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Stupid Tourist Questions Contest

If you have ever worked in tourism anywhere near Niagara Falls Ontario, you have heard your fair share of stupid questions. The most common ones are “What time does the falls shut off?”, “Are we in Canada yet?” & “How far into Canada do I have to go before we have to drive on the other side of the road?” There are hundreds of stories out there, involving tourists, and I would like to compile a list of them.

1. Submit your story/question below.
2. Use your real email address.
3. Must be or have been a resident of the Niagara Region of Ontario or New York State.
4. If you win, we will contact you by email to get your full name and address.
5. Contest closes on April 29, 2008 at 11:59 pm.
6. The best story wins a $50 gift card to your favourite chain store or restaurant in Niagara.

Good Luck

UPDATE: The voting has begun.


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50 Responses
  1. Lisa Smith says:

    I may not qualify for this contest as I no longer live in the Niagara Region but just had to share this one. Working in reservations one common question was what was required to enter into Canada from the US. I would respond that a valid drivers liscence and birth certificate were required as long as their was no prior criminal record. One lady responded that she did not have a problem with a criminal record but with her birth certificate. She then proceed to inform me that she was born a male and was now a female. I politly provided her with the number for the border as I could not respond to this.

  2. Dennis says:

    I have had so many funny ones while working in tourism. I can’t win, so I will wait and see if anyone else gets the same ones that I did.

  3. Mike says:

    I had an old American lady approach me on the Casino floor ( that’s where I work) and ask me what floor she was on. It just so happened that the level 2 sign was right behind my head on the wall. So I politely turned and pointed at the sign and said ” well, I believe your on the second floor.” Her response was, “Oh, sorry, I can’t read Canadian!”

    Need I say more……..

  4. Julie Steward says:

    I was serving at a restaurant and was stoked that it was almost 10pm and all my side duties were done and there were no tables. Then, at 9:59 a table of 4 came in. I was a bit angry because I had people waiting for me at the bar and was 1 minute away from getting off. Anyway, the table took FOREVER to decide on what they wanted to eat and repeatedly asked me about the specials.
    Finally, they began talking about the Falls and one woman asked me what time they turn off the water at the Falls. I said “what time is it now” and she replies “it’s 10:15pm”. So, I told her that the Falls shut off every night at 10pm and “so sorry, you missed it”. The looks on their faces was priceless. They were so upset that they missed it….however, had they looked out the window, they would’ve seen the water flowing!!

  5. Barb says:

    Everyday I think I have heard the best one and then sure enough someone always tops it. I think the best one that I have heard so far is “What do you do with the snow when it melts?”

  6. Michelle Deavu says:

    I was in Niagara Falls once on one of those touring buses……….and these 3 young tourists ask me “This where the Floral Clock is at”……..I mean how could ya miss it?? The thing is BIG ENOUGH to view……..dumb dumb dumb. And I don’t even work in the tourism industry lol.

    Born and Raised St.Catharines girl here. :-)

  7. sherree church says:

    I once got asked i the middle of july how far they would have to go so they could go skiing. another time some one asked me for diretions to the north pole they were told by family member that once you got to canada it was only like 6 hours drive to get there and they wanted to see poler bears. I believe they were from texas.

  8. Dennis says:

    I had a similar conversation once in the middle of August. These tourist had just crossed the border and had their winter jackets and hats on when they got out of the car. They even had ski’s on the roof of the car and I had a good laugh.

  9. Heather says:

    I work in a hotel that has fireplaces in the rooms. I always get asked if they need to bring wood with them or if it is provided. Ya we are going to make you lug wood up to the 15th floor. Fireplaces are electric and/or gas.

  10. Cindy says:

    I worked in a souvenir shop on Clifton Hill. I was telling a customer that it was the Canadian Thanksgiving Long Weekend. They were puzzled, and thought about it for a moment and then asked me if we celebrated Christmas at the same time Americans did…….Duh lol

  11. Cindy says:

    I worked in a foreign exchange booth on the Queenston-Lewiston bridge and got plenty of dumb questions lol

    One American asked me how much did it cost to get into Canada and were children a different price.

    Another American was exchanging Canadian for US dollars. I gave them back an American $1.00 coin, he handed it back to me and said no I don’t want Canadian I want American money. I said that is American, it is your American dollar coin. They never knew they had one, had never seen one before.

