Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Monday, May 23, 2016

C'mon up to Canada!

I was reading on a facebook RV forum the other day, and somebody was asking questions about driving from the U.S. to Alaska. Of course to do that, you have to cross the Canadian border. You should have seen some of the answers and comments. Yikes! These people had obviously never been out of their own country. And it occurred to me that a lot more Canadians cross into the U.S. than the other way around.

More than 75 % of the total Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border.

And because it's too damn cold up here for eight months of the year, a big contingent of Canadians cross into the United States seeking warmer weather. But of course that doesn't happen the other way around.

So for those Americans who might be curious, here's how to prepare yourself to cross the border in to Canada by land...

- Make sure you have all the right paperwork. You need a passport, your vehicle ownership, and a valid driver's licence.

- You cannot take your gun. You don't need it up here anyhow. Canada is much safer than the United States. You are more likely to be killed by bad weather than an actual person.

- Booze? You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcoholic beverages free of duty and taxes:

   * 1.5 litres (53 imperial ounces) of wine; or
   * a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of alcoholic beverages; or
   * up to 8.5 litres of beer or ale.

There is nothing stopping you from bringing more, but you may be asked to pay duty and taxes on the overage. Either way, be honest about what you have. Because booze is so expensive in Canada, it's tempting to lie. If you lie and get caught, the repurcussions aren't worth it.

- Fruits and veggies? You are required by law to declare any plant, animal, or food items that you have in your posession when you cross the border. Most of it, you are okay with. But there are some regional variants, such as not being able to bring American apples in to British Columbia. Or not being able to bring any poultry products that originated in Indiana. The poultry item changes the most often. Cooked poultry and eggs are okay, but raw is not. Ultimately, you are better off arriving at the border with as little food as possible, and you will have less possibility of being slowed down by questions. Have a list ready of the food items you have so that you're not guessing.

 - Do not lie. About anything. The border guard has the ability to impound your vehicle or ban you from the country permanently. Only answer the questions he/she asks, and only speak when spoken to. Be polite. Be patient. Don't be antagonistic.

- If you have a criminal conviction from the U.S. (or even a DUI), you may not be allowed to cross the border without completing some other steps first. You can read about all of that here... http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/infORmation/inadmissibility/index.asp

And so...c'mon up to Canada and stay a while. The exchange rate is a big benefit for Americans just now.

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Lifetime Bean Bag Toss/Ladder Toss/Folding Tailgate Table Combo




32 comments:

  1. Heading that way in July....how about proof of current auto insurance?

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    1. Of course you'll need that, but not for the border crossing. If you get pulled over by police, they will ask for it.

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    2. Ok thanks! We were in Vermont a few years ago, and were told you had to have it to cross the border. Of course we had insurance, but upon further investigation we realized our cards had expired. So we didn't even try. We are more diligent about such things these days!

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  2. There are some beautiful places to travel in Canada! A couple more tips - it is even easier now for US residents without a current passport. There is a cheaper passport card available that covers you for land or sea entry into Canada. Also, some states offer enhanced drivers licenses that will cover you for entry.

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    1. Thanks Sarah. Technically, you are correct. But I didn't mention those things because I think everyone should have a valid passport. It just makes sense.

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    2. In fact, you could enter Canada with just a driver's licence and birth certificate. But American rules are more restrictive and you may have a hard time getting back into the States!

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  3. I think the biggest thing is be honest, we have a beautiful country that we like to share with our American neighbors.

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    1. Totally agree with you Janet, if you lie and get caught there will be big repercussions with the possible confiscation of your vehicle, just not worth it!

      We have a beautiful country and love to share it with others.

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  4. That about covers it I think. With the current exchange rate it only makes sense for Americans to tour our beautiful country, Lots of amazing scenery and things to see.

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    1. Yes, the exchange rate is a big benefit to the Americans at the moment and they would get a chance to see some fantastic scenery and enjoy our friendly hospitality.

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  5. I thought firearms were "not" prohibited...but "restricted" and you must declare them. http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/rightsandfreedoms/a/gunstocanada.htm

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    1. Yes, again, techincally you are correct. But it gets complicated. Canada's gun importation laws are categorized into "non restricted", "restricted", and "prohibited". Most rifles and shotguns are under the "non restricted" category. Most handguns are restricted, and can only be imported if you can proce that you need them for target practice. Wanting to bring one for "protection" doesn't cut it.

      Why go through the headache? They're totally unnecessary here. Just leave them behind and make your life easier.

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    2. Maybe because one would have a desire too. I am sure there are trapshooting and Skeet ranges around Canada somewhere. The problem is that it is so often reported you can't get a gun into Canada many believe it. And blatantly wrong statements abut it doesn't help.

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    3. You're right, I should have clarified that.

