Preamble: Although this isn’t directly about Rotary it is a rare glimpse of what life and the cost of living was 54 years ago. As I was sorting though stuff in preparation for my move into “town” I found a booklet which we created as a guide, plan, record and diary of our first trip across Canada.
The year was 1966. My sister was living in Vancouver and getting married. Having been married the summer before we decided we would camp our way across the country. It was the first time I would visit Dryden.
We camped at Aaron Provincial Park.  The day was July 20th and the camp fee was $1.50. By comparison the regular fee for camping with no-electrical in 2020 is $47.46. I certainly never dreamed that one day I would live for 27 years under two kilometres from that park’s Southern border.
In 1966, we left Toronto on July 18th and returned to our apartment on August 19th, one month or 32 days later. So, if the camping fee was $1.50 how much did the trip cost and what did some common items set-you-back?
On the first day we had lunch in Sudbury where we went to a small diner, the kind with a counter, where you sat on stools and could watch the cook in what they called an “open kitchen”. We saw two beautiful thick obviously home made raw beef patties hit the grill and waited in hungry anticipation, a mood which soon turned to horror as we watched him repeatedly squish the juices and goodness out of the meat until be had rock hard patties served to us. I do not recall if we had fries and a drink but the meal cost for two was $1.58. Suzanne’s notes describe it in one word, “terrible”.
In Thunder Bay, then Fort William and Port Arthur, I picked up a pair of boots at the Army & Navy Store on Memorial at Miles St. The cost ?$13.60. Little did I know that in October 1977, I would wear those boots into disuse building a house in that city where I worked for a decade.
That same day we arrived in Dryden, we shopped for groceries at Economy, a store located where today’s Golden Mile Plaza is. What we got I do not know but we loaded up for only $2.49. Other grocery days resulted in costs of $.58, $1.50, $5.69, $.57 and $3.38.
Post cards cost either 5 or 10 cents. Pop 15 cents a bottle. An ice cream bar 20 cents. Film was expensive at $4.70 and $7.15. Add to that the cost of processing, is it any wonder that we took pictures with a great deal of caution in those days.
During the wedding in Vancouver North we stayed at a motel; the cost for three nights was $34.50.
Some tourist events were by comparison fairly costly. The ferry rides from Tsawwassin to Swartz Bay and Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay together were $10.00. Today that cost is $57.50 each way or $115.00. It is interesting to note that that is only 11.5 times more expensive than in 1966. By comparison a bottle of pop is 14.5 times more expensive today than in 1966. (average cost last month $2.17). The cost for Butchart Garden was $1.50, while the Anne Hathaway cottage was $1.75. The latter is no longer operating while Butchart is still in full bloom at $34.80 per adult which is over a 23 fold increase.
In summary, during the 31 days we covered 7,339 miles (11,742 km) and spent $418.20 or about $13.50 per day.
Camping fees
Restaurant - $52.36
Groceries – $35.60
Car Repairs