    Lots of times they would come into the booth asking directions to some street somewhere in Ontario, like we know how to get to everywhere. Have they not heard of Mapquest before leaving home lol

    Have you ever had an American ask you if you know so and so from some Canadian City, I’m not sure if they think everyone knows everyone in Canada or what…..

    I have so many stories after so many years in tourisim…I’ll think of some more and come back and post lol

    Have you ever watched the Rick Mercier special on Americans………I love that one, brings back lots of memories

  12. Cindy says:

    Just thought of another one
    How much does it cost to view the falls?

  13. Geoff says:

    I am not in the Tourism industry, but where I work is on the lakefront in Vineland. We eat lunch outside the shop and often have lost tourists stop to ask for directions. Our most common question is “what ocean is this?” (referring to Lake Ontario)or with the Toronto skyline in the distance, “Is that Canada over there?”, “how do we get there?”. We have been asked “how much further until we see snow?”, usually in July, but the best yet has got to be a couple from Texas who asked if any “foreigners” sneak ashore at night on this unguarded beach.

  14. Lindsay Victoria says:

    My friends and I were going up elevator 2 at the Skylon, when a tourist asked us where the nicest hotel to stay was. We answered with: “Well sir, they’re all pretty nice.”
    Then he said: “Well, I want to have a good view of the Falls.”
    Then as we were getting off the elevator he said:
    “One more thing, ladies. Could you tell me where the Skylon Tower is?”

  15. Lindsay says:

    Some of the children from my church went to Oswego, New York for a three-day music workshop. We were the only group from Canada, so we made a bunch of American friends. We exchanged MSNs the day we left.
    When I got home, I added all of the MSNs that I had recieved from everyone else. One of the people who was on the second that I added them was a girl named Lindsey.
    We said hi, and got started into a conversation.
    Then she said-and I almost fell out of my chair laughing:
    “Have you and your friends ever gone over the Falls for fun?”

    Then it happened again a few weeks ago. I was talking in a joint conversation with some people that my friend knew from a vacation to the States and they asked us:
    “Have you guys ever gone over the waterfall? When is it open for jumps over?”

  16. Julie-Anne says:

    While working in tourism last year, i was waiting at the light at the Niagara Falls parkway, when an adorable little girl with an accent asked me:
    “I saw the colored falls last night, do you know where I can go taste the cotton candy falls.?”

    I was so impressed by her imagination that I smiled and told her: “I am not sure about that, but when you and your parents get to the tourist booth, maybe you could ask them and they might find it for you.

    And you know what, had I been her age and full of awe, I probably would have thought of something as funny as that being that I am a big fan of everything made of candy.

    So, has anyone seen the cotton candy falls last night ?!

  17. andy says:

    i worked at the gulf station at bridge and victoria in the early 80’s and always was asked if we took canadian moneybut the best one was if i leave here now can i eat breakfast in toronto then lunch in montreal and the dinner in vancouver well i said yes yes and gave them directions to the airport

  18. Natalie says:

    2 years ago I went to California with my family. I was down by Hermosa Beach sitting outside an outdoor restaurant patio when a few people came up to my mom and I and asked where we were from and we said Ontario,Canada. Of course they started asking stupid questions like: “is there malls in Canada?” and “do you have running water and working toilets?” I was like oh wow… Then on the way to California we stopped off at a hotel in Kansas and met into this one family who were from New York somewhere and they asked where we were from and we said Ontario,Canada like right near the border…then they told us that they had never heard of Ontario and asked “wheres that?” and we were like, right next door to you!! How can you live in New York and not know where Ontario is and what amazed me was the fact that they had never heard of Ontario!

  19. Natalie says:

    and I know this contest is way over I just felt like throwing that in there…

  20. Druid says:

    I live in St. Catharines and I loved going to the falls with my brother to “tease the tourists”. We would sit by the falls and tell people, usually, Pakistani or Japanese families that sit in large groups on the grass that there is Moose up on the tip of the wooded hill. We’d point to the golf course that was behind the wooded area around Clifton hill. They all packed up and started their journey!! HAH! (and they think they’re educated?)

  21. Jennifer says:

    I used to work as a tour guide in the Niagara Region. When the tourists would ask me what time they turned the falls off I would reply:

    The same time we roll up the streets and put away the trees.

    Now one thing that has me ticked off is that all of the coke machines along the Niagara Parkway (on the Canadian side), on Parks Commission property, take US dollars and coins ONLY. What kind of malarky is that?

