We had a long drive planned from Eastern Michigan to our campground near Niagara Falls. Originally, we were not going to take the short route across Canada to try to avoid any complications with the border crossing. However, the drive through the States would be 2 hours longer, so we decided to take our chances at the border. It was really fortunate that we did, because pulling the trailer makes every trip longer. The entire day of travel ended up being over 8 hours even though according to Google Maps it was around 6 hours. Since this was the first time either of us had driven across the border, we really didn’t know what to expect. We probably should have done more research ahead of time, but we did remember our passports and asked the vet for a certificate of health for our cat before we left.
The border crossing we used was the Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron, MI/Sarnia, ON. Our border crossing experience went as follows. First there was a toll on the bridge, $3.00 for the vehicle and $3.00 for each extra axle. So it cost us $9.00 with our two axle travel trailer. Next, we drove to the checkpoint at the Canadian Border, where the traffic split into multiple lanes. There was about a 30 minute wait for us to get to a booth with a border agent. The agent asked for our identification and had a series of questions related to where we were coming from, where we we going, what we had with us, and how long we’d be staying. Additionally, the agent made it very clear that all firearms and weapons must be declared and asked us multiple times if we had any. After the rigorous questioning, it seemed that we answered everything to the agent’s satisfaction and we were allowed to move on.
Overall the crossing into Canada was pretty painless. I was surprised that they didn’t ask for any documentation for the cat, but I would imagine that it may all depend on the agent. We were also very relieved that they didn’t decide that they would need to search our truck and trailer. While we were sure not to bring any contraband, a search would have just meant a much longer delay. It didn’t take long for us to be on the Canadian roadways where we had to be conscious that speed limits were in Kilometers, not Miles per hour. Additionally, when we stopped for food and gas it was a little difficult to tell how much we were spending because of the exchange rate. We put our purchases on the credit card, and avoided having to do any math.
We crossed back into the United States on the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge at Queenston, ON/Lewiston, NY. There was a toll again but this time we were able to use out I-PASS, so not sure if we were charged any more than the basic toll. The electronic tolling system used in Illinois is also accepted in many states in the Northeast that use the EZ-Pass System. The traffic split into multiple lanes once again to wait for a border crossing agent. After another 20-30 minute wait we had our turn with the agent. The questions were about the same as crossing into Canada, and the interview went fairly quickly after the agent inspected our passports.
I would say that we have no regrets about taking the route across Canada, even with the wait at the two border crossings we saved time, and probably a little bit of fuel. That will probably be one of our longest legs on our entire trip, and we enjoyed the small adventure into Canada, if only for a couple of hours.