Mary! Wanna Go Camping?

A while ago I saw a tour bus in downtown Toronto. Now, admittedly, that is not an unusual site, but what caught my interest was the name of this particular tour company.

I assume the thinking was somewhat along the lines of, "Well, we’re CANADIAN. We have a BUS. Let’s have a name that reflects that."

Thus, emblazoned on the side of this bus, I read, "CANABUS TOURS." Also written on the bus was the slogan, "Experience Ontario."

Given the name of the company, this slogan, to me, seemed somehow anticlimactic. With a name like Canabus, there is a wealth of untapped marketing potential just waiting to be, well, tapped.

After walking less than a block, I had come up with more than half a dozen promotional aphorisms:

"Take your next trip with us."

"We’re a grassroots organization."

"All of our tour-guides are named Herb."

"Save your tokens."

"A joint venture with Ontario Tourism."

"We weed out the competition and leaf them behind."

"Take the high road."

"Pay the basic price and we’ll spliff the difference."

In the interests of fairness (not to mention the interests of not getting a call from their lawyers) I decided to see what this band of travel facilitators was all about. They have quite an extensive and intriguing website at chock full of fascinating information about who they are and what they offer.

Basically, they offer Ontario, as an experience. Their main deal is single day or overnight trips to either Niagara Falls or around Muskoka, or both. Activities on the tours include fishing, hiking, golfing, water skiing, float plane tours, rock climbing, swimming, wake-boarding, paddle boating, tennis, canoeing and meeting a moose named Zeus at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.

Or, for people like me, there is the option of sitting on your ass, reading a book in the sunshine and breathing really clean air.

All in all, they’re presenting a great package. (I’m not going to get into pricing, but suffice to say, even I could afford it.) It’s all healthy and personally enriching and outdoorsy and has absolutely nothing at all to do with smoking pot.

Now, it’s quite possible that the people who are running Canabus Tours are naïve to some aspects of society and modern culture. Perhaps they simply don’t realise the double meaning in their company name – a double meaning that each and every one of you caught immediately up there at line three. Maybe that’s why they haven’t used any of the slogans I listed above.

Come on. They’re marketing to college students. They know exactly what it means. There must be some other reason.

That’s my two-cents worth, anyway.



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