3 Unexpected Imports to Celebrate on Canada Day

Happy Canada Day to our northern neighbors and a hearty thank you from all of us who enjoy Trivial Pursuit, McIntosh apples, and odometers (we’re particularly grateful for that one).

Canada Day, or Fête du Canada for the Québécois and Francophiles among us, is a federal holiday to celebrate the anniversary of the Constitution Act, 1867. The Constitution Act united the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single dominion within the British Empire. These colonies became known as “Canada”.

Fast forward to 2020 and Canada is not only appreciated for its natural beauty, bustling cities, and preservation of Indigenous art, but also for its critical role in North American trade economies. In 2018, trade in services between the U.S. and Canada totaled $99.9 billion according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The bulk of that business came from mineral fuels, vehicles, machinery, and plastics.  However, the Great White North also exports a few unexpected items to its southern neighbor:


1. International cultural services


Cultural spaces like museums, art galleries, and heritage sites help us connect to our rich and varied backgrounds. If you think of your favorite cultural space, it probably feels quite “local,” like it’s deeply connected to its location.

So, it may be surprising that planning, designing, and executing the vision for cultural spaces doesn’t begin and end within a 3-mile radius of the physical building. In fact, international expertise may play a role!

Canada’s tourism industry is wildly successful, and some of this success comes from its business expertise in cultural appreciation and amplification – expertise it now exports to countries like the U.S. One example is the company Lord Cultural Resources. This Toronto-based organization has eight offices around the world and has helped 57 countries, including the U.S., develop their cultural spaces.

In a piece for Export Development Canada (EDC), President and Co-founder Gail Lord wrote a bit about why Canada has seen growth in cultural consulting. “A factor that contributes to our success worldwide is that we respect all of our clients, their cultures and their values. We work around their needs because it’s about them—not us.”

Huh. Kind of sounds like how we feel about cross-border shipping.


2. Craft beer


Remember that time when beer was either “domestic”, or “imported” and it didn’t really taste any different? Yeah, that was terrible. Thanks to the IPA Renaissance (it’s not called that, don’t quote us), there’s now a wide array of choices for beer lovers. Whether it’s a name brand, a local batch, or that ill-advised concoction your uncle made with his home brewing kit.

Canada isn’t the biggest player in the craft beer export business. The U.S. only imports $153 million a year. But that could be changing. Flying Monkeys, a popular Ontario-based brewery, sells seasonal beers, IPAs, and milk stouts in seven U.S. states. They’re seeing a 200% year over year growth and attribute their success to inventive tastes, eye-catching marketing, and more targeted business in the Great Lakes region. They’re optimistic that this growth will hold in years to come.

Ontario Craft Brewers consultant Drew Knox feels similarly and said in a piece for Beverage Dynamics, “U.S. beer consumers are very venturesome. If we continue to keep producing high-quality products, we’ll do well.”

We promise this isn’t a sponsored post, but Drew…we’re available if you need testers.


3. Aerospace products


In the world of avionics, Boeing dominates the U.S. market for commercial jet airliners. Canada, however, has long captured the niche market for smaller regional jet airliners and executive jets. It’s also home to Pratt and Whitney, Bombardier, and CAE- three big names in aerospace R&D. These companies are leaders in space technologies including satellite communications, robotics, and remote sensing. Canada exports roughly 80% of its aerospace production and 56% goes to the United States.

Like so many industries today, aerospace remains murky due to the impact of COVID-19 on consumer spending and government budgets. But, the infrastructure and expertise remain so it’s safe to assume the U.S. will continue to partner with Canada on going airborne.


The not so unexpected


We’re going to be honest. None of these imports are really “unexpected” at all. We exchange just about every commodity with Canada. From oil to Justin Bieber, so many of the things we consume are courtesy of Canada. And now with the USMCA (also known as NAFTA 2.0) going into effect today, that trade only promises to increase.

So, Happy Canada Day! Let’s all raise a cold Canadian IPA to our northern neighbors.