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Old 05-31-2016, 02:42 PM   #71
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Why bother with Canadian customs, just drive over. Canada on the right side of the medium.

https://www.google.com/maps/@49.0023...7i13312!8i6656
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:59 PM   #72
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We live close to the border and cross it a lot, mostly via our small local border crossing.

I think sometimes there is a red-flag response, like having no fixed address.

Sometimes the reasons for a lengthy process have nothing to do with you, like one of the officers is being trained, under the supervision of the other officer. (We definitely had this happen to us once: young minority officer, senior Anglo officer watching the process.) Periodically we seem to get a local horticultural alert, where the agents want to inspect the contents of our fridge and cupboards.

Our local weekly paper publishes the local RCMP blotter. Once in a while there is a report of someone apprehended at our border, in cooperation with US authorities. Reasons are things like drugs or an outstanding warrant for an arrest. Possibly Canadian customs has a profile of a wanted individual that could match more than one person crossing the border.

Canadian customs and immigration also tightened up after 9/11, in cooperation with the US

The episode reported in the OP seems really unfortunate; but presumably the greater purpose is to keep everyone safe. "Safety" does play out differently across the border.

Honestly, the biggest issue we've ever had has been the delays at the major border crossings like Niagara, Detroit/Windsor, Sarnia, and the Peace Bridge between Vancouver & Bellingham. It can take hours just waiting in line. We'll take a small, out-of-the-way crossing any day.

Right now the Canadian dollar is worth about 76c US, so anyone willing to brave the fearsome Canadian border agents should find some good travel deals up here-- except for gasoline.
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:04 PM   #73
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Disclaimer: This post contains no guns or reference to guns!
Now that's refreshing...



Moderator hat on: Folks we have removed a number of posts from this thread that had to do with gun control, general political commentary and outright snarky remarks intended to insult other members or nationalities. This thread is about crossing at the Canada/USA Border, not about gun rights, political agendas, ethical issues associated with carrying a gun or the general demeanor of citizens of either country.

Let's stay on topic and focus on the experiences we have in common and Airstreaming and avoid these other topics as they are specifically prohibited at AIR forums and are extremely divisive. There are plenty of great places to have these debates on the web but this forum is about Airstreams.

Thanks for understanding
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:39 PM   #74
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Geez. Y'all ought to try crossing back into the US from Mexico some time!

They sell better Coca Cola in Mexico, made with real sugar instead of HFCS. The US border guard asked what we had bought in Mexico and I said, "Oh, and we've got a case of Coke back there."

That was a very tense few seconds!
Funny! I like Mexican Coca Cola better as well. BTW, Sam's Club carries them.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:24 PM   #75
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We love visiting Canada. Despite the possibility of an occasional grumpy northbound or southbound border agent, we expect to do so again.

When we want to visit Canada with our Airstream, we'll compare our packing list with the lists of what is/isn't allowed and comply with them. Here's a couple of handy links:
Previous advice about removing sunglasses and being unfailingly polite to border agents, no matter what, is great. Another thing to consider is whether it's worth our time to get Nexus and/or Global Entry. We're looking into Nexus and may go for it, as that also gets us TSA Pre-Check clearance for domestic flights.
Have fun and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

<edit> Should say I also regret the OP's poor experience at the border this time around, and I hope their next border crossing is more pleasant. </edit>
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:44 AM   #76
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We love visiting Canada. -- snip -- we'll compare our packing list with the lists of what is/isn't allowed and comply with them. -- snip --
R - Do you declare everything on your packing list? Do you declare restricted items that you carry in an allowed quantity? What I get from most comments is that declarations do not include the traveling inventory and folks only declare items that need to be validated as tax exempt or those which are not and need the duty paid on them. Any input would be appreciated.

We really think we are outside the box, but keep looking for issues that might put us in it. Breathtaking scenery is a really enticing siren's song.

Anyone have experience with taking a sewing machine? Wife is a quilter and likes to get some piecing in when the pups take me for a walk. Not exactly a construction tool box and not a commercial machine, but also not your regular kit for the run of the mill tourist.

You all travel safe. Pat
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:03 AM   #77
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Oh Canada....

