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Old 08-21-2017, 01:21 PM   #1
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Canadian Border Crossing

After traveling north into Canada for years without any issues - just the typical questions: do you have anything to declare; are you carrying any firearms; what is your reason for your visit; and how long do you plan to stay; this year it was a big change.

We entered Canada via Calais, Maine after a week of being at Acadia National Park. The Canadian Border Patrol lady started with the basic questions that we have heard for years, and then started a variation. (Let me say this, we were totally honest with our answers, to avoid any possible problems that could occur.) After the question about carrying firearms, to which we answered, “NO”, she proceeded with “do you own any firearms”? I really don’t think that was any of their business in my border crossing, but again, I did not want to be dishonest, so I answered, “YES”. She then pursued this line and asked, “what kinds of guns do you have?” Again, being honest, I said “long guns and handguns”. With that she asked us to pull over to the parking area in front of their building, bring our passports and a yellow slip she issued us, and go into the building.

The officers inside took our passports and read the report on the yellow slip. (I should have read it before going into the building.) Then they asked for the keys to the truck and our Airstream. After one hour of searching, going through our trailer, back seat of our truck, and inside the back cap area of our pickup truck - and I mean go through - every closest was opened, things moved - not put back - backpacks opened - we were given the go.

I asked what precipitated the search, and they said that they reserve the right to inspect any vehicle and its contents that comes across their border. Period!! I didn’t want to press anything in case they still wanted to bust our chops by emptying all our belongings on the road. I just thanked them for their service to their country, and left.

Later that night when we were parked at a casino (free parking) in New Brunswick, Canada, we met a couple who went through the same crossing. They were from Florida and visited a number of vineyards, breweries, and distilleries on the way north, buying “samples” of booze that they liked. The boarder guards gave them an option - 1. pay a “tax” that far exceeded cost of the booze, or, 2. dump the booze. They took option 2, and dumped over $500 worth of booze.

I guess the Canadians have the option do what they want to protect their country, and I’m sure that the USA is much tighter to get into then it was prior to 9/11.

When we re-entered the USA 12 days later, we got the basic questions, but the Border Patrol did ask to walk through the Airstream and checked for any possible people on board. This happened less than one week after a number of “illegals” died in a tractor trailer truck in Texas. Our Patrol lady was very lay back and courteous, and said, “welcome home to the USA”.

As Walter Cronkeit always said, "and that's the way it was".
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:40 PM   #2
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Hi

Just about anywhere in the world, you can run into the "random check" process. Needless to say, they rarely are forthcoming about what triggers this process. It may be a random number generator that comes up with this date and that lane.

Bob
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:37 PM   #3
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You know...I crossed into Ontario a month or so ago, with only a few standard questions at the border and no search, no problem.

Coming back into the US a few days later, I declared my produce but forgot to mention the bananas that were in full view via the galley window.

I was sent inside and told I had to have a produce inspection, then stood outside the Interstate with the dog while they searched almost everything...cabinets, closet, refrigerator, bathroom.

I made no issue of it, and had nothing to hide, but it seemed a bit much....

Maggie
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Old 08-21-2017, 03:06 PM   #4
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Don't try and fool the Canadians. Years ago, long before 9/11, a friend tried to cross in Washington state and was denied entrance because he had a juvenile record in Michigan. You know those sealed records that no one has access to. They had access. During that same crossing, a group was traveling together, another friend said Yes he was carrying a gun. He said he would check it in the general store in Canada. Customs said they did not offer that service any longer. So he was allowed to enter Canada and return to the US to check the gun there.

When I cross they have my name before I reach the customs window. A Jersey front license plate.

Now on the other hand we have been given a Customs agent's tenth anniversary la pile pin because she felt guilty having to take a sealed bag of potatoes we had brought from home and never opened and had noted we collected pins.
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Old 08-22-2017, 06:59 AM   #5
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Hi

I'm amazed at how many times I get tripped up by produce inspections. It's not just at the Canadian boarder. I'm also amazed at the number of times I declare the same stuff (oopss !!!) and get waved through. It seems that there are some fairly complex issues in terms of what does and does not get screened in this or that month.

It's a crazy world !!

Bob
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:43 AM   #6
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We've always towed our travel trailers with a van and our experience was in the late 80's just north of Niagra Falls. We camped on the American side in a KOA and decided to go over to the Canadian side to check things out. Now it was myself my wife and my son who was about 12 or so. I assume we looked suspicious, possibly because of the big van and small family. We were asked to pull to a building where they proceeded to open everything in the van, tools, glove box etc. When they got done like others noted, we then had to spend time putting everything back and away.

Needless to say while I understand probably why we were profiled, I pretty much vowed that I would never pull a trailer across our northern borders. I couldn't stand watching them today to take my 30'er apart like they did my van. For me it's just not worth the hassle and probably will never cross the boarder with a trailer.

I know they don't do this with everyone but sometimes it might not be your answers or demeanor with the crossing folks. It just may be as much as the vehicle you drive.

Jack
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VT Wanderer View Post
.


