What We're Missing: Canadians Overlook Inspiration in their Own Cities

American Express Canada research reveals Canadian hotspots for inspiration

MARKHAM, ON, July 9, 2014 /CNW/ - When it comes to finding inspiration for our passions and interests, 98 per cent of Canadians agree that exploring our own cities or home towns is a great place to start. And while nearly 80 per cent believe they would be happier if they were able to get a daily dose of inspiration, the vast majority (76%) admit they've only explored half of their cities - or less. This research comes from a global study commissioned by American Express, which surveyed people in Canada, Australia, Mexico and the U.K., to discover their sources of inspiration.

From all corners of the country, Canadians agree that unexpected and surprising places - like tucked away courtyard gardens— tend to spark inspiration more than traditional tourist landmarks (44% versus 15%). And over a quarter (27%) state they have their own personal havens they like to go to for inspiration; in Vancouver, that number jumps to 33 per cent.

"At American Express we want everyone to untap the potential of the places they live and enrich their lives by doing what they love," says David Barnes, Vice President, Advertising and Communications, American Express Canada. "We recognize that this isn't achieved just through transactional experiences - there are wide ranges of ways in which this can be done."

According to the research, more than half of those surveyed (53%) admit that they have become stuck in their comfort zones, with 42 per cent saying they are generally too busy to actively explore, so they stay in their local areas and just visit the same places. Part of the reason for being stuck in these comfort zones hinges on what we do while we're travelling around our cities. More than a third (35%) take the same route to work every day, more than a quarter (27%) use their smart device to play games, use apps or check email, and another 35 per cent block out the sounds of the city by wearing headphones or listening to music.

To help motivate Canadians to seek out their own desired city spots, American Express Canada is working with bloggers and residents of Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto to encourage them to uncover the true potential of their cities. Beginning on July 9, 2014 American Express will call out to Canadians through their Facebook and Twitter channels along with help from select bloggers in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto, asking them to reveal the hidden gems in their cities where they go to feel inspired.  Once collected, specially crafted maps showcasing the different points of inspiration will be released to help other city residents make new discoveries: from finding the perfect spot to read by Toronto's Grenadier Pond to exploring Vancouver's Gas Town for fashion inspiration to listening to Stephen Avenue's buskers in Calgary.

"We spend our days talking about what's happening in Toronto, and yet we're constantly surprised and inspired by new and interesting spots in the city," says Bryan Brock, 1 LOVE TO. "We're happy to work with American Express to encourage Canadians to dig into what their cities have to offer and embrace the idea of being inspired."

About the Research
The American Express InspiredBy Research was conducted by Censuswide in March 2014 across four countries - UK, Canada, Mexico and Australia. A total of 8,000 participants took part in the research from the UK, Canada, Mexico and Australia. A representative sample of 2,000 or more people was taken in each country, aged from 18 to 60 and with a 50/50 gender split.

About American Express in Canada  

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit AmericanExpress.ca or connect with us at Facebook.com/AmericanExpressCanada.

SOURCE: American Express

For further information:

Kelsey Strickland
On behalf of American Express Canada

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