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Posted: 11/26/2003 6:17:16 AM EDT
Just got back from 4 days in Thunder Bay Ontario. Some things I learned.

Seatbelts are mandatory everywhere.

Local Police, Fire and Medical are top notch.

Canadian citizens are great, almost vomitously polite. It felt like we were in bizarro world as people went out of their way to assist us. It felt "normal" to cross back into the US and experience our first road rage driver.

Canadians drive too slow. The speed limit on freeways was 90km/h (56mph) but everyone stuck to around 40mph.

Never cross into Canada with three other men dressed in suits and long coats, unless you're there for business. We were questioned by Customs/Immigration for 30min because of our dress. One young guard said we were "dressed suspiciously for leisurely travel". Perhaps it didn't help that our resident smartmouth Dan said in his best Russian accent: "We vont to make good impression een your country". Thankfully they recognized our attempts at humor and finally let us pass.

When crossing the border, it helps to have reservations at a hotel as opposed to saying "we're just going to look for one". It also helps to carry more than a driver's license; preferably also a birth certificate, passport, or some other form of ID.

When returning to the US, it makes it easier if you have receipts from the Hotel where you've stayed.

If I were a smuggler, which I'm not, it would have been too easy to smuggle something, even firearms, into both countries. Canadian Customs searched the inside of our car and trunk only. They did not look under the car or under the hood. US Customs did likewise. There were also no drug/bomb sniffing dogs present. It may have been due to the particular people working those days, but we were surprised.

All in all, Canada is a great place to get away for a few days.

V

Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:50:04 AM EDT
I go over to Ontario 3-4 times a year and have never been searched either way.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 8:21:27 AM EDT
that's ok, now you will be both added to a list and be full cavity searched on your next trips, lol
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:08:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VICAP: It felt "normal" to cross back into the US and experience our first road rage driver. Canadians drive too slow. The speed limit on freeways was 90km/h (56mph) but everyone stuck to around 40mph.
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Driving 40 in the fast lane when a higher speed is attainable in Vancouver, BC is a sure way to get nasty looks, flipped off, and cut off. And if you want to take your life in your hands or at the very least get the daylights scared out of you, go for a ride with one of the Pakistani/Indian/whatever they are cab drivers up here. [shock] But I agree, Canada is a great place. To visit. Vancouver is an especially interesting, diverse, and geographically awesome city. I enjoy my time here. Which is probably a good thing since I'm here so much and am in fact posting this from Burnaby.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:22:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VICAP: Canadians drive too slow. The speed limit on freeways was 90km/h (56mph) but everyone stuck to around 40mph.
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Obviously Ontario and not Quebec.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:22:21 AM EDT
Customs knows my family pretty well...my dad travels up there too much! When we first started going they would ask our nationality and at the same time we all said "TEXAS." Literally their next question was "Do you have any firearms or other weapons which your bringing into the country." if we were at the airport dad would act like he was checking his pockets.....you know feeling the outside...he;d look up and say "uuugh......nope....left'em all at home!"
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:27:20 AM EDT
I visited Toronto a few times. What I learned; The women dont wear bra's or shave their pits. Teens cant go into rated R movies, even with their parents. Your waiter is just as likely to speak french, italian, german, as english. The Canadian border police are much nicer to Americans comming in than the US Customs is to Americans comming back.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:31:54 AM EDT
I too have enjoyed my time in Canada. We had a sister company in Toronto about 5 years ago, and I visited often. There is a higher percentage of dead sexy women up there, as many seem to have avoided the 'princess' attitudes that physically attractive women in the US generally develop (an absolute turn off). My observations about Canada: Good 1. Generally Friendly 2. Public services and employees (Transport, Municipal employment, etc...) are not as stigmatized as for the poor, or run by unmotivated paycheck grabbers) 3. Even the most grissled greasy mechanic, still speaks perfectly. "I'd like to talk to you aboot your decayed bushings!" Here in VA, sometimes I have a difficult time wading through country jibberish of some folks. "Dem's rubbah bushins is wone out!" Bad 1. WAY overregulated (just try and fire someone up there) 2. Try and differentiate themselves from us, as if being American is a bad thing and something to be avoided. Nationalisim is one thing, but some take it too far...
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:34:06 AM EDT
"The women dont wear bra's or shave their pits" Where the crap were you, some hippy commune?
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 11:40:57 AM EDT
Reminds me of a story. In the very early 80's my dad and a friend of his took my two brothers and I to a gunshow in Chatham, Ont. The border patrol about had a fit with them... Two male adults taking 3 young kids into Canada in a semi beater car apparently is a tip off for a search ; ) We got waylaid for a couple hours while they asked us questions and stuff. Went to Toronto last fall. It was great, one of the nicest cities I've been to. Very clean, and the restaurants (with the exception of one ... GRRRRR) were really good. Toronto's a great place to see a show. jim
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