For the first time since November 1976, Canada’s dollar is virtually equal to the greenback.
At about 8 a.m. PDT Thursday, the Canadian dollar rose to equality with the U.S. dollar on world currency markets.
The two currencies stayed within less than a penny of each other for the rest of the day.
And parity is expected to mean more Canadians going south of their border to take advantage of the parity.
Olympic National Park ranger Jon Preston said Canadian visitors usually don’t announce themselves at the park’s Port Angeles visitor center.
But when he asked if there were Canadians among a Thursday morning crowd, numerous hands went up.
One of the Canadian visitors, Vaughan McIntyre from Regina, Saskatchewan, said the stronger currency encouraged him to travel in the United States more often.
“I stayed away a little more when our dollar was at 60 cents,” he said about the time only five years ago when the loonie – the nickname for the Canadian dollar – was at a low point against the U.S. dollar.
“It was a little tough. I came anyway then, but now I visit more.
“Things are ridiculously cheap here by our standards.”
McIntyre said one example of cheaper goods is gasoline, which he often buys in Canada for $1.15 per liter -almost $4.50 a gallon.
“A good bottle of wine up there is $12 to $14,” McIntyre said.
“There’s all kinds of examples of how the cost of living is so much higher.”
McIntyre hasn’t seen more Canadian license plates in the U.S. than he did three years ago, but he has seen far fewer U.S. license plates in Canada.
“Americans aren’t coming north,” he said.
“I also visit Nova Scotia, and a hotel owner there said he doesn’t see any Americans.”
The Canadian dollar rose as high as $1.0008 on Thursday, before retreating to 99.91 U.S. cents at 3:08 p.m. in New York.
It has soared 62 percent from a record low of 61.76 U.S. cents in 2002.