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Old 01-02-2016, 03:03 PM   #15
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I get that some people have had a hassle at the Canadian Border. It is not much different for us crossing to the US. There is great disbelief when response to the question 'how much money are you carrying?" is $500 and they can't accept that we use credit cards and Debit cards like the rest of the world. Having crossed the border for both business and pleasure and many years ago on a weekly basis to purchase gas and groceries, we learned to just answer the questions....politely with no humor or lip, and have a standard line of reasons for crossing the border, and as pointed out above you never want to appear to be doing any business in the US that is not directly related to your Canadian work. Works the same in reverse. I hear many friends say they had a hassle and then discovered it was a line of questioning about Guns or Liquor or where they intended to be visiting. We got the same line of questioning from US immigration officers and have had all of our vegetables taken from us many time crossing to the US for Winter in Texas. We had dog food thrown out many years ago...don't even want to discuss the reasons for that. When we provisioned for return to southern Ontario and found ourselves taking the short route home through MN WI and MI when our travel companions bailed on the return through the route north of Superior. So we declared everything; noted that we realized the fruits and veggies would be confiscated...and the response was..."See that stainless steel table over there. Pull your trailer up there and go rout around in your fridge and find the orange and lemon and leave them in the bowl on the table...then drive away and have a safe trip". Frankly I've had more questionable experiences crossing to the US, than easy ones, but I will continue to go back and did recently even with our Dollar at something close to 1.36 per US greenback. I like travel in the US (with the exception of Florida sorry to say) and I like our Canadian north. They both have lots to offer. The open border is one of the great things about being Canadian or US citizens. We also find Air travel and Cruise ships to be more tightly scrutinized than the land crossings.

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Old 01-02-2016, 04:13 PM   #16
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Enhanced drivers license is an option for some

Some states provide an option for an "enhanced" drivers license containing a chip. This is acceptable for car travel into Canada and returning to the US. It cost a few bucks to get it and requires some documentation, but makes it easy for impromptu trips across the border if you live in a border state. My enhanced WA license has worked well on several trips (variously in a car, tv with AS, and riding my Harley) in WA, Ontario, NY, MI, ME, and New Brunswick. I find border crossing far less troublesome and more predictable than dealing with TSA at most US airports. But it is more difficult than when I often rode my bike across the Peace Bridge to Fort Erie, Ontario and back to Buffalo, NY as a 12-year old.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:40 PM   #17
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The last time we crossed over from the U.S. to Canada we had to leave our eggs. Guess it was the bird flu. My wife is Canadian and I am American. We new about fresh fruit, but the eggs were a surprise. Had just bought a dozen.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:44 PM   #18
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I was delighted to hear the compliments about Canada from our fellow U.S. North Americans. And I was dismayed to hear that some people had negative experiences. What a shame our border people would be nasty and leave that lasting memory for our visitors. We had great plans to take the AS to Arizona and California this winter but that exchange rate was pretty atrocious so we declined. This green winter we're having is making this winter a little easier than the last two! Maybe the exch rate will even out a bit by next winter. Here's hoping. And BTW just a comment on the person from Ontario about our health care being not free. Of course we pay for it in our taxes and who could grumble about taxes when we have UNIVERSAL care? And from discussions with our American cousins our taxes are not THAT much higher than those paid by them. I had two major surgeries this past year that would have cost tens of thousands in the States and I never took out my cheque book to pay for a single thing except the very small bit extra for a private room which was my treat to myself. Fabulous health care here in Ontario! None better! Anyway, welcome dear American friends to our beautiful country. Thanks you for coming and spending your $$$ here and contributing to our economy.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineStreamer View Post
Why the harassment? Were you carrying a gun?

Hi, my mistake was to cross the sacred white line without permission.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:54 PM   #20
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NAAWW, Bob was trying to smuggle his sick dog across the border to take advantage of our free universal health care. He couldn't afford the vet in the states.

