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Old 08-12-2019, 01:05 PM   #1
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Border crossing into and out of Canada

We would appreciate some help planning a trip. On the first leg we are traveling from the Hartford area to northern Wisconsin. Google maps shows a route on I-80 to Buffalo then into Canada on 81 and 405 at Lewiston. Then to 402 and back to USA at Sarnia getting on I-69 then over to I-75 North. We went this way several years ago. Concerned about time at the border crossings. Anyone with recent experience or other thoughts about this route? Thanks for any help.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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Are you sure you want to deal with 2 border crossings just for the sake of a "short cut"? It may not be a "short cut" when you're done. Personally I would cross at Fort Erie and not Lewiston if you were going. Unless you a specific reason to do this I would avoid the border crossing hassle altogether. You're going to be asked about weapons and food. Maybe even alcohol. Just stay on the US side and go around the bottom of lake Erie and save yourself the grief. At this time of the year depending upon when you cross you may encounter a lot of traffic as well. Not to mention you will pay more for fuel. Border crossing time is a crap shoot at best. You can be stuck for hours or just sail through.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:47 PM   #3
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crossing into Canada is easier than into the USA

don't bring in meat , milk products or weapons of any kind.
animals need up to date shots.
smaller crossing like Ogdensberg NY, and Sarnia ON are often faster than the big busy ports Niagara falls/Buffalo and Detroit/Windsor
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:50 PM   #4
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Canadians don't want any lamb based products. Keep your dog food labels.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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It’s luck-of-the-draw at border crossings. Some days it’s quick, some days it is slow. Food, guns and smokes will cause you heartburn going into Canada. They tend to enforce their border laws.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:22 PM   #6
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The other issue is you may qualify for a more intense search from the Canadian authorities. I had this happen to me many years back where myself, my wife and my toddler son crossed a boarder just north of Niagara Falls. I was camping on the US side at a Niagara Falls KOA and was driving a full sized Chevy passenger van. I stated we were coming over for the day to visit Niagara Falls Canada for the day.

I guess I triggered something, maybe my big van and small family, I just don't know. They asked me to pull over to a building and all of us sit on a bench outside. At that point they went into my van and opened and pulled out everything that was in the glove box and my tool case. After spending about 20 minutes looking, they said everything was okay, and I was left to put everything back.

I remember remarking to my wife that I was glad that I hadn't been pulling the trailer. I couldn't have imagined how much stuff would have been pulled from the trailer to only have to be repacked.

Bottom line I swore I'd never pull a trailer into Canada and take the time and trouble to be subject to that kind of search.

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Old 08-12-2019, 03:17 PM   #7
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Crossed the border a few days ago headed to Thunder Bay (Canada) on the north side of Lake Superior. The guard was super strict. Got really fussy about how much alcohol we had in the trailer (not that much but I didn't have the exact quantity at the tip of my tongue). Things got worse when he asked about weapons the same time a fly started buzzing in my face. He said because I didn't stare in his face as I said we had no guns, (because the fly distracted me) , he didn't believe me so had us pull aside while two guys searched the truck and trailer.

The delay added about 30 minutes and a few things were tossed about, but we were eventually let go. Coming back into the USA was a breeze. Questions about firewood and purpose of trip then off we went.

Lessons learned:
1. Have auto license plate number ready,
2. Know your alcohol type (beer, wine, hard) and quantities ready,
3. Be firm when saying no to guns, pepper spray, bear spray, and whatever else they consider weapons,
4. Stare hard into the guards eyes the entire time.

Of course, don't lie about any of the above either.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:51 PM   #8
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Just like some has stated. Luck of the draw. We cross Calais Maine into Canada asked about cigarettes, beer, wine, not about guns not about the dog in the seat barking, cross back into USA at 1000 island NY on I 81 Canadian said by the USA guy asked where had we been in Canada and how long were we in Canada. Noting about the dog barking in the back seat. We had all papers on dog and cat never asked for them. Did send hand gun to friends before we went in and had them send it back to me in NY. We have cross at Washington state same thing how ever the Canadian guy at Washington crossing did say with a laugh they get a lot of hand guns there from American going to Alaska with guns No hand guns in Canada long guns after a lot of paper work and a lot of restrictions. Just donít Carrie your guns to Canada.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:18 PM   #9
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NO crossing unless that is the only way to get home.
I was coming from AK and had to declare my tools and buy $175 bond so I would not sell them in Canada.
NO GUNS as stated, remember Fear the Government that fear your gun,its not about guns its about freedom.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brick1 View Post
Itís luck-of-the-draw at border crossings. Some days itís quick, some days it is slow. Food, guns and smokes will cause you heartburn going into Canada. They tend to enforce their border laws.
It's funny how people keep saying that they should be more like Canada...

Canada has outlawed handguns and assault weapons for quite sometime...

Yet there were mass shootings in Toronto just a couple of weeks ago... How did those guys get those banned weapons?

Regardless, the line up on the Canadian side of the bridge to Pt Huron Michigan is about 5miles long on Friday afternoons.

Less so during the rest of the week...
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon_Jon View Post
We would appreciate some help planning a trip. On the first leg we are traveling from the Hartford area to northern Wisconsin. Google maps shows a route on I-80 to Buffalo then into Canada on 81 and 405 at Lewiston. Then to 402 and back to USA at Sarnia getting on I-69 then over to I-75 North. We went this way several years ago. Concerned about time at the border crossings. Anyone with recent experience or other thoughts about this route? Thanks for any help.
The QEW/403/401/402 are good roads.

The best time to hit the border is before breakfast, both ways...

If you can hit Queenston/Lewiston before 7am, you'll hit Sarnia/Pt.Huron by noon...

The wait times are not crazy at that time if day...

After 4pm it gets backed up. On Friday forget about it...

Windsor/Detroit may be faster in the afternoon.

Last Friday, (the 9th) US Customs in Pt. Huron had traffic backed up almost to the airport. That's 9km.

Most afternoons there is about a 1km slowdown...

Mornings are best.

I cross into the US daily, for work and before noon there is rarely a back up.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:35 PM   #12
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Interesting that nobody has mentioned the need for a passport or enhanced drivers license (available from most border states I believe). You may be able to get into Canada with a US drivers license but it will be a major problem getting back into the US.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:29 PM   #13
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Thanks to all . . .

We greatly appreciate the collective wisdom and suggestions from you all. We will probably not go thru Canada.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:45 PM   #14
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Interesting that nobody has mentioned the need for a passport or enhanced drivers license (available from most border states I believe). You may be able to get into Canada with a US drivers license but it will be a major problem getting back into the US.
That is definitely the case over the Peace Bridge here in WNY...Canada welcomes you with open arms, it's US Customs that gives you the hassle, citizen or not.

Bob
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