Traveling to Canada?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by yg17, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #1
    I've got 3 weeks between my last day of finals and my first day of my summer internship, and I'm kinda considering driving up to Toronto for a week or so just to check it out. It's relatively close (looks like I can get from STL to Toronto in a day) and I've always wanted to go there.

    Some questions though:
    1. What's involved in getting into Canada? What sort of paperwork do I need? I don't have a passport, would I need to get one? I don't want to drive all the way up to the border and have to turn around. Likewise, I guess getting back into the US won't be a problem, after all, I was born here and am a legal citizen. Also, I guesstimated a day of travel time without taking into account sitting at the border. About how long do you normally wait at the border?
    2. How expensive is it up there, for things like food, gas, etc. Am I going to break the bank with this trip? St. Louis is relatively cheap for all that compared to other places in the US I've been, how does Toronto compare?
    3. What would you recommend I see in Toronto? The CN tower and Hockey Hall Of Fame are a must for me. What else is there?
    4. Should I even bother with currency exchange, or does every place up there take Visa just like they do here? Although it would be cool to have a few bucks in Canadian money.
    5. If I do go, I obviously need a hotel, what are some good areas to look for a hotel in? I don't need anything fancy. Just the basics: bed, crapper, TV, (free) internet connection.

    Then, I suppose the million dollar question for any American going to another country.......how well are Americans treated? I've heard we're not too well liked elsewhere for obvious reasons. And while normally if I was going out of the country, I would just pretend to be Canadian and avoid any hassle (just have to use aboot and eh :D), that's not going to be as easy if I have my car with me with Missouri license plates. D'oh. Although, I do have a sticker of the same No W thing in my avatar on my back window, so I may be OK.

    Thanks
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    I believe a birth certificate and photo ID (like your driver's license) will work instead of a passport, and when I went a couple of years ago, we didn't have to wait long a "customs" at all (we took the Washington State ferry over to Victoria).

    As Americans, we were treated just fine. Actually, our CA license plate got us out of a traffic fine. :D
     
  3. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #3
    Ah, OK. That's easy enough.

    They don't check car titles/registration to make sure you're not trying to bring in a stolen vehicle or something, do they? Because my dad's name is on the car's title, even though I drive it. I thought someone told me they did :\
     
  4. TheDance511 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    California soon
    #4
    i go to canada every saturday... i live in michigan about an hour away or a little longer... you dont need a passport now...but soon you will they are tightening up the borders.... and everything is cheaper..not much but a little
     
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    They didn't check ours, but of course, the Washington State ferry crossing might have different rules.
     
  6. quigleybc macrumors 68030

    quigleybc

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    #6
    phew, that's a big post just to go to TO

    come on up, bring a drivers license

    all good

    last time I went from the USA to CAN (on the west coast) they didn't even ask me for ID....
     
  7. Elixer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    #7
    By law right now all you should need to cross into canada is your drivers liscense. It is usually good to have a birth certificate for coming back to the US. Nobody will give you any problems going up there, but i am korean american and they gave me trouble coming home once. If you "look" american there shouldnt be any probs at all. My girlfriend crosses all the time since we live in buffalo, and she never has a problem. She says when you go up they will ask you your citizenship, where your going, where your staying, and how long you will be there. Coming home they will ask you your "country of origin", citizenship, why you were in canada and what you purchased while you were there ie "are you bringing anything home with you. As for hotels we typically go to niagara falls so i cant help you there, however toronto has a bunch of youth hostels that can be as cheap as 20 dollars a night. You can use american cash at a lot of places, but they rip you off with the exchange rate. Either exchange your cash at a casino (they have good rates) Or use your visa to pay in canadian funds...your bank will make the exchange and it will come out of your account in US funds. Any other questions just ask and i will help if i can.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #8
    I'm sure that's true almost all the time if you're a white American. If not, bring your birth certificate and any other ID you have, just in case.


