Bizarre Tourist Questions

A decade ago, I worked at Tourism Victoria, right in the centre of downtown Victoria (this was roughly the view from our information centre). During my time there, I received all sorts of nutty questions.

I’d forgotten this, but I published a list of unusual tourist questions in Geist magazine. While looking for another old file, I stumbled upon my list. Here it is:

1. Where is the Moose Hall in Duncan?
2. With the earthquake in L.A., is it safe for me to visit Victoria?
3. Do you have fireworks on the fourth of July?
4. Do you have a list of all the asparagus farms in Saanich?
5. Are there any dog sled rental places around here?
6. How much do your totem poles grow each year?
7. Does this flag come in any other colours?
8. Where’s the tunnel to Seattle?
9. Upon seeing a clock with Roman numerals in the info centre – are those Canadian
10. I’m calling about this Kill-a-Whale thing. What do you do with them
after you kill them?
11. How far are the Butchart Gardens from Disney Land?
12. Is this toll-free number costing me anything?
13. What is the exact distance between Victoria and the Three-Valley Gap Ranch
in Revelstoke?
14. Is this a live person?
15. Upon being quoted a price in Canadian funds – oh…how many dollars are in
a fund?
16. Where can I find a cricket bat appropriate for a seven year old?
17. Can I get the number for Tourism Istanbul?
18. Where can I find Butchered Gardens? (they mean Butchart Gardens)

Believe it or not, these are all actual questions my colleagues and I received over a couple of summers.


  1. Ok, my experience with Tourism Victoria is even more dated (1990-91, and 1993), but I can speak with experience that these questions are rare, but true.

    The one that Americans never seemed to understand was why their change for purchases in US Dollars was given in Canadian Dollars.

    Try explaining to Ma and Pa South Dakota that Canadians accept US Dollars as a COURTESY only. However, it is not legal to give change back in US Funds.

    Go Darren…and thanks for the nightmares…errr, memories.

  2. I used to *work* at the Butchered Gardens…I heard them all too. Favourites include:

    1) We came to Canada to see what poverty was like. (Apparently, there’s no poverty in the US, and they have very strange vacation ideas.)

    2) Does this work on Americans? (Asked while holding a bottle of Tylenol with the label “#1 for Canadians”.)

    3) Does this work outside of Canada? (Asked while holding a CALENDAR. Perhaps they think we have metric years.)

    4) Is that Wayne Gretzky? (Asked while pointing at the statue of George Vancouver atop the legislature)

    And this conversation:

    Tourist: What is all that beeping at the crosswalks?
    My friend: Oh, that’s a signal for the blind.
    Tourist: You let blind people drive here???

  3. Oooh, I used to work quite near to you, at the Marine Adventure Centre.

    1) Upon looking at a sweatshirt that had UVIC displayed on it.
    Where is the “University In Canada” located? (It’s actually University of Victoria)

    2) When do the buffalos run and can we make reservations?

    3) You speak very good English for a Canadian.

  4. Hi Darren:

    I worked for eight (8) summers at the BC Legislature as a tour guide. Sucker for punishment, or preparation for a life in the theatre? You decide…

    My best question of all time has to be: “Does the Queen have the Harp of David on the royal coat of arms because she is Jewish?”

    (Confidential to Member of the British-Israelis: it’s actually the Harp of Ireland; and as the Head of the Anglican Church, it’s fairly unlikely that she’s a “conversa”. Thanks for asking!)


  5. Hi. Im a tour guide in B.C and i had a couple of or u.s neigbors ask these:

    {1} “can you see polear bears on the streets”.(and thats the guy who was wearing the polar bear sweater in mid summer)

    {2} “are you from .S because you’re not saying eh after every sentence”(and that was the girl who just boght the “Im Canadian eh” t-shrit)

    {3} a guy asked me”is your money based on monoply money”(so i said”what do you think”)

    So After all those i bought a t-shirt that said the the streotips about canada on it.

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