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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Ross’s Ramblings: Dollar for dollar, how do we solve a puzzle like the exchange rate?
One U.S dollar equalled $1.29 Canadian Wednesday evening.
One U.S dollar equalled $1.29 Canadian Wednesday evening. Sourced

This economic flimflam has confused me since my university days in the U.S. way back in the 1960s.

“The exchange rate” was then 1.07, with our Canadian dollar stronger that its U.S. counterpart.

Fast-forward to 1994, and “the exchange rate” was 1.64, with the U.S. dollar higher. Now, the rate is about 1.22, with the U.S. greenback stronger. Confused?

Go figger.

Living in a touristy town like Niagara-on-the-Lake, just across “the river” from the U.S. we constantly see little signs on Queen Street shop windows that advise the daily exchange rate.

We don’t go across the border, we go “over the river.” Well, we used to go over the ditch before COVID-19 and it was as easy as changing our socks. For beer and pizza, for cheaper gas, whatever, it was so easy and quick.

Since the ongoing global deadly pandemic (now endemic) started more than 26 months ago, in March 2020, I have only been across the river once, for a Sabres game with pals. I miss them and I’m very thirsty for several Yuenglings.

American visitors to Canada have always been flummoxed by the difference between the Canadian and the U.S. dollars.

Their dollar is an international benchmark and I believe that as long as our dollar is called a dollar, folks from south of the border will never get it. Until we change the name of our currency, the confusion will continue.

Let’s consider a new name. The Northy? The Canucky? The Moosey? The Beaver? Until we take that dramatic step, continued confusion. The franc, the lire, the ruble, the shekel are all different. To almost all Americans, a dollar is just that. A dollar.

Let me ramble back to 1995 when a great pal of mine was over from Lackawanna for a round of golf at St. Davids Golf Course.

He had been to Europe several times. He was a senior marketing executive with Tops Friendly Markets, based in Buffalo. Cross-border shopping was a constant concern to his company, especially for the marketing department.

He asked for a ticket for nine holes and Ginny asked him for $11. He handed her an American 20 dollar bill.

At that day’s exchange rate of 1.64, the good lady behind the counter did a quick calculation and subtracted $11 from $32.80. Then she handed him his green fee pass, AND $21.80 in Canadian banknotes and coins.

Confused, my pal looked to me for help. I replied, “Trust her, it’s a great deal.”

As we waited to tee off, he said, “I don’t get it. She asked me for $11. I gave her a 20. She gave me more back, $21.80. And, a green fee pass.”

I just said, “It’s a heck of a value, eh? And a great little course. Trust her. You’re up. Play well and let’s have a few laughs.

Most of us don’t understand how the exchange rate is set. Too deep, eh? Go with it.

Let’s meet at the Exchange Brewery on Queen Street, right next to the rarely open Apothecary. Right on the best corner in town. Its front door handle is subject to many frustrated pulls every day and people end up peering through the windows.

We’ll quaff a trendy beer or two and try to figger out the U.S.-Canadian exchange rate.

But I ramble …