I have been traveling to Canada for both business (flying typically) and also towing travel trailer for many years. I never find it a great experience entering nor leaving. I always feel like they are not friendly on the Canadian side. I have Global Entry and I still get flagged; never have I just whizzed through security like the Canadian citizens seem to. I do love the scenery and the people are very friendly, so I think we just have to suck it up and put up with the only depressing part of the trip. Especially if we want to drive to Alaska...seems the only road goes through Canada!
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:09 AM   #78
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Hi from AZ. . . to AK & back last Summer, we probably crossed borders 6 or 8 times & had NO difficulties on either side. I take off my sunglasses, look them in the eye, say yes sir & no m'am & smile. The folks we encountered were pleasant &/or professional.. . . sorry the op had a bad experience, but I guess anybody can have a bad day. . . regards, Craig
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:21 AM   #79
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Like anything else the folks at the boarder have a job to do. In this day and age we have to understand that they meet all kinds and if you deal in customer service like I do, some customers come in picking for a fight. It's hard to not let some of these bad eggs rub off if the day is particularly trying.

We also have enormous expectations regarding these folks keeping us safe. I dare say we'd be the first to criticize if they drop their guard and let someone pass through who causes havoc and potential loss of life of innocents.

I and my family were subject to a vehicle search by the Canadian officials years ago at Niagra Falls. We probably fit a profile, a family of 3 driving a large van. Why a big van with 2 adults and a child? We were asked to get out of the car and sit on a bench while everything, tool box, and storage containers, glove boxes were opened and emptied. Of course when they were done I had to put everything back. Thankfully my trailer was at a campground in Niagra Falls or they might have opened it up too. Personally I'd rather not go through that again and decided that my trailer would stay south of the border and I'd do day excursions into Canada instead.

To each his own as others have said, but with what is going on in the world today, the folks at the boarder crossings are carrying a lot of responsibility.

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Old 06-02-2016, 11:38 AM   #80
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R - Do you declare everything on your packing list? Do you declare restricted items that you carry in an allowed quantity? What I get from most comments is that declarations do not include the traveling inventory and folks only declare items that need to be validated as tax exempt or those which are not and need the duty paid on them. Any input would be appreciated.

We really think we are outside the box, but keep looking for issues that might put us in it. Breathtaking scenery is a really enticing siren's song.

Anyone have experience with taking a sewing machine? Wife is a quilter and likes to get some piecing in when the pups take me for a walk. Not exactly a construction tool box and not a commercial machine, but also not your regular kit for the run of the mill tourist.

You all travel safe. Pat
You declare everything that is controlled (ie guns), you declare anything that is in a quantity over the allowed daily limit (ie liquor in excess of the published limits), and you answer questions about non-controlled items that may indicate to the border agent that you are planning on doing something different than you have stated (ie working in the other country).

Yes, I took a sewing machine, in to the US in this case. As carry on for a flight, in transit to South America. We couldn't buy one there, as it was a fancy electronic quilting machine. US Border Agent asked what it was. I showed him, and said it was a present for my wife. Agent said "lucky her". End of conversation. Agent in Chile asked what it was. Same discussion. Similar response.

These issues generally aren't about Canada, they are about going through border checkpoints to any country. I have never had trouble in thirty years of frequent international travel, apart from occasional agents having a bad day, in whatever country. And the one time I lost my exit visa in a third world country, but that was my fault, not theirs.

Jeff
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Old 06-02-2016, 04:41 PM   #81
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JCL - thanks, that helps clarify the issue. None, none and what do you want to know? We can deal with that. Pat
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:07 AM   #82
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Went through the Canadian Customs about 5 days ago at the Sweetwater MT crossing with no issues. The customs officer was professional and to the point. He asked questions, I answered yes or no. Was not charged a duty on the 1 extra bottle of alcohol I had, but was ready to pay the duty fee if required.


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Old 06-16-2016, 05:50 AM   #83
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Went through the Canadian Customs about 5 days ago at the Sweetwater MT crossing with no issues. The customs officer was professional and to the point. He asked questions, I answered yes or no. Was not charged a duty on the 1 extra bottle of alcohol I had, but was ready to pay the duty fee if required.


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Welcome to Canada! I hope you have a great trip and take home priceless things.......memories.

Cheers
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:48 PM   #84
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We also passed through Sweetgrass, MT just a few days back. Fast and professional as has been all of our border crossing experience. Heading north but re-routing ourselves due to all of the flooding in NE British Columbia.
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