  22. Rhiannon says:

    What is it about the Skylon tower?
    I’ve seen so many stories about people asking where the Skylon tower is while riding up the elevator… :P

  23. Dennis says:

    A lot of people think the Skylon Tower is the CN tower. And sometimes they tell their kids to look across the falls to see Buffalo.

  24. stokerbc says:

    in Whistler, I dealt with alot of dumb questions such as “What time is it at the top of the mountain?” and “What do you do with the moguls in summertime?” but my favorite was the woman from Texas asking why we didn’t take travelers checks in British pounds considering we were in British Columbia,. My answer to her was asking if she had ever been to New Mexico, and she said yes so I asked if she used pesos there.

  25. Tina says:

    Conduct this contest more often :)

  26. Joe says:

    I read all of the posts and they brought a great smile to my face. I just had to add my favourite stupid tourist experience to the list. Way back when, I used to work at the ESSO station on Ontario street (The original ESSO not the one which is there now which was a Texaco station back then) Well a family truckster pulled in and gassed up so while Mom and the 3 little darlings used the facilities Dad and I talked. The were from the southern states and were doing a driving tour of Canada. Dad asked me how far they had to drive before they would see the igloos? Well not wanting to miss a chance to play with the minds of stupid tourists I replied not far at all…

    Follow the QEW until it becomes the Gardiner Expressway, then make sure you get off onto Lakeshore blvd you cant miss the igloo it will be on your right hand side..

    I of course had given them directions to Ontario Place. (No Skydome back then) I still wonder to this day if they actually made the drive and thought it was an actual igloo when they got there.

  27. John says:

    To meny, every day in the summer for the last five years. I always thought that I was a good person but I have become very upset at people, with much less sympathy. I think it is because they have destriod my reality, and replaced with an understanding the this world has no chance of survival. Remember the people on vacation are the ones with the money, who have good jobs, the decision makers. The reason why the world is in this recession.

    Common questions asked on a regular basis. This is while they are standing at the maid of the mist.

    #1 how do you get to the falls?
    #2 where is the washroom? with the sign right there. and after explaining to them they walk away in the wrong direction looking into the sky
    #3 how do I get to the falls?
    #4 were is the journey behind the falls?
    #5 were is the falls?
    #6 do you get wet when the boat goes behind the falls?
    #7 when do they turn off the falls?
    #8 when they dye the water is it bad for the fish?
    #9 trying to barter for the murchandise.
    #10 can I watch there kids for a minute?
    Remember these sre only the ones that are asked often
    God help us all

  28. Niagara Falls is my hometown and my favourit tourist question was “what time do the Falls close?” Good thread.

  29. Cam Skelton says:

    guy asked me if he could swim in the whirlpool, who made the falls and when was it made, is this Canada? many more just have to think

  30. Elizabeth says:


    I know the contest is closed, but I just wrote out some experiences from working on Clifton Hill in the 70s. (That’s NINETEEN seventies, for those under 21).

    Here’s a link to “Tourists say the darndest things”:

  31. Niagara Blog says:

    We are in contact with sponsors and will definitely have another contest soon. Stay tuned!

  32. Tamara says:

    one summer working cash in the restaurant in marineland, i am constantly asked where the bathrooms are, to which i respond the same everyday straight out those doors right beside the whale shop (the said doors a big doors the take up the whole wall right beside me and the whale shop is a minute walk from there clearly marked) well one i was asked this question to which i answred the same everyday. the lady then asked me where? i repeated the same sentence pointing out the large doors to the large building practically in front of us. she looked at me and said i’m sorry but i don’t know my way around the park its my first time here.

  33. kim says:

    Can’t anyone spell or use proper grammer anymore?

  34. kim says:

    Yes, I know I spelled grammar wrong! Did you catch it?

  35. Ian says:

    I know the contest is over and done however i have a great story.

    I had just settled into my new apartment here, and met some of the neighbors who i have to say were quite nice though so misinformed about my country of origin. After some present conversation, one individual asked me, what language do you speak in England?

    No seriously i was asked that question.

  36. Amber Smeal says:

    When I was living in Florida, I had a customer on the phone and she asked me where I was from; I told her Niagara Falls. Her response to me was “I didn’t know people actually lived there”

  37. S Knowles says:

    Once on a road trip in the north central states in the 1970s, my father was dutifully checking his mileage by computing the conversion of the US gas gallons purchased to litres at a gas station in a small town. The young attendant asked what he was doing. Once he had explained, the attendant replied, “But you have imperial litres in Canada, don’t you?” I guess the whole idea of the metric system touted as a universal system of measure had missed him!