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  6. Even though I live close to the Canadian border, I haven't been to Canada since I was a teen! I remember our yearly trips during high school to perform in the park in Victoria each spring for Victoria Day (my high school was Scottish and we had Scottish dancers and a pipe band) I recall being asked what I had in my bag at customs and when I replied, "Just a bunch of junk" I got the third degree. That border official scared me to death! So yes, it's always good to be very polite and only speak when spoken to.

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    1. I guess it is about time to come up for another visit then Lori. :-)

      Yes, giving smart aleck or vague answers wouldn't help make the crossing easy.

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  7. I understand not taking fire arms across the border. Are Canadians allowed to own guns? Someone told me they were required to be registered quite a while ago, and they thought they were confiscated? That sounds like something that would have been all over the news.

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    1. Canadians can own rifles and shotguns quite easily. Handguns are a different story, but still not out of the question. There is a larger list of prohibited guns that are not allowed at all.

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  8. Well, been to Canada many times. No problems. But that was years ago. After the general election for the POTUS I plan to run a transport service. Hoping Rosie, and Cruz are among the first riders.

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  9. Keven, Thanks for your information, is there restrictions or paperwork needed to bring dogs across the border and back to the US?

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    1. No Doug, dogs are pretty easy. If you're asked at all, it will be for a current rabies vaccination.

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  10. When we crossed into Canada they practically tore the trailer apart. They left it a mess and didn't treat us very well. I guess it's tit for tat in the border crossing. People get treated like dirt entering the U.S. (not always but many times especially if you are from Mexico, trust me).

    That said, we spent a fantastic 2.5 months in Canada. Canadians are very friendly, they treated us like royalty and the scenery is just like a postcard. Of course, we stayed at the Cabri Regional Park which is beautiful. Some people say Saskatchewan is boring, we found the rolling hills to be very beautiful and peaceful.

    BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia were incredible. I think Canadians are aliens, they sure don't act like most human beings, at least while we were there :)

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    1. Yes, you are right the treatment can go either way on either side of the border. We have had the odd time crossing into the USA where we felt that we were almost interrogated and had to have Sherman put through the x-ray machine but rather than cause any fuss we just remained quiet, polite and patient and a little while later we were sent on our way. It is funny we have a harder time going through the USA border from Canada then we do when we re-enter from Mexico.

      Canadians as a whole are very friendly and helpful people, who are sometimes almost too polite. ;-)

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    2. That may be but when I was up there snowmobiling they would steal anything not firmly attached to an anchor. Now in general the people and service was great but Canada has it"s share of bad people just like every other country. And Law enforcement is just as variable as it is here. If they stop you they love to give you a ticket even if they have to make something up. And in some places they absolutely hate people overnight staying in the RV unless they are paying a campground fee. Varies by location just like it does here in the US.

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    3. You are correct, there are bad people in Canada as well but in general we are a very safe country. In my 54 years of life I have only come across one bad (very minor) problem and that was when we had a small amount of vandalism done to our car when we used own a house. Many times we left our garage door open for the whole night and never had anything taken. Often the house was even left unlocked and this is in a city neighbourhood. And, yes we realize that there are places like this in the USA as well.

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    4. And I don't mean to come across as negative about Canada. I was in the North East (Argentia Newfoundland) for a deployment back in the 60's with the Navy and loved it. Been on two snowmobiling trips one to Montreal and one to Ontario and loved both of those. I would love to make it to the Calgary Stampede someday. And as I have read my post I see where they could come across as very negative. Sorry about that, I just feel that no country is all good or all bad. There are differences in cultures for sure. One of the guys on our first snowmobiling trip ordered a Hamburger at every restaurant we wen to in Montreal. Now I am not real adventuresome in my eating but that was just sad to me..

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    5. We understand, as we have travelled to Mexico and many times have to try and explain to most people that it is pretty safe despite what people hear from the media. As you said no country is without some crime but statistically Canada is way at the bottom of the list when it comes to violent crime and an overwhelming majority of Canadians don't feel a need to be armed.

      Your friend needs to learn that there is more to life than hamburgers! ;-)

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  11. We are planning to spend next summer RVing across Canada, west to east, and can't wait. So much to see, and already I know three-four months won't be close to enough time to see it all, but we'll do as much as we possibly can. I'm sure we'll have lots of questions for you two once we start digging into the nitty-gritty planning details. :-)

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    1. Yep, three to four months may not be enough but it will be a good start. Hopefully if we are still working here at the park next year, you will be making this one of your stops. :-) Then we can pay back the hospitality that you gave to us in Southern California. Don't hesitate to ask us any questions that you may have when the time comes.

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  12. Heading up to do Cabot Trail in mid-August and planning on some boon docking.

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    1. We found plenty of boondocking up in Cape Breton, mind you we were there both times in June so it wasn't at a busy time of year. Check out our archives for June 2011 for some ideas on where to stay.

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