What is “driving distance”?

According to the National Post:

This week, the (Canadian) federal government announced that Parks Canada, the NAC and TSO have reached an agreement to explore the possibility of building the amphitheatre on a stretch of property in Niagara-on-the Lake, Ont.

The ever-present consultant’s report suggested that the best location was Niagara-on-the-Lake because, among other things:

There are already a number of wineries, food producers, hotels, high-end restaurants and theatre (the Shaw Festival) in the region. They also figured there are about 70 million people within driving distance. [emphasis mine]

Now Niagara-on-the-Lake is a pretty place. I grew up about 10 minutes away from it. But it’s about 90 minutes from Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and several hours from the closest major American city. I am not counting Buffalo as a major American city.

So where exactly are these 70 million people? Let’s just call that about one-third of the population of Canada PLUS one-fifth of the population of the US.

Driving distance to me means how far I would drive to go somewhere for the day. Anything beyond a five hour drive doesn’t seem to qualify as driving distance.

Then again, I’m sure they justified the whole project by saying "just imagine if 1% of those 70 million people came".

This study does suggest that the Niagara Region sees millions of overnight visitors annually, but I still think that 70 million is overdoing it a bit.

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