Later that night when we were parked at a casino (free parking) in New Brunswick, Canada, we met a couple who went through the same crossing. They were from Florida and visited a number of vineyards, breweries, and distilleries on the way north, buying “samples” of booze that they liked. The boarder guards gave them an option - 1. pay a “tax” that far exceeded cost of the booze, or, 2. dump the booze. They took option 2, and dumped over $500 worth of booze.
.
I'm surprised the couple didn't check this out before crossing as it's well noted that you can only bring 1.5 litres of wine/spirits per person into Canada duty free. We brought back a case of wine a few years ago and declared it; after paying the duty we roughly broke even. I expect duty on spirits is much higher than wine.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:04 AM   #8
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I got the same question regarding owning guns about a month ago but no search. We cross into Canada quite a bit since wife is from Canada and has family there. That was the first time they asked that. We went through Canada going from VT to Michigan to vend at a quilt show pulling the Airstream. Truck was full of product....glad they didn't want to do a search. It would take several hours to unload for search and put back in the truck. When we entered Michigan they asked to see registration and insurance proof for both the truck and the Airstream....that was a first.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:12 AM   #9
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To the OP.

I'm sorry that you had the proverbial going over at the border, but Americans caught bringing their handguns and undeclared long guns into Canada has exploded over the past few years; especially Americans from the southern states. It doesn't seem to matter how many ads or signs posted stating categorically that no hand guns are allowed into Canada, period; Americans still bring them in.

Unfortunately there are many Americans that deem their second admendments rights extend into our country.

The link below is just one of thousands of incidents....

http://globalnews.ca/news/3669411/ca...om-u-s-family/

In the end I do hope you had a wonderful stay in Canada and again I apologize for the inconvenience at our shared border; but we need to be safe too.

Cheers
Tony

PS, If the shoe was on the other foot and the number of guns seized by American CBA agents were the same as ours; trust me, there would be a huge hew and cry in Washington over it. The headlines would read "CANADIAN ARMED HORDE INVADING".
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:30 AM   #10
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Tony, I totally understand your country's right to check for contraband items. It is your border agents duty to make sure your laws are enforced. The gist of my long forum letter was to alert Americans that they should follow the laws, rules and regulations of the country that they are visiting. If you are caught with illegal items when entering Canada, it is YOUR problem. That means YOU did not heed the warnings that are posted in every written document describing the border crossing do and don't items. YOU know that if you are caught with firearms, YOU will have them confiscated and also risk arrest and/or fines. We are only visitors and should respect your laws. I am glad that we were honest when answering questions, and that we had nothing to hide. And yes Tony... we had an awesome time in Cape Breton, hiking and kayaking. It was our 3rd visit there, and won't be our last. (The Banff area is one of our other favorites and we've been there numerous times.) Thanks for your post.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VT Wanderer View Post
Tony, I totally understand your country's right to check for contraband items. It is your border agents duty to make sure your laws are enforced. The gist of my long forum letter was to alert Americans that they should follow the laws, rules and regulations of the country that they are visiting. If you are caught with illegal items when entering Canada, it is YOUR problem. That means YOU did not heed the warnings that are posted in every written document describing the border crossing do and don't items. YOU know that if you are caught with firearms, YOU will have them confiscated and also risk arrest and/or fines. We are only visitors and should respect your laws. I am glad that we were honest when answering questions, and that we had nothing to hide. And yes Tony... we had an awesome time in Cape Breton, hiking and kayaking. It was our 3rd visit there, and won't be our last. (The Banff area is one of our other favorites and we've been there numerous times.) Thanks for your post.
No worries, I just wanted to add context to why the prolonged procedure at the border and to make sure that you'd come back to Canada.

We love American visitors as well, as visiting the US. We shall be attending a Classic motorhome rally in Cooperstown NY at the end of September......I swear the US border agent wants to come on board just to check out my 310 turbo diesel.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:23 AM   #12
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We have crossed the border many times both with and without a trailer. We get the usual inquiries going north that most all of us have experienced. I have never been asked if I "own" any guns. I do and would tell them if they asked. They ask if I have any guns and/or have any ammunition, magazines etc. (The answer is always NO) and we are passed through. Several times on the southbound crossing (US side) we have been given the once over for an agricultural check and they have confiscated some produce. Those rules vary and are hard to keep up with. Maybe our turn will come up one day for the full Monte but so far all crossings have been easy for us.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:46 AM   #13
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Your pistol license comes up when your license is run at the border. Remember you need to be sure there are no rounds, clips, holsters, or anything in your vehicle. When using rentals and company cars I check them very carefully.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:46 AM   #14
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We cross the border usually several times a year and I would have to say that for the most part our experience has been fine with both Canadian and US border officiials.

Many times I am surprised how quick the encounter is - especially since my wife's passport shows her country of birth being Pakistan! At the time she was born, it was actually India, and her dad was a Dr. in the British army stationed there!

I always try to do anything I can to make things go smoothly - have the passports immediately ready, remove sunglasses, shut of the noisy diesel - answer everything asked as politely and concisely as I can with zero attempts at humour unless I can see that the official himself is that sort of person - and some are! No smart ass answers!

There have been a couple of times (with both countries officials) when we have encountered an official who either just likes to throw his/her weight around and/or seems to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. In that event, I bite my tongue and try to get through the experience with as little aggravation as possible - any other reaction on my part would surely make things all the worse for me, those folks are given lots of authority to make your life miserable if they feel so-inclined!

We have never experienced any sort of major search in the last 20 years or so of our winter snowbird trips.

A couple of times been asked to lower the windows in the back of our crew cab truck - they have quite a dark tint, and a few times been asked to open the trailer door so they can take a quick look inside, but that has been it!

The back of our pickup (with a cap) is always fuly loaded with stuff but as yet no-one has wanted to look inside.


Hope I haven't jinxed myself for our next trip!
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