3. Present Situation
The present-day clienteles
In 2003, the total clientele of pleasure boaters and shoreside visitors reached 46,950. Of that number, 17,485 were pleasure boaters and 29,400 were shoreside visitors, figures very similar to counts in the three previous years. Fifty-six percent of visitors frequented the site during the months of July and August. In spite of the large number of clients, the Saint-Ours Canal generally attracts – to various degrees, however – a repeat client base; its current clientele has shown little signs of renewal. However, according to a 1996 study the Saint-Ours Canal has the fewest recurring visitors and the most diverse clientele of all the Quebec canal sites.20
In 2003, 37% of the users of the site were pleasure boaters, a slight increase over previous years. In 2003, the number of boats using the lock (5,475) decreased by 12% over the previous year, but this number is slightly higher than the average number of boats using the lock over the last three years (5,430).
The most recent study of visitors to the site took place in the summer of 2002.21 With regards to the pleasure boaters, the results showed that:
- a great majority of them live in Quebec (96%);
- nearly two-thirds of them use the canal regularly (repeat users);
- only a quarter of pleasure boaters spent more than two hours at the site;
- 30% of the pleasure boaters come to Saint-Ours on day-trips; 25% are on vacation
and their trip consists of spending more than seven nights away from home;
- on the whole, pleasure boaters are very satisfied with the services and facilities offered at the Saint-Ours Canal;
- less than half the pleasure boaters (48%) who pass through Saint-Ours view
the interpretation panels on the site; and only about a quarter of them
visit the exhibition in the superintendent’s house.
The study also looked at shoreside users of the canal. The results for this group were the following:
- a great majority of them live in Quebec (97%);
- about 70% of shoreside users are frequent visitors (who come back regularly);
- 70% of visitors spend at least an hour on the site, 36% spend more than two
- 81% of visitors are on an excursion of less than 24 hours when they come to
the Saint-Ours Canal;
- shoreside visitors state they are very satisfied with services and structures provided;
- three-quarters of shoreside visitors view the interpretation panels distributed around the
site and say they are very satisfied with them; but less then half of the shoreside
visitors take the trouble to visit the exhibition in the superintendent’s
20 "Desjardins Marketing Stratégique, inc. Les Canaux du Québec, Plan d’actions marketing 1996-2000, Stratégie, tactique et mise en oeuvre. Final Report presented to the Marketing and Program Business Service, Parks Canada, 1996, 151 pages, p. 1, 2.
21 Parks Canada, Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site, Visitor Information Program, Rapport-ébauche (plaisanciers) 2002 and Rapport-ébauche (visiteurs des abords) 2002, Québec City, 2003 (Draft reports on pleasure boat and shoreside visitors).