Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Requirements For Travelling To Canada
RV Park Reviews Campground Discussion Forum > RV Park and Campground Discussions > RV Park Discussions
FordTruck
Wife and I will be celebrating 20 years together next April. We're planning a trip through Upstate NY and across the border to Toronto. Will have 9-10 days for the round-trip.
What can we expect at the border crossings, both outbound and inbound? (Strip searches ohmy.gif ?, cursory questions about where we're going and how long we'll be there? Bribes to the border guards? mad.gif )
We'll have the paperwork (passports and drivers licenses, vehicle registration and proof of insurance).

Also any recommendations on RV parks in the Toronto and Niagra Falls areas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

FT
John Blue
You have everything you need to travel into Canada. People in Canada are very nice and border police are the same way. You will find everything to be as clean as USA side or more so. I can not help on RV parks in or around Toronto. The 20 years is a good start, keep it up.
COWolfPack
I found a few of websites you might be interested in to give you an idea of what to expect during the crossing.

http://www.necromantic.net/deadparrot/border01.html and http://www.victoriaclipper.com/crossing_the_us_can_border

The two sites above kind of consolidate information that might be useful to you but are not official government websites.

There is also the US Customs and Borders Protection website at:
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/

and the Canadian Border Services Agency webite at:
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel/visitors-e.html

both of which should give you more official information as to what paperwork you need and what you will need to declare and so on.

Don't have any information on camp grounds but these sites should give you any information you need for the crossing.

Hope you have a good trip.
wprigge
Hi FordTruck,
First, you have to know that in April only a few campgrounds in Ontario are open for the season. Often the swimming pools are not operating yet. In the Toronto area I can recommend Bronte Creek Provincial Park. It is situated 20 min. from Toronto and it is operating in April. The only hookup is 30 amps electricity, there are dumping stations. For info check this:
http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/bron.html

May I suggest a trip to the 1000 Islands? If you come into Canada from Waterton, NY, and take the 1000 Islands Bridge, about 2 miles southwest on the 1000 Islands Parkway you have the Ivy Lea KOA that is open in April. I can recommend it as one of the few KOAs with no road noise. The people running it are very nice and can give you good tips on nearby restaurants. http://www.koa.com/where/on/55203/

The 1000 Islands cruise out of Gananoque is very good, especially if you get off at Boldt Casltle. From the 1000 Islands to Toronto is about 300 km / 180 m, roughly 3 hours drive.
For the Niagara Area I have been to the KOA there, but about 17 years ago. It was ok then.

My experiences with border crossings either way are very good. Be cool and polite, answer any questions truthfully and it will be very smooth. I have to admit that I have worked in Western Europe for 4 years during the Cold War and have been to several soviet block countries, so North American border crossings are peanuts for me. Just make sure you don't bring any firearms into Canada. For info check this: http://www.explore.canada.travel/ctc/ke/th...amp;localeId=16

From this official site I copied the following:

American citizens and permanent residents do not require a passport or visa to enter Canada. All you need are travel documents proving identity and proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Acceptable documents include photo identification, such as a valid driver's license, plus a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or green card. If you are travelling with children under 18 years of age, you should carry identification for each child such as a birth certificate or green card. Children travelling without their parents, with one parent, or with guardians, should carry written permission.


As far as I know, to enter back into the US by car you will not need a passport before Jan. 1st, 2008. Of course, a passport is still the best proof of citizenship and if you already have one you might as well bring it.

wprigge
Cheryl Fuller
We took the motorhome into Canada last year. At the border, we were asked if we had any alcohol or tobacco on board. I told them we had a partial bottle of rum and my husband said he had 2 packs of cigars. We were told to pull the rv into a big garage. An agent went thru the motorhome while we were told to wait in an office. he called us out and said that as my bottle of rum was more than half full, he thought i had lied to him as he did not consider that partial. He also said that as my husband had 2 packages plus one extra cigar, he had also lied and he wondered what else we had lied about. To me it was totally bizarre as we had been very polite and I don't think we look like the kind of people who would try to smuggle anything in. He got really cocky and said, i can take all day and tear this thing apart and I opened my mouth to say, "go ahead, we're in no hurry", but my husband shot me "the look" because he knows me and my mouth. Funny thing was, we were towing a car and the guy never looked inside the car, nor put put the slides, one of which conceals a hutch
campinggirl1964
We have been back and forth between Canada and the US with our TT on three separate trips in the last 18 months. Every experience is unique - in some cases they didn't even appear to notice our two sons in the back seat, in others, they talk to them, ask for all of our ID, ask where we work etc. So be prepared to have that info. handy (so far, we've only ever provided birth certificates and driver's licenses and that has been fine).

