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Peter Treiber
(peterbt) - M

Locale: A^2
Canada on 03/19/2011 21:07:52 MDT Print View

I'm heading up to the Bruce Peninsula from Michigan this spring. Is there anything I need to worry about declaring at the border or leaving behind -- e.g., knife, denatured alcohol, couscous... :)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Canada on 03/19/2011 21:22:50 MDT Print View

No pepper spray I believe is still the rule?

Oh the days before 9/11.....and when customs never shook you down ;-)

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
canada restrictions on 03/19/2011 21:39:45 MDT Print View

if you are flying in, you have to deal with all the TSA caca.
but if driving or strolling thru, i think all they will need to see is ID, and a smallish amount of alcohol and smokes.
they tax the poup out of those things and people forever try and smuggle in more than the allowed dosage.
they sell bear spray in canada, and it's Nasty stuff too.
and no short guns of course.
i have had permethrin removed from my postal shipments and destroyed. ie, re-label it.
for an extended stay, they may want to see proof of health care. and you'll want it too after you find out about their's.


Jason Picard
(jasonpicard) - F
Canada on 03/19/2011 21:47:06 MDT Print View

Reply from a Canadian who's crossed the border many a time:

Knife and denat alcohol aren't items to worry about. Definitely do not bring bear spray or firearms. Essentially they are only interested in tobacco, alcohol, weapons, or items you are 'importing and leaving in Canada'. Keep the knife and fuel with the rest of your camping kit, call it camping gear if they ask, and there should be no problem.

Edited by jasonpicard on 03/19/2011 21:48:50 MDT.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Canada on 03/19/2011 22:12:31 MDT Print View

Going into Canada I've never had any problems. Went backpacking up there, and had denatured alcohol, knife, and a couple fifths of whiskey. After I told the guys at the border station this, they typed in some stuff, gave me a map and told me to have a great time. Coming back into USA though, I declared to the US guys that I had a knife in my backpacking kit, and they made me pull over and search the rest of my vehicle for 30 minutes. Kind if ridiculous but I guess they may have thought they'd find something

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Coming Back on 03/19/2011 22:22:56 MDT Print View

Yeah, I feel interrogated almost every time I come back to the US. I know the agents are just doing their job to keep us safer... but still....

One time, a border agent went through EVERY FRIGGIN' PAGE of my passport, but couldn't understand anything but English. He then asked ME to translate all the visas for him!! I feel pretty confident that "if" I had Sudanese and Pakistani visas, I could tell him those were Iceland and Norway -- and he wouldn't know any different.

Last time I came back from Canada, the US agent asked me where I lived (LA) and then "tested my geography" by asking me whether I have property in San Francisco!?!

But yes, there are times when I get waved through with minimal questions -- so it's not always so bad...

Edited by ben2world on 03/19/2011 22:29:44 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Coming Back on 03/19/2011 22:45:51 MDT Print View

"Last time I came back from Canada, the US agent asked me where I lived (LA) and then "tested my geography" by asking me whether I have property in San Francisco!?!'

Benjamin, that sounds to me like an ICE agent that was doing his job. I've had them ask me similar questions. They want to ask you some completely off-the-wall question that you could not have memorized some legitimate answer for. If you had suddenly started running for the door, then his game had worked.

Friends of mine have a 7-year-old daughter who carries her own passport. I would love to hear the questions that the ICE agent asks her, and the answers. The kid's mother stands back about twenty feet to supervise.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Coming Back on 03/19/2011 23:00:20 MDT Print View

Agree, Bob. It's a thankless job they have to do, I know -- which is why I prefaced my rant above. There have been good moments too -- I guess the good balances out the idiotic.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Coming Back on 03/19/2011 23:24:23 MDT Print View

Once decades ago, I had been overseas fighting for freedom, yada yada... You know, it was a nameless war in a nameless land fighting for an oppressed population that didn't seem to care. After 14 months, I returned to the U.S. near Seattle, walked down the steps off the aircraft, and kissed the tarmac. A minute later, the agent was getting ready to pounce on me for all of the contraband that I must be carrying.

He stuck his hand down into my duffle bag, felt around a minute, and then waved me on... then said "Thank you for your service. Welcome home." So, I shook his hand.

I don't blame them a bit for the job that they do.


Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Coming Back on 03/20/2011 00:38:09 MDT Print View

There are certain limits of alcohol and cigarettes you can bring in. its usually a couple of 40's and a couple of cartons. Bear spray should be fine, but may not be worth the risk.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
Passport or .. on 03/20/2011 08:50:33 MDT Print View


I am presuming you are in Ann Arbor based on you're locale description.

You probably did know this but in case not, you will need a passport or one of the enhanced driver's licenses that the State of Michigan offers.

The site below is - a good site....and thorough.

Any children, your own or others, will need specific documents.

Never had real problems on my many crossings. I you are on a rigid schedule account for an hour crossing in each direction but especially returning.

Never been to Bruce but I believe it is part of the Canandian Shield and have heard good things. Our cousins to the north (east in your case) have some remarkable country. A longer drive and absolutely spectacular is the La Cloche Silhouette trail near Killarney. Enjoy.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Passport or .. on 03/20/2011 09:09:09 MDT Print View

Everyone, and everyone - including babies - needs a passport or passport card now for flying. For driving/walking you can use an enhanced drivers license if your state has that - but honestly the passport is SO much better and about the same cost.

My favorite coming back into the US was the guy who decided it was my turn to listen to him rant (for a good 30 minutes) about how America was going to heII in a handbasket due to single mothers due to him not liking my oldest son's birth certificate. It was patronizing and unprofessional to say the least but not like I could do anything about it. Eventually Ford started wailing which shut the man up.

Peter Treiber
(peterbt) - M

Locale: A^2
Canada on 03/20/2011 19:50:37 MDT Print View

Thanks, all! I guess I'll just bring my regular kit and my passport and answer their questions honestly!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Passport or .. on 03/21/2011 10:05:54 MDT Print View

" Eventually Ford started wailing which shut the man up."

Correction: Eventually, I pinched Ford real hard and he started wailing which shut the man up. :)

David Dixon
Canada on 03/21/2011 12:04:20 MDT Print View

My son and I have traveled in and through Canada the past several summers. I never have trouble going into Canada as long as I present my passport, a notarized permission from his mother, and the approved bear spray. I just put all those items next to me in the front seat so I don't have to dig around for them. The Canadian officials have been consistently friendly and couteous in B.C. and Alberta.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Passport or .. on 03/21/2011 12:07:34 MDT Print View

Ben would be correct ;-) I was willing to do most anything to shut that stupid man up and give me my freedom back!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Canada on 03/21/2011 15:07:27 MDT Print View

Yes, you do need a notarized statement from the other parent (even if non-custodial) to take a child across the border (either direction).

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Canada on 03/21/2011 15:55:17 MDT Print View

Yeah...the whole taking kids can be a pain due to travel restrictions. With the oldest, I didn't want his dad's name on the birth certificate back then and it worked out well - we'd go traveling without any issues ;-) Just him and me! But then a couple years ago I had my oldest son's birth certificate changed so it reflects both parents - easy enough though to get a passport - I just had to hand over a notarized copy of the court paperwork with the application. His "dad" has no parental rights, so he has no say in where I take my oldest when we travel.
It wasn't fun in changing things but was more fair to my son. Even it meant another step for me and my husband.
I do carry a copy of the notarized paperwork (I have multiple copies) that shows I have all parental rights for when we travel - even with his passport. I do that because of different last names.

Oh the days of taking the walk on ferry to Canada and just showing my drivers license and waving a tattered BC for the boy ;-)

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Denatured Alcohol on 03/25/2011 19:16:56 MDT Print View

Denatured alcohol is technically not allowed in Canada. You can't buy it here and you're not supposed to bring it in, although virtually all of the time the border agent won't know this and take it. If they do know and they take it, it's not a huge deal....kinda like being caught with a couple apples or something.

If you want to play things safe, you could leave it at home and buy some 'methylated spirits' at any hardware store once you get here. This is methanol rather than ethanol and it's not quite as efficient but it's not bad.

Jason Knecht
(distortedaxis) - F

Locale: Earth
Weapons on 03/25/2011 19:34:19 MDT Print View

If they ask, say no. If they ask for a knife in particular say yes. Afterall your knife is a tool not a weapon and you wouldn't be fibbing to the customs officer.

If I remember correctly there are some stipulations on knives. I thought the blade couldn't be more than 4' in length nor double-sided. I can't find it via my iPhone at the moment but you might want to double check.

On a different note; what are your plans for BP? It's a great place!