New Brunswick

Saint John tour guides deal with some wacky questions

“At what age does a deer become a moose?” is just one of the questions curious visitors to Saint John asked during the 2016 tourist season as a last day of summer surge hit the city on Wednesday.

'What time do you release the whales so we can watch them,' one tourist asks

Saint John tour guides and businesses talk about the funniest questions they've received from cruise ship tourists 1:06

"At what age does a deer become a moose?" is just one of the questions curious visitors to Saint John asked during the 2016 tourist season as a last day of summer surge hit the city on Wednesday.

On a "triple-ship day" on Wednesday, 7,500 passengers aboard the Norwegian Dawn, the Serenade of the Seas and the Carnival Sunshine landed at the Saint John port, carrying cameras, selfie-sticks and turning their heads in every direction trying to figure their way around the city.

Cab driver Raymond Cormier gets a lot of Santa questions from tourists. (Kashmala Fida/CBC)
It's a rush that tests veteran tour guides and greeters in charge of getting them on the right tour bus. And, answering all their questions.

"One of the most unusual questions I have got is where is the switch for Reversing Falls rapids to make the river go the other way," said Karen McLean, a tour-guide for Ambassatours.

"The craziest question I got yesterday was `What time will you release the whales so we can watch them?" said Heather MacKenzie of Freedom Tours.

Reversing Falls, Niagara Falls

It was triple cruise ship day in Saint John. That brought 7,500 tourists to the city and they had some interesting questions for local guides. 0:53
Naturally, the passengers are pretty clear on the fact they're in Canada. But where in Canada is another matter, as evidenced by some Reversing Falls confusion one of Mackenzie's customers encountered.

"She goes, 'I'm meeting my cousin at the falls'. And you automatically go, 'Yeah the falls over there. And she said, 'Yeah, at the revolving restaurant' and I just got this light bulb," she said.

"`At the revolving restaurant? We don't have one.' And she goes 'Yup my cousin is waiting for me at Niagara Falls," she said.

MacKenzie said the disappointed tourist had to make a call to her cousin to cancel their lunch meeting.

Besides tour guides, cab drivers like Raymond Cormier are usually seen around the cruise ships as well, in hopes of driving passengers who would like to strike out on their own.

Santa request and snow questions

For Cormier, who wears a long white beard — the questions can drift to personal in nature.

"My funniest thing was somebody thought I was … what's that group? — Duck Dynasty. They thought I was one of them.

"I do get a lot of Santa Claus requests," he added.

Although due to the morning weather conditions Wednesday, fog was the No. 1 question on every tourist's lips, snow wasn't lagging behind either.

"They ask us where the snow is and I tell them it's the wrong time of the year," said one street vendor.

"We get that all the time. They really truly do believe we still have snow here."