They will ask the typical where are you going and how long you are staying, etc. - I'm never quite sure why they ask how long you've been gone because I believe they photograph your license as you go through - I guess they're trying to see how honest you are? They may ask to see reservation information etc. - but not likely.

As Cheryl mentioned, they'll ask about alcohol and tobacco, however, they may take certain foods from you (i.e. meat/poultry, vegetables/fruit, etc.) - we don't buy much of the fresh stuff until we arrive at our destination, and then we try to eat it all up before we cross the border again.

This summer we crossed over at Quebec into Vermont and actually drove the trailer through a scanner (something like what you walk through at the airport). They asked us who was riding in the TT - this question really shocked us and I'm sure the looks on our faces were priceless.

The only time we've had any problem was when we claimed that we were bringing back more merchandise than we were allowed by (I thought we could bring back more wink.gif ) - we came close to having the customs officer search the whole trailer but agreed to pay duty on what we had claimed and were only detained for about 15 minutes.

We live in Ontario, about two hours west of Toronto, and typically no one goes camping around here until the May long weekend. However, you may find some parks open in April. We have never been camping around here until the middle of June, so I'm sorry I can't offer any suggestions.

If you head to Niagara Falls, you'll want to be sure to visit Niagara-On-The-Lake - it is a very beautiful quaint little town. As wprigge mentioned, the 1000 Islands is also a very nice area to tour around!

Congratulations on your 20th and enjoy your trip!
Cheryl Fuller
It is my understanding that as of Jan. 8, 2007, passports will be required for all crossings into both Canada and Mexico. This came from my travel agent who was giving us information for an upcoming cruise and we mentioned taking the rv into Canada. She said all land crossings back into the US from that date would require current passport. You might want to double check that info.
genestoy
We were also in Canada this past July and one of our grandson's was travelling with us. Be sure to have a letter of permisssion from your grandchild's parents with both parents signature on it and any ID the child may have. The border folks suggested one other thing to be included in the letter, a phone number where either of the parents can be reached at all times. There were no problems going either way and as others have said, be nice, but serious crossing the border either way, remember they are working folks just doing their job. No mace, firewood or firearms are allowed into Canada. smile.gif
Cheryl
It's probably a good idea to have the parent letter notarized.
jmo
Passports best idea when out of the country. If any emergency and you needed to travel by air you would need a passport.

jmo
Butch
We also had a problem visiting Canada. A female Canadian Border Guard was just plain nasty and was not friendly nor welcoming. This occurred maybe ten years ago at the crossing from Lubec Maine to Campobello Island, New Brunswick. As the events that unfolded are lengthy I will not go into detail, but at the time, We had all the proper documents. We, to this day have chose to stay in our own country, spend our monies here, and support our own economy, their loss ! This country has much to see and experience, more than Canada has any day, in our opinion.
campinggirl1964
Being a Canadian, of course I can't help myself but reply to Butch! I have not been to all states in the U.S., but I have been to most east of Kentucky and down to Florida. I have also been in almost all Canadian provinces. As far as what there is to see - yes, there is alot to see and do in some parts of the States - however, from what I've seen, the scenery is very similar in both countries.

In Canada - to the east, PEI is a very beautiful, quaint province - not the place to go if you are looking for big city entertainment, but a province we travel to regularly (even though it takes two days to get there!). To the west, the mountains in BC and Alberta are breathtaking.

As I said earlier - we have been across the border six times in the last 18 months with our trailer, and 4 times without, only once did we have any kind of problem, and even it wasn't really that bad. Yes, from time to time you get a tough customs officer (and I must admit, it seems that the women are the worst), but if you have everything you need and nothing you shouldn't have, then you should be fine.

My goal is to take my kids to all provinces (3 left to go) and states (28 left!) before they are no longer interested in travelling with us. Unfortunately California is a long way for us to travel with our trailer, so this may be one goal I won't reach!

Happy Travels!
BBear
I've never had a problem crossing into Canada or back into the US. Prior to 2001, they didn't even ask us for ID, was just asked where we're going and how long we're staying and if it was for business or pleasure and if we had any tobacco, alcohol or firearms.

After 2001, when I read you had to have a photo ID, plus either a passport or a birth certificate. So, I went the birth certificate route and had to send away for a new one since I long ago lost mine.

So, the first time we went to cross after 2001, we had everything ready and the only thing he asked for was ID's and he looked at my husbands' and didn't even look at mine. I then asked if he needed to see the birth certificates and he said no and then went on to ask the same questions as we've always been asked and that was it. Same thing coming back in.

This past September I took my sister who is mentally and physically challenged to Niagara Falls for her birthday and we had no problem crossing and my sister didn't even have a photo ID (she had one, but was lost)...I just handed her Social Security Card and birth certificate to him and he didn't really even look at it and said no problem....and we had no problem coming back in.

