However, with increasing numbers of Americans choosing to stay home rather than risk terrorist attacks abroad, and with Expo '86 in Vancouver already shaping up as a major tourist draw, Canada clearly would be a logical vacation spot--if only it could somehow transform its image from dull to dazzling.
Enter the combined forces of market research and advertising and a $20 million ($14.4 million U.S.) campaign to jazz up Canada's public persona. Out went the moose and the mountains and in came the nightclubs, Broadway-type theaters, Old World architecture, French cities and sports opportunities.
As the first step in overhauling Canada's image, Tourism Canada hired a Toronto research group to conduct a survey of the U.S. market. What resulted was 9,000 hour-long, in-home interviews that produced the not surprising conclusion that there was a general perception of Canada as clean, safe and dull, with immense stretches of wilderness broken up by cities that closed down at 5 p.m.