Cheers
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Hi, I didn't think of that; We weren't going to have anymore dogs because of the thousands of Dollars in Vet bills we have paid for four previous dogs. Dusty has cost more than any one of them, but he is much older too. (18) Dusty adopted us.
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:04 PM   #21
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Maybe Bob got profiled? Pony tail, Oregon plates. Oregon is one of the states that has legalized recreational "you know what".


Kelvin
Hi. My wife thought it was the beard; We have crossed Canadian borders many times; Seven border crossings on our Alaska trip alone. [as someone who spent there entire life as a Californian] But now that I have been an Oregonian for two years, Yes, this place is known for meth heads and pot shops. We don't do that stuff. And, as for the pony tail, I have felt negative feeling from people while I was growing it. That feeling has changed when people found out that I cut it off and donated it to Children With Hair Loss. So maybe I was being profiled?
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:28 PM   #22
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Honestly, we researched the Canadian web site and decided not to go over this fall. The primary reason was an item that identified dog food as a possible contamination source which would be confiscated. Our girls eat a special blend that we were concerned would not be available. Not sure how we find a work around. We believe the dogs set this up so they could have chicken and steak. With the exchange rate so good, maybe that will work, but it's going to be a bit stiff convincing them to go back on the dry stuff.

Hope to take some parts of Canada off our "must go there" list in the near future. But you folks have got to turn up the heat just a bit. It's cold up there. Pat
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:32 AM   #23
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Wow. What a variety of responses.

Most of the discussion seems to have focussed on border crossings, not on what folks might enjoy doing if they actually got up to Canada. Some comments about the border, with the obvious note that Americans do have to consider the requirements of US customs & immigration on their return.

For both countries:

1. A passport is not only legit form of proof of citizenship/proof of identity but I figured that anyone who crossed the border frequently enough to use one of the others (like the Nexus card) would know about them. Gone are the days when you could get through on the strength of your drivers license and Chucky Cheese card.

2. Current rabies certificate for dogs. The officials seldom ask for them, but can. Dog food is generally classified as meat, so depending what's in it and where it was made, it may or may not be OK. (Hint: you can always buy some once you're across the border.) Nice border guards may offer your dog a biscuit.

3. The lists of fresh produce and meat items that can or cannot be taken across the border changes slightly but frequently. Generally dried & canned goods are fine. No citrus ever going to the US. Bird flu meant no chicken or eggs either way for a while, but on our last trip that ban seems to have been lifted. This list changes somewhat depending upon recent agricultural pests, &c. but it is generally much stricter returning to the US than it is going to Canada. What Can I Bring Into Canada in Terms Of Food, Plant, Animal and Related Products? - Food - Canadian Food Inspection Agency

4. Per person: two bottles of wine, one bottle of liquor, and 24 standard cans or bottles of beer. Not worth trying to bring more as the duty is prohibitive.

5. No campfire wood (due to spread of bark beetle infestation.)

6. Hunters don't have much trouble bringing rifles into Canada provided they declare them using a special written form. But other types of guns are restricted or banned. This does include handguns. Visitors to Canada generally are safe without them.

Agreed that the agents aren't there to chat, and certainly not to put up with any lip. However, once when some US agents in full border patrol regalia asked to see the inside of our AS, they had questions like, "I bet this tows really well."

Generally (but without thinking of any border crossing in particular,) wait times at the smaller crossings tend to go a lot faster than the major ones like Detroit/Windsor and the Seattle/Vancouver corridor. If these really are the logical places to cross, you can find the wait times on local radio or on line and choose your crossing time accordingly. Some of the really small rural crossings are not open 24/7, however, so it's good to check ahead.

Just a word on Waterton Lakes NP, which borders Glacier NP-- it is smaller than Glacier NP, but well worth seeing if you visit Glacier. With both of these parks, there is the more congested "front country" and then the less-visited areas you can drive to, and the roadless "back country." The latter two are most recommended. The CG at Waterton Lakes is at the Waterton townsite. Not the wilderness, but then you might enjoy walking to its restaurants & shops. If you're not a hiker or paddler, there is a commercial boat trip that starts at the Waterton townsite, heads south into Glacier, and then you can either return with it, hike back, or catch the boat later. We like it.

