifts, Langfords, Evergreens, and especially Scotts etc, etc… in the Shield. The Canadian market must easily be the strongest traditional (read tandem) canoe market in the world. Naturally they want Canadian brands.
As to the smaller US companies like those you mentioned… they seem to be busy filling specialty needs & regional niches here in the states. I’m not at all sure they are even seeking international sales in a big way. And I don’t think it would be out of step with reality to say that the typical Canadian canoe tripper couldn’t care less about a two-fer powered pack boat, or most small sport solo canoes (read Freestyle) for that matter. Canadian trippers are very traditional after all…
Now Canadian city folks… …well that’s another topic. Many people from the big cities like the Greater Toronto Area for instance couldn’t distinguish between a wilderness and a theme park (just like city many city folks in the States). And they want plastic rec yaks that look cool on their car racks –– poor deluded souls…
…but I diverge from the question at hand…
…just a ramblin’ on… RK
dedicated solos might
do well. They are hard to come by in Canada…Swift makes an accessible pair, Clippers and especially the Souris River Tranquility Solo are scarce(dealers in the GTA dont have them for a test drive), and some simply dont make solos etc
typically there has been one boat in a Canadian family and they have learned to paddle that one boat many ways tandem or solo.
However there are now so many US solos (relatively speaking); that trip to find a solo canoe might be more alluring. There is increasing interest in Canada in things lighter and smaller than a tandem for tripping.
FS is still regarded as froo froo.
With the graying of the
I’ve been canoeing all over the 48 for
34 years and have never seen a Swift. I was all over New England in August and never saw a Swift. I have been across the top of Superior and Huron, where I saw a lot of Scotts and a few Swifts. I have a Bluewater, but would be surprised to see another. I occasionally read about people who own Swifts on this or other forums, and I occasionally read ads for Swifts. But while I am intensely interested in identifying every canoe I see, I’m not seeing Swifts in the States.
Oh, how I miss the weak Loonie
or strong American $, as the case may be. I bought my CD Slipstream in Sault Ste. Marie, ON in 2001 and saved about $600 over buying it in the U.S.
No advantage to buying a Canadian-made boat now!