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MAPLE SYRUP, EH? 2004 PRICELESS INDEX CAPTURES THE CULTURE AND QUIRKS OF CANADIANS

Third annual MasterCard Canada Priceless Index reveals Celine Dion is still Canada’s Idol

Toronto, ON, June 15, 2004 – With Canada Day quickly approaching, MasterCard Canada today released the results of its third annual MasterCard Canada Priceless Index, in which Canadians name Celine Dion, maple syrup and their hometowns as making Canada priceless.

Who’s bringing home the bacon?
Maple syrup holds its sticky lead as the most distinctly Canadian food, as it has for each year of the Priceless Index. This year, 15 per cent of Canadians ranked maple syrup as the most distinctly Canadian food. However, appetite largely depends on where you live. According to the survey:

  • Quebecers love their maple syrup – one-third (33%) believe it’s their proudest Canadian food helping make maple syrup Canada’s top choice.
  • Western Canada strongly supports the beef industry as 16 per cent put their Canadian beef ahead of anything else.
  • Ontarians ranked bacon as their Canadian treat, and 12 per cent are responsible for bringing home the bacon.
  • Atlantic Canadians are fisherman at heart, with 21 per cent naming lobster or fish as their national cuisine of choice.

Pardon my French, eh!
Almost two-thirds (60%) of English-speaking Canadians say “Eh!” is the most uniquely Canadian word or expression. Though in a very distant second place, 3 per cent of Canadians may have beer on their minds as they recite the popular slogan: “I am Canadian”.

  • Western Canada was most likely (64%) to site the word eh! as a unique Canadian expression; while Atlantic Canadians (41%) were less likely.
  • Although the playoff season has come to a close, 2 per cent of Canadians believe that hockey or Go Leafs! are unique Canadian expressions.
  • Cover your ears! When the same question was asked of Quebecers, almost one-quarter (23%) volunteered various profanities as uniquely Canadian expressions!

Canada’s Idols – Dion, Gretzky, Twain, and Martin
When asked to name Canada’s most priceless celebrity, Canadians offered a wide range of response with two singers, a hockey player, and the Prime Minister being named most frequently.

  • For the third straight year, Celine Dion was named most often (20%.) Celine Dion is most popular among Quebecers, with half (50%) choosing Celine as their leading lady. And although in the lead among all age groups, Celine is least popular among those 60+, with only 15 per cent singing along to her tunes.
  • With half as many votes (10%), Canadians voted a hockey legend for second place – the great one, Wayne Gretzky came in second place.
  • In third place, selected by 9 per cent of respondents, was Shania Twain.
  • Prime Minister Paul Martin was named by 5 per cent of respondents.
  • Other celebrities selected as most priceless included: Mike Myers, Don Cherry, Jim Carey, Pierre Trudeau, David Suzuki, and Mike Weir.

“The 2004 Priceless Index reveals that hockey scores big with Canadians– from players, to teams to Olympic moments, Canadians love the sport,” said Kevin Stanton, President, MasterCard Canada. “Just like Canada Day, hockey is a chance for Canadians to show their national colours and celebrate a priceless moment.”

What’s on Television
When asked what Canada’s best television show of all time is, Canadians had hockey and humour on their minds – 7 per cent named Hockey night in Canada, followed by This Hour Has 22 Minutes with 5 per cent.

  • Atlantic Canada chose a combination of news programs (11%) and Trailer Park Boys (6%) as the best Canadian shows, while Hockey Night in Canada had strongest support among Quebecers (22%.)

Hockey moments
Hockey fans across the country are neck and neck – when asked what is Canada’s most priceless professional sport’s team, Canadians were almost tied between the Toronto Maple Leafs (29%) and the Montreal Canadiens (27%.) The Calgary Flames received only 3 per cent of Canadian votes, but research was conducted prior to the NHL playoffs!

  • Quebecers put their teams in front with the Habs taking more than half of the votes (54%), followed by the Alouettes (9%.)
  • Hab fans also reside in Western Canada, with 21 per cent of Western Canadians identifying the Canadiens before the Leafs (14%) as priceless Canadian teams.

The 2002 Olympic Games had a lasting impression on Canadians, with more than one quarter (27%) citing the Men’s, Women’s or both Gold Hockey medals as the most priceless moments in Olympic history.

Vacation destination
The Priceless Index finds that Canadians are boosters of their hometowns and provinces. When asked what is Canada’s most priceless vacation destination, respondents were most likely to name their own local region:

  • If planning a vacation, you’d be advised to visit the Rocky Mountains first (11%) and then make your way to Banff (8%) – Canada’s leading priceless vacation destinations.
  • But, Atlantic Canadians say venture out East first, with visits to Prince Edward Island (14%) or Cape Breton (12%) as essential vacation spots.
  • Quebecers admit the Rockies warrant a visit (12%), they’d quickly recommend the cross-Canada tour stop in Quebec City or Gaspe – both scoring 11 per cent.

About the survey
This national survey of 2,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over was carried out by telephone between April 26 and May 7, 2004 by Environics Research Group on behalf of MasterCard Canada. Results to a survey of this size can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percent, nineteen times out of twenty.

About MasterCard International
MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members' credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 96 countries and in 47 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com

MasterCard Canada Contacts:

Jill Rosenberg/Tina Gladstone/Matt Cram
Environics Communications, 416-920-9000
jrosenberg@environicspr.com
tgladstone@environicspr.com
mcram@environicspr.com