Unlike in US national parks, dogs are allowed on the trails in most Canadian NPs.
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Old 01-03-2016, 08:23 AM   #24
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Re Dog food at the Canadian side...wasn't aware that was an issue coming north. We learned not to take dog food going to US because they said it contained prions from Mad Cow Disease, if made in Canada. They did let us bring our US purchased dog food back to US. I always wanted to ask if they needed certification that my dog had had a colon cleanse...he would be carrying prions. So also do the hundreds of garbage trucks crossing into Michigan every day. At some point dog food was no longer an issue. Seems to have gone away 4 years ago.

Take this away from the thread... do your home work...know the rules and be prepared to meet the border official from hell because there is always someone having a bad day or who has been recently disciplined. If you are clean they can only keep asking questions until they run out of things on their list. And look the official in the eye while talking to him or her.

And come to Canada. We have spectacular scenery and although expensive, really good provincial parks...(less 35% for your dollar and 10% seniors discount). You will want to book ahead if you are traveling in peak vacation periods. And change your money in the US. We are not so friendly on the exchange side in retail establishments if you are purchasing with US cash (and the same is true in the US for Canadian $$). I always take cash advances from Walmart with my debit card since the exchange rate is fixed by the prevailing bank rate, and I don't pay the ATM and bank fees. Walmart in Canada is the same company so their debit machines should do US cards.
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Old 01-03-2016, 08:34 AM   #25
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A few questions... I'm from NS but am a US citizen now. We return to NS annually, almost always by air but in 2014 by minivan (before we owned our AS).

Is the issue with all dog food or just some kinds? (dry, canned, pouched, etc.) Do you get a break if you present a factory sealed new package of food - would that be considered uncontaminated or whatever?

Of course dog food can be purchased in Canada but we use a specialty food and switching a dog's food abruptly can lead to big problems - we tried that once on a trip and the result was a nightmare - our dog got severe diarrhea, to the point of passing blood in her stool. When we crossed at Houlton ME in 2014, our dog was very briefly examined but we were not questioned about her food, which was in the car (two weeks' worth).

Yes on the fruit - give it up upon returning to the U.S. from Canada - even though it is often clearly marked as having originated in the U.S. (e.g., Florida oranges, Washington apples).

Does anyone have any experiences crossing with frozen food? Processed packaged food = yes - nobody asks any questions. Most fresh foods = no. What about cooked and frozen? It sorta falls in the gray area between the two.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:12 AM   #26
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have you looked up whether you can have your dog food shipped to your first stop ahead of time?
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:15 AM   #27
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A few years ago we crossed back into the US through a New Brunswick crossing into Calais, Maine. On the US side they asked to check our Airstream. After 10 minutes or so they came out with 1.5 lemons. I had no idea of the citrus restrictions. Ironically they had come from home in NJ with us but there was no way to prove that. It may not have mattered even if we could. We had been in Canada for 2 wks and had lots of other food items including lunch meat, leftovers, bacon, eggs etc. But the lemons were the only items of concern. They were pleasant, polite and professional and left our trailer as they found it. That was the only crossing that has ever asked to check anything. Our trips into and from Canada have all been quick and easy.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:35 AM   #28
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I went up to Canada this past fall for a few weeks and had a blast. Crossing over into CA the guy was great, no problems and a joy to speak with.

For me, (even though I'm a US born, raised, etc..) coming back into the States was a pain in the *ss! The US Boarder guy was a d*ck! It was to the point I was ready to turn around and ask to become a Canadian Citizen. And it always seems to be that way. The CA boarder guys great! US boarder guys nasty ;-(

Was thinking it would be better to come in from the south side of the states with no ID, I'd get through a lot faster and get a few freebies to boot. ;-)

Enjoy,
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