Canadians and their leisure time: Leisure study part 1

Every January, BookNet surveys 750 Canadians from across the country to learn about their free time and book-related habits. We ask respondents how they discover books, where they get their books, what devices and apps they use, and more on digital reading/listening. This year we added more in-depth questions about leisure activities, why people read, and how respondents use the library. 

All respondents answered the questions about leisure time and activities, while the book-related questions were asked of the 78% of respondents who said they had read or listened to at least one book in the past 12 months. 

We're sharing the results in this three-part blog series.

Canadians and their leisure time

When we asked respondents to think about their typical schedule last year and to share their feelings about their amount of leisure time, 45% of respondents said they considered their amount of free time to be enough for them, while 36% felt that they didn't have enough free time. Most respondents (57%) said their amount of leisure time stayed the same as the previous year and a quarter of respondents reported that they had less leisure time.

Money and leisure time

When it comes to money and choosing how to spend their free time, most respondents said they spent about $50 on leisure activities in an average month last year. Almost half (48%) of respondents chose leisure and recreational activities that fit into their available budgets; 20% of Canadians were limited to free activities; 19% had no budgetary restrictions; and 12% of Canadians were limited to subsidized or discounted leisure and recreational activities. 

What leisure activities are Canadians enjoying?

Popular daily leisure activities


We provided respondents with a list of leisure activities and asked how often they did each one: 60% of Canadians said they browsed social media and/or the web daily. Other popular daily leisure activities include watching videos/TV/movies (56%), listening to music (51%), cooking (47%), and spending time with family (40%).

Popular daily book-related activities

Reading print books is the seventh most popular daily leisure activity for Canadians.

Reading print books is the seventh most popular daily activity for Canadians (16%); reading ebooks is the tenth most popular daily activity (7%); and listening to audiobooks is the second least popular daily activity (3%).

Popular weekly leisure activities

Popular leisure activities done weekly were shopping (35%), dining out (26%), and exercising/working out (20%). Respondents were more likely to read weekly than daily, with 43% of respondents reading print books, 25% reading ebooks, and 15% listening to audiobooks on a weekly basis.

For more from our annual survey see how Canadians discover and obtain their books in part two and stats about their reading habits in part three.