Braces in Newfoundland, liposuction in Alberta, and sod in Ontario. What do those things have in common? Their costs are the most commonly searched for, according to Google autocomplete.
Inspired by this map of the United States, which used autocomplete to find the most commonly searched-for cost associated with each state, I decided to do the same thing for Canada with some surprising and some sad results.
The process was simple: I searched for “how much does * cost in” for each province, territory and major city.
Here’s what I found.
There are some interesting results. Searches related to Quebec live up to some stereotypes, with questions about college and beer. Ontario on the other hand is particularly curious about the cost of sod.
For B.C., weed makes the list.
While cosmetic surgery – particularly botox and liposuction – appear to be popular across the country, Edmonton is more interested in tummy tucks than Calgary where breast augmentation makes the top four.
It’s not all fun and games, though. For Nunavut, food, milk, water and bread are the top results, likely a product out-of-control food prices in the territory, where a single jug of milk can cost over $20.
For New Brunswick, where abortions are difficult to access outside of a single private clinic, the cost of that procedure is the top suggestion on autocomplete.
But a simple shift in the wording can lead to some different results.
Here’s what happened with a search for “How much does it cost to * in” each province.
The results suggest that the maritimes might be the most romantic region. For New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, “how much does it cost to get married” made the suggestions, with no mention of divorce.
In B.C., divorce was number one – with no mention of getting married. In Alberta, Ontario and Quebec both divorce and marriage made the list but divorce was ahead of getting married.
Manitoba was a bit of an outlier: name changes and moving houses both made the list there but nowhere else.
Once again, the high cost of food in Nunavut defined the results related to that territory.
Death was seems to be on people’s minds in Newfoundland, with the cost of cremation making the list, while in B.C., the cost of a will ranked highly.
And in P.E.I., one of the most common searches was for how much it costs to leave.
Now, of course, this isn’t a scientific survey. I cleared my browser’s cache and cookies and did the searches in an incognito window, in an effort to be as accurate as possible, but a lot of other factors could have shaped the results.
Also, the results for each province and territory aren’t necessarily reflective of searches from there – the results for food prices and Nunavut could just as easily be caused by people in other places who are curious about what they’ve heard about high food costs in the territory.