Mar 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm #1270795
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… :)Mar 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm #1711433
No pepper spray I believe is still the rule?
Oh the days before 9/11…..and when customs never shook you down ;-)Mar 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm #1711443
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
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.
v.Mar 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm #1711449
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.Mar 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm #1711465
@skyzoLocale: Borah Gear
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 somethingMar 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm #1711473
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…Mar 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm #1711482
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"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.
–B.G.–Mar 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm #1711491
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.Mar 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm #1711499
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
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.
–B.G.–Mar 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm #1711511
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
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.Mar 20, 2011 at 7:50 am #1711563
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.
PaulMar 20, 2011 at 8:09 am #1711566
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.Mar 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm #1711815
Thanks, all! I guess I'll just bring my regular kit and my passport and answer their questions honestly!Mar 21, 2011 at 9:05 am #1712015
" 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. :)Mar 21, 2011 at 11:04 am #1712089
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.Mar 21, 2011 at 11:07 am #1712093
Ben would be correct ;-) I was willing to do most anything to shut that stupid man up and give me my freedom back!Mar 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm #1712184
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Yes, you do need a notarized statement from the other parent (even if non-custodial) to take a child across the border (either direction).Mar 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm #1712216
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 ;-)Mar 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm #1714805
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.Mar 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm #1714817
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!Mar 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm #1714844
Dan…so do you know why denatured alcohol isn't allowed? That is odd?Mar 30, 2011 at 7:02 pm #1717507
Thanks again for the tips, folks!
Is HEET sold/permitted up there?
I was questioned about my daughter once, and I was not prepared for that, but I told them the true story and they were cool with it (we were just passing through to New York and meeting the wife at our destination.)
Jason, I am meeting some friends at Lion's Head, and the plan for the rest of the long weekend will be revealed to me on a need-to-know basis! Do you have any suggestions?Mar 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm #1717876
"do you know why denatured alcohol isn't allowed?"
No I don't know. It could be that the regulators are afraid people will drink it, as I'm told some desperate people do in other countries. This seems like the only plausible reason I can think of. Like anything, labs & businesses can buy it from chemical companies with the proper credentials, but the lay person can't buy it.Mar 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm #1717896
Wikipedia claims that "Denatured Alcohol" and "Methylated Spirits" are the same thing. So you might just me looking at a difference in vocabulary.Apr 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm #1723037
@mtnratLocale: Southern Cdn Rockies
Instead of heet, just look for gasline antifreeze. We have it everywhere. Many people even keep some in their cars.
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