  38. Mikey says:

    Wow….I thought I was the only one to meet Americans with snow skis on their SUV in summer (I used to park cars at the old Pilgrim inn); so, I guess I’ll have to go with my other dumb question story: One day after I was done my shift, I took a walk in Victoria park, and a tourist in a truck asked me “Where’s the trees?” (Now remember, we were in Victoria park) so, kind of confused, I pointed at the trees in the park…then he repeated himself, obviously frustrated with my answer, and, confused, I asked him what he meant…
    He answered that he was looking for the deep Canadian forests, full of bears and moose to hunt…I answered him that he was 500 miles too far south and 150 years too late! :D (True story, I kid you not!!!) ps. He gave me a really nasty look when he left!

  39. Brodi says:

    I know that this contest is over but i though i’d throw this in there.
    Last year me and my classmates went on a trip to Minniapolis, and, of couse we went to a Twins game. Now me and a boy in my class had both gotten our face painted with the Maple Leaf in honour of our g reat nation. After the game we went to get a bite to eat and the guy i was with said thank you. The waiter noticed tghe paint on our faces and said ” U guys Canadian? That’s awsome! Hey, could you guys say thak you in Canadian?” We were a bit confused until he said “I think it’s, like, mercy or something.” Haha we laughed and said” You mean Merci! and dude, Canadian is not a language!”

  40. Brodi says:

    Oh and another onwe is when we were leaving the game a drunk americian wearing a Twins shirt came up to us and said “Why don’t you guys go back to your igloos, EH haha Canadians suck t everything!” To which I replied to the idiot ” Uh, isn’t the Twins best player Canadian?” That shut him up!

  41. @ KIM: says:

    You’re such an idiot! People like you make me laugh out loud…

  42. lana says:

    ha im canadian too! Everyone in the states ask me what the houses look like here so i just tell them ” We all live in the tree tops of maple trees so we can scout polar bears below us, and can tell when it’s gunna snow because we’re so high up. And we do this all while drinking Maple syrup beeer while watching Hockey”!:D Some people r soooo stupid. Can you say

  43. Brian says:

    I work at a hotel on falls avenue and one day last year i was on the elevator with this blond women who was talking away on her cell phone and just as i was about to step out she said to me – Excuse me does this elevator go down after it goes up . I should have told her no it does not!

  44. Brian says:

    I was at dairy queen last year eating an ice cream cone outside at stanley and ferry and i heard this guy say to this girl he was with watch this . He comes up to me and says excuse me can you tell me where dairy queen is . I should have said congradulations you just won the stupidest tourist question of the year.

  45. Brian says:

    When i worked at the casino i was cleaning a washroom upstairs when i had a customer come up to me and say – How do i get outta here ? I replyed the same way you came in .
    Need i say more !

  46. Dave says:

    I work in one of the hotels in the tourist area here in niagara falls. Last year as i was on the elevator in our hotel i was asked by a customer that was talking away on her cell phone and as usual not paying attention. Before i got off on my floor she says to me : Excuse me does this elevator go down after it goes up .
    Need i say more.

  47. Dave says:

    I use to work at the old casino here in niagara falls. I was going around on the gamming floor getting gum off the carpet when a customer came up and asked what i was doing . I said drilling for oil . They said reallyand i said yes really .
    I walked away laughing.

  48. Drenda says:

    Along the same lines….I work in the transportation industry. Every time I get visitors to Canada, I can’t help but tell them Banff is pronounced BAN-FA-FA. And no matter what season it is, I always tell them they JUST MISSED the big freeze, polar bears etc!

  49. Debbie says:

    I was once asked if we had coke in Canada. I told him that yes, we did, ever since Santa Clause started drinking it and using it in his ad campaign…

  50. Weta says:

    Last summer I worked as a tour guide assistant on the grounds outside of Parliament in Ottawa, and I have received my fair share of stupid questions from tourists that make me weep for humanity. The most common one from American’s is “What happened to all the snow?”, Yeah, and it’s the middle of July. I usually give an informative answer but sometimes I like to be smug with them. I once told someone that “all the pollution from the US melted it”, and the reply from the person was “what a shame”. A few others I get are; “does the “president” of Canada live in parliament?”, “are Canadians communists?”, “can you walk to Vancouver?”, “does the Queen live here?”, “is there also a White House?”, or the very common one: “Can you use this funny money here?” *While waving Canadian currency in my face*. My question to them is “have you ever been through school?”.

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