    I'm from Toronto, and I'm not old (yet), so I do have a bit of insight on what to do there. ;)

    If you're coming over to Toronto via Buffalo and Niagara Falls, you may as well spend a day in the Niagara region. There are a lot of great wineries, as well as the Niagara Falls, and the Maid of the Mist boat ride so that you can get very close to the waterfall (and get wet). There are lots of haunted houses and weird things to do Clifton Hill, which is the name of a famous street. Yes, they have Haunted Houses, and yes, they're actually scary.....scarier than I thought they would be. Got to give credit to "Nightmares" for coming up with something that would scare a university crowd. My friend pissed himself (a little, he claimed) after trying to walk through the house. He didn't make it through and they had to turn on the lights. :p We laughed at him until we did it ourselves. I made it through, but totally understand why he had to quit.

    If you're in Toronto, I guess you can just walk down Queen St if you want to do some shopping. I really don't know what you do for fun, but shopping is easy enough. Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is interesting if you like Art.

    If you want to drink, there's a bar on "the Esplanade" (which is small, famous street) that has a lot of different types of beers, all of which are good. It's called "The Bier Markt", and if you want to try some of the best beers, go there. It's expensive, though. They even have Leffe Brun, which is my favourite beer (not Canadian, but still fantastic). It's hard to find in any bar, and even at the beer store (Ontario beer stores are called "The Beer Store", just to be clear ;) ).

    St. Lawrence Market has a lot of very fresh, and sometimes organic, foods. I believe you can get 100% organic maple syrup there. If you're talking about the good maple syrups (not Aunt Jemimas crap), there are different types that are categorised on their viscosity (ie: thickness). I like thicker maple syrup. I don't know if buying maple syrup was on the agenda (but it should be). :D

    Take a tour of Air Canada centre as well if you like hockey and/or basketball. It's close to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Actually, so is the Esplanade. (We like hockey and beer. :p )
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #9
    Your charge card company will charge you an additional 2.5% commission on top of the 'bank' rate for exchange, so be prepared to lose 4.5% more than the 'official' rate. Of course, retailers usually chage about 10% worse than official on American cash. Bank cash machines will charge the 2.5% exchange premium PLUS $1.50 to $5.00 transaction charge. Best is to exchange some money at one go and carry cash for small transactions.

    If you are worried about the car, get a notarized letter from your parent granting you permission to take the car cross border and keep it with the insurance and registration papers.

    There are certain foods and plant products that you can't carry over the border, even if they are in your lunch bag.

    Do I have to mention that a handgun of any kind will get you turned around at the border by the Canadian Customs service or jailed and fined if you attempt to conceal it? Even if you have a legal carry permit. Every year we have gun-toters surprised as all heck to find out that the big signs saying "no guns allowed" applies to them. This goes for any passengers in your car too.

    Returning to the US with anything resembling drug paraphanalia will give you major grief. A 14 year old BC girl was detained at the US border without charge or representation and deported because she had a charm bracelet with a charm that resembled a hash pipe. A charm. A 3/4" long piece of jewellery. So don't plan on bringing home any glassware or natural products from The Hemp Store.
     
  10. Teh Don Ditty macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Location:
    Maryland
    #10
    I went to Montréal, Quebec (The Country within a Country) in Oct of 2005 to see the New York Islanders play the Montréal Canadiens. My friends and I were treated very nicely. Random people stopped to talk to us about hockey and what we were doing up there. Great people, great hockey fans.

    To answer a few of your questions:

    You need a driver's license and your birth certificate. (As some have already mentioned)

    I exchanged all my American money for Canadian. In Montréal there is a currency exchange on every block (no joke). Their $5 bill has a hockey player on it! I love it! (More of an image of a hockey player, not a real live or dead one)

    Most of all, enjoy yourself! You'll have a lot of fun up there.
     
  11. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #11
    Haha, don't worry, I won't be carrying any guns or drug paraphanalia.

    Thanks for all of the advice guys, really appreciated :)
     
  12. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #12
    Have fun!

    I haven't been to Toronto in about 3 years now, but I really love it there.

    I will say get some Canadian cash just because most stores/restaurants/bars will much prefer it and you'll get a better exchange.
     

Share This Page