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Visit Vancouver, Swoon in Niagara Falls, and Party in Montreal

2006 Priceless Index Maps Canadians' Perceptions of Canada

Toronto, June 20, 2006 – Vancouver is the top pick for tourists, Niagara Falls is the romance capital of Canada, and Montreal is the best city to party in on a Saturday night – this according to results from MasterCard Canada's 2006 Priceless Index, a barometer of Canadian patriotism that tracks what we find Priceless about Canada, including how we view our cities, the seven wonders of Canada, and top destinations for dining, dancing and romancing.

"The Priceless Index has quantified the patriotic nature of Canadians on two levels," says Jennifer Reed, Vice President, Public Affairs, MasterCard Canada. "Although we're beset with national pride, we're also fiercely proud of our hometowns. Canadians consistently select local cities and landmarks as the most priceless."

Canada's seven (actually eight) wonders

When asked to identify Canada's seven wonders, we had no trouble choosing the most awe-inspiring places in the country; so much so that we selected eight wonders:

  1. Niagara Falls (51%)
  2. The Rockies (45%)
  3. CN Tower (29%)
  4. The Great Lakes (14%)
  5. The St. Lawrence Seaway, 6. Bay of Fundy, 7. the Arctic and 8. Quebec's Perce Rock (5% each)

Looking for romance? Canadians say head to The Falls

According to the 2006 Priceless Index, Canadians have fallen for the Falls. Almost one in four (23%) respondents chose the Honeymoon Capital of the World as the most romantic place in Canada, followed by historic Quebec City with 13 per cent.

  • Almost one-third (32%) of Quebecers keep the romance blooming at home, selecting Quebec City as the most romantic city.
  • More than one-third (33%) of Ontarians feel their hearts flutter in Niagara Falls.
  • Torn between two loves, Albertans had a tough time choosing between Niagara Falls (14%) and their own city of Banff (13%).

If you had to choose just one… Vancouver named top city for tourists

Nearly one in five (19%) respondents agreed Vancouver is the one Canadian city tourists should not miss.

  • Residents of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia all ranked Vancouver as top on their list. However, respondents from Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario were true to their hometowns.
  • Halifax is top of the list for Atlantic Canadians. More than one in five (21%) picked the city as the best town to visit.
  • Respondents in Quebec are proud of their own: almost half (47%) of residents said Quebec City is where tourists should go.
  • Ontarians only have eyes for Toronto, with 28 per cent choosing the city as the must-not-miss destination.

Best party town on a Saturday night

All dressed up and raring to go, more than a quarter (28%) of Canadians say Montreal is where they want to party on a Saturday night. However, many of us also prefer to party close to home:

  • Nationally, Toronto came in second as party central (22%), followed by Vancouver (9%).
  • Regionally, Ontarians ranked Toronto their top party destination (45%).
  • Residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan couldn't decide between Calgary and Winnipeg, with both cities getting the majority of votes (15% each).
  • Respondents from Alberta also had difficulty choosing the best place to party, resulting in a split vote between Edmonton and Vancouver (16% each).
  • Atlantic Canadians like to party at home in St. John's as much as they do in Montreal, with each city receiving the same number of votes (18% each).

Bon appetit in the dining capital of Canada

When it comes to cuisine, Canadians selected Montreal (28%) as the best city to dine, followed by Toronto (22%), and Vancouver (14%). But as is true with most things, our hearts – and appetites – love it best at home.

  • In Ontario, Toronto ranked as the best place to get a meal (46%).
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents named Winnipeg as the best place to satisfy their appetites.
  • In the west, residents of Alberta and British Columbia are in agreement when it comes to food – almost a quarter of Albertans (24%) and half of British Columbians (50%) love eating in Vancouver.

La vie en mode

When it comes to style, Montrealers lead the way on the fashion runway. More than a third (35%) of Canadians picked Montreal as the style headquarters of Canada, followed by Toronto (22%), Vancouver (14%), and Quebec City (11%).

  • Quebecers are into their own style, ranking both Montreal and Quebec City as the most stylish in Canada, with each city getting an equal number of votes (32%).
  • Almost a third (30%) of Manitoba and Saskatchewan respondents chose Toronto as the fashion capital of Canada.

"We're a confident nation and MasterCard's latest Priceless Index puts the Canadian stamp of approval on the many qualities and attractions that make up this great country," says Reed. "From coast to coast, Canada Day is for celebrating what's priceless about our country."

The results of the 2006 Priceless Index are summarized visually in MasterCard's Priceless Map of Canada, highlighting the places and landmarks Canadians find most Priceless.

About the survey

The Priceless Index is a national survey carried out regularly by MasterCard. This national survey of 2,006 Canadians 18 years of age and over was carried out by telephone between April 17 and May 4, 2006 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 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International (NYSE:MA) advances global commerce by providing a critical link among financial institutions and millions of businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. Through the company's roles as a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets secure, convenient and rewarding payment solutions, seamlessly processes more than 16 billion payments each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services that drive business growth for its banking customers and merchants. With more than one billion cards issued through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories, and is a partner to 25,000 of the world's leading financial institutions. With more than 24 million acceptance locations worldwide, no payment card is more widely accepted than MasterCard. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com.

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