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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Many Canadians will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday this weekend, and a landmark occasion such as this warrants not only a party, but a reflection. TD Economics has constructed the “Party CPI” to track how the cost of having a good time compares with the evolution of Canadian incomes.

Hosting a party doesn’t come cheap and is likely to cost eight times more than a Centennial party would have in 1967. The good news is, according to TD, that incomes have risen even faster than party costs, meaning it costs the average Canadian a smaller fraction of their income now than it did 50 years ago to throw a party. This is a positive reflection of real income gains over this period.

Meat often takes centre stage at the party but it is meat alternatives that have gained in popularity – chickpeas and lentils – which have exploded in Canadian agriculture in recent years, with Canada a top producer in several categories.

"Areas we think typically associate with cattle – the prairie provinces – have seen a shift into non-meat proteins. The rise of pulses, like lentils and chickpeas has perhaps been a hidden success story," said TD Senior Economist Brian DePratto.

While most parties will likely enjoy some type of beverage, our tastes have shifted here as well. Canadians are drinking less beer and more wine, and as of 2011, roughly one in 15 Canadians belonged to a faith that forbids the consumption of alcohol – a significant increase from as recently as 1991.

The bottom line: what does it cost to host a party? About $130 including applicable taxes for a party of 10 (six adults and four children). The “Party CPI” includes burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, buns, beer wine, juice, ice cream and all the trimmings. The “Party CPI” has risen roughly 835 per cent over the past 50 years and that is 709 per cent increase in the overall CPI.

“There are many reasons to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Though there have been recessionary setbacks, incomes have seen gains that have outstripped inflation,” according to DePratto.

Income of course is only one measure of prosperity. Perhaps a greater cause for celebration is Canada’s quality of life, which continues to rank among the best in the world.

Happy Birthday, Canada!