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Our Impact

GBA 2022 Economic Impact Survey

Why did we do it?

In the course of advocating for access for our US and International members in 2020 and 2021 it became apparent that we could have benefitted significantly from an extra tool in our toolbox, namely demonstrating how important our membership is to the Ontario economy. Having this data at hand will be useful for other future advocacy efforts.

In addition, we have only ever used an estimate of the number of people who now share cottages at six, and the survey was designed to yield a firm number, so that we can provide a much more accurate estimate of how many Georgian Bay residents we reach with our communication channels.

Accordingly, we reached out to you, our members, directly and through your associations to ask for a survey to be completed by all those willing to help us achieve these important objectives: GBA Economic Impact Survey – Feb 2022

How did we do it?

We decided to utilize the services of the Marketing Research and Analysis Program of Algonquin College, a group with significant survey experience, including the recent and highly successful 2021 Safe Quiet Lakes survey.

Every effort was made to ensure privacy. Personal responses were strictly anonymous and will never be shared. Responses will be kept strictly confidential according to industry standards and privacy regulations.

What were the results?

In addition to this report, we drilled down into the results to extract the key statistics that we need to assist ongoing advocacy..


In analyzing the expenditure reported by the 452 respondents it became clear that a few members had reported very large annual expenditures and that these had skewed the results. Therefore, we asked the college to remove these outliers (there were 15 of them) and provide more representative and conservative numbers that we can use with full confidence as support for our advocacy work.

They are as follows:

  • Total expenditures for 437 respondents: $20,951,900
  • Mean – i.e. average expenditure: $47,945
  • Median* – usually used for statistical analysis: $31,000
    (*The number at which 50% of the values lie above and 50 % below)

On total expenditures, if one grosses this up to estimate the total expenditures of all of our 2,802 members as at December 31, 2021, then we get an estimated total expenditure for our membership of: $134 million.

Alternatively, we could use the estimated current number of GBA members of 3,000 to yield estimated total expenditure for our membership of: $144 million.

Taking this one step further, assuming that about 55% of all residents of Georgian Bay belong to one of the GBA associations, the total expenditure of all Georgian Bay residents is approx. $244 million.


For many years now we have been using a multiplier of 6 on our ~ 3,000* families who are members to estimate that we reach around 18,000 people.

*2,802 as at Dec 31, 2021 + Deep Bay membership (unknown) + an increase in membership numbers at one association that we know is in process.

One of the key deliverables from the survey was to get a more accurate picture of just how many people (on average) are sharing each cottage. We know that many cottages are shared by multiple generations – up to 4 – for practical reasons, such as sharing costs or lack of available family cottages.

The calculation of this total comes from page 4 of the report. The total number of people using all the cottages reported in the survey was 5,341**. Divided by the 452 respondents, this yields an average of 11.8 people per cottage.

** Total of Canadians only (3,034) + Americans/Int’l only (2,285) + shared by Canadians and Americans/Int’l (22)

This is a surprisingly high number and we feel that some of the respondents might, for instance, have inadvertently included regular visitors rather than just family in their reported numbers. Accordingly, a more cautious approach might be more expedient, and a multiple of 10-12 going forward, which means that we can now say that we reach around 30-36,000 people.



As above there are alternative ways to interpret the results of the survey and different calculations that we can use for our advocacy work. It is also important to note that our “reach” analysis is also very useful for discussions with current and potential advertisers.

It is important to note that the participation rate, which was over 16%, was viewed and confirmed by Algonquin Collage as sufficiently large to qualify as being valid from a statistical perspectivewhich means that we can rely on the results as being representative, and can use them with confidence.

A great result and many thanks to all who helped us get there!


The survey of Georgian Bay Association members was a survey of the entire membership and therefore it was a census of the members and not a sample survey.  A statement of sampling error, or margin error, therefore is not required for a survey of this type.
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