It seems to me they're more interested in how much alcohol and tobacco you bring across the border than they are in proving identities.
BBear
QUOTE(Butch @ Oct 10 2006, 11:26 AM) *

We also had a problem visiting Canada. A female Canadian Border Guard was just plain nasty and was not friendly nor welcoming. This occurred maybe ten years ago at the crossing from Lubec Maine to Campobello Island, New Brunswick. As the events that unfolded are lengthy I will not go into detail, but at the time, We had all the proper documents. We, to this day have chose to stay in our own country, spend our monies here, and support our own economy, their loss ! This country has much to see and experience, more than Canada has any day, in our opinion.


I agree the US has a lot to see and experience, but I would disagree when you say more than Canada any day. I've been across both countries and they both have a lot to offer depending on what you're preferences are.

To this day my favorite place I've ever visited anywhere in the world has been Vancouver, BC....absolutely breathtaking.
Butch
When I posted our interaction with a female Canadian Border Guard at Campobello Island , New Brunswick, I knew that the posting would draw opposing views. You are surely entitled to your opinion, as we are with ours'. Somewhere I read that eighty plus per cent of the Canadian population reside within one hundred-fifty miles of the US border. Very interesting. If my posting offended anyone, that was not my intention as the posting was meant to add our opinion, and experiences in crossing the Canadian border. Again, it was our "OPINION".
campinggirl1964
Butch - No offence taken at all! Interesting stat you quoted - I've lived in many different cities in Canada, and you're right - I was never more than about 130 miles from the border (many actually were border towns). I guess it makes sense that we've developed in the southern part of Canada, closest to the US, since the north is tundra and rock (and snow, and ice....). Except for the east coast, most of the major cities are just a couple of hours drive from the U.S. I guess that's why it's easy for us to travel there. AND, retailers are very smart - they put large outlet malls nearby!!!! rolleyes.gif
wprigge
Hi Butch,
I understand how you feel about the incident with the nasty border official. Travelling is supposed to be fun, and if every trip to the border will bring bad memories you might as well not come to Canada. I had a run-in with a few arrogant little twits in St. Emilion, France in 1982 and to this day I can not bring it over me to drink a glass of St. Emilion wine. I just want to say that most Border Guards all over the world are simply doing the job their government tells them to do, but once in a while you get one on an off day or a twit on a power trip. Canadian border officials sure don't have the monopoly on this.
cakehead
Avoid the 401 Freeway at all costs, worse than 290 in Chicago or 405 in LA. There is a new tollway that runs paralell a few miles to north.

Ontario Provincial Parks are nice and they ban alcohol on holiday weekends to keep the parties out
campinggirl1964
With the exception of the GTA (Toronto and area), the 401 is normally very good. It is the fastest way to get across Ontario if you are travelling east/west - it goes from Windsor (furthest point west) right through to the Ontario/Quebec border to the east. The tollway that cakehead is referring to is the 407 - it is pretty much a by-pass around the GTA. You don't pay when you get on or off but you get a bill in the mail (it's an electronic tool booth - takes a picture of your license plate). The bill is no treat - the cost is about $20 for 100 km - as long as your total vehicle weight is less than 5,000 kg - if it's more, it will be about $80. We travel in and around the Toronto area fairly often and have only used the 407 once - to us it's not worth the cost. As long as you are not travelling during typical rush hour times it's really not too bad, although the closer you get to Toronto, the more aggressive the drivers - doesn't bother my husband though as we used to live there and he's used to it, not my cup of tea!

This thread was originally about going to Niagara Falls - you don't need to worry about the 401 if that's the case!
wprigge
I agree with campinggirl, the 401 through Toronto is not so bad, and for me it works as long as you avoid the rush hours. The toll road is just too expensive when you pull a trailer. I crossed Toronto twice last summer and only had a slow go for 2 km once. I'm used to Montreal traffic with no way to avoid the bridges to the island and no beltway around, plus the drivers are far more agressive than the good people of Toronto.
Now, to come back to the original subject of this thread, when we crossed into the USA this morning at Rouses Point, NY, we had a nice little chat with the customs officer, no big deal. He didn't even ask about the food we were bringing in. Of course we had checked out on the internet what was permissible and what was not and had packed accordingly. The officer obviously had enough experience to judge us correctly. From my experience the less experienced border officials are the ones that give the most trouble.
I'm writing this from the 80-81 RV Park in Drums, PA. Their WIFI works well, but I had a bad experience while setting up the trailer. An unresponsible dog owner had not picked up after the dog and with all the fallen leaves I didn't see it, and, you guessed, I stepped in the landmine.
I'll write up a review of the park after we spent the night. So far the people running it are very nice and the park is ok, except there is more noise from the interstate than I thought there would be from reading the other reviews.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.