Foot traffic steadily rising across Canadian cities, new data shows

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — As Canada moves out of the COVID-19 pandemic era, new data from commercial real estate firm Avison Young shows a steady increase in foot traffic across the country, as more people return to the office, shop in-store, head back to class, and venture out for events.

The latest data comes from the firm’s refreshed Vitality Index, which tracks weekly foot traffic in North America across industries such as the office sector, retail, hospitality and tourism, food services, and colleges and universities.

Data for the week of Sept. 19 shows Edmonton and Calgary have outperformed all other North American cities since the week preceding the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

Edmonton foot traffic is up 51 per cent, Calgary increased by 23 per cent, Ottawa is up 20 per cent and Montreal rose by 11 per cent.

According to the Vitality Index, education and retail properties reported some of the strongest foot traffic increases across the country when isolating these time periods. 

Since Ontario lifted pandemic restrictions in May, Ottawa foot traffic is up 105 per cent as of the week of Sept. 19, making it the best-performing Canadian city when isolating these time periods, while Toronto is up 80 per cent.

Since this past Labour Day weekend, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary have been the most active, up 13.6 per cent, 13.4 per cent and 13.2 per cent respectively, as of the week of Sept. 19.

Avison Young CEO Mark Rose says this is a moment in time where culture is driving foot traffic patterns, as foot traffic has shown to be highest on weekends for leisure activities, such as shopping, sporting events and concerts, yet lower on weekdays, which correlates with office work and the hybrid work model many companies have adopted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct.6, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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