Quebecers in Maine: happy reunions… but expensive

We quickly recognize the vehicle from Radio Canada. Pierre Roger challenges us from the balcony. He and his wife Charlotte are both retired and from Quebec. You booked your room for two weeks in November. They were in a hurry: : \”On réserve. Si ça marche pas on annulera!\””,”text”:”Quand on a vu que les douanes rouvraient, on a dit: \”On réserve. Si ça marche pas on annulera!\””}}”>When we saw that customs were opening again, we said: “We’ll book. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll cancel!”

Pierre and Charlotte Roger are delighted to be back in Old Orchard Beach.

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

So here they are again today, looking at the sea from the balcony of their bedroom. In mid-June, the water is cold: 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). No big deal, they’re not great swimmers.

It’s pure luck to find what we expected: relaxation, the sound of the waves when we go to bed at night, the view… »

A quote from Charlotte Rogers

Pierre talks about his childhood moments spent here: Pizza, fries, walk along the Main. Charlotte would also have a lot to say: I have many, many memories with children, grandchildren, childhood memories. From a young age, yes! We won’t say that!

Quebecers are part of the summer life ofOld orchard for decades. Everywhere Canadian flags rub next to American flags. We come across a motel called Mont-Royal, a few French words here and there. A large drawing of poutine at the snack bar. Old Orchard Beachwith its beachfront rides, is considered a destination by many Ketain out Maine. But the city gets better every year‘ said Peter. And there is the sea…

Foot bridge beach in Ogunquit, Maine

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

An expected return

In the past two years, many new American tourists have come to Old Orchard. When they didn’t go abroad, they discovered the Maine. A good thing for the local tourism industry, still bored of Quebecers.

Several companies make 60% of their business thanks to French Canadians. They are overjoyed that the borders are open again. »

A quote from Kim Howard, Director of the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce
Quebecers in Maine: happy reunions… but expensive

The wharf at Old Orchard Beach.

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

Canadian visitors in Maine

  • 2019:
    2.3 million visitors
    $1.3 billion spent
  • 2020:
    362,000 visitors
    $213 million spent
  • 2021:
    63,600 visitors
    $32 million spent

The Motel Kebek 3 in Old Orchard Beach is very popular with Quebec vacationers.

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

expensive vacation

Pierre and Charlotte Roger pay CA$200 per night for their room. About twenty dollars more than before, but it’s still reasonable. Until Saint-Jean-Baptiste we are still in the low season. The ones who will visit Maine in July or August will take the plunge. A look at an online booking platform confirms it: even in so-called affordable motels budget friendlya family of four looking to spend the weekend of July 16th in Ogunquit, for example, can pay a minimum of CA$330 per night before tax. And that if there is still a room available. The demand for Maine is strong.

The increasing demand is so great that many have withdrawn from online reservation sites. Call the hotels directlysuggests Ramsay Lafayette, who runs three beach hotels in New York Ogunquit. He admits his prices have gone up: $US au plus fort de la saison, alors que l’an dernier c’était autour de 289-300$ la nuit.”,”text”:”Ici au Norseman, une nuit coûtera environ 350$US au plus fort de la saison, alors que l’an dernier c’était autour de 289-300$ la nuit.”}}”>Here at Norseman, it’s about $350 a night in high season, compared to about $289-$300 a night last year.

Scott Vogel, Crew Ogunquit restaurant owner

Photo: Radio Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

Restaurants also increased their prices. It must be said that inflation in the United States has just reached 8.6%, a 40-year record. Scott Vogel, owner of two restaurants in the center ofOgunquit, estimates that its menus will cost an average of 10 to 15% more this summer. Of course, you also need to calculate the exchange rate.

It’s not like we want to make up for the losses we’ve had over the last two years. We just don’t have a choice with what it costs now. Dairy products, meat, seafood… prices have skyrocketedexplains Scott Vogel, owner of the Crew Ogunquit and from The porch.

Of course, in this context, lobster becomes a great luxury. Up to $59 a pound at a good restaurant, a Quebecer told us. As for gasoline, it is also reaching record prices in the United States. Small consolation: It remains significantly cheaper for Canadians than domestically (currently around $1.74 CA).

This price hike will certainly give many summer travelers pause for thought. But among those we met, everyone smiled. They had regained their shores, and that was the important thing.

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