Crossing the Border: Limits and Restrictions

The boarder crossing restrictions are constantly changing. Be sure to check into what you can bring with you north of the border this summer!

Border Crossing: The War on Fruits and Veggies
By: Joel Prunty

If you are an avid Canadian angler, you may remember a few years back when dumpsters near the Canadian border were packed full of potatoes (Maybe even including a bag or two of you own). This massive disposal of perfectly good potatoes was an international “tit-for-tat” between two friendly countries. Not only did this restriction waste hundreds of thousands of delicious American potatoes, but it left countless fisherman feeling like the Canadian Government had just ripped 10 bucks from their wallet!

What suddenly made American potatoes unworthy in Canada? It was actually retaliation from the Canadian government for the previous restriction that the U.S. had placed on Canadian beef imports over a mad cow scare. Canada’s answer was... of all things, potatoes. In turn, this petty restriction alienated thousands of tourists whose only intentions were to fry those tasty potatoes on the shores of a Canadian lake.

That in a microcosm explains the strange border crossing rules between our two (otherwise great) countries. To this day travelers pulling up to the US/Canada border are left with a myriad of policies that are more about tax revenue, protecting special interests, and retaliation than what’s best for their residents. The truth of the matter is that, more often than not, all that these restrictions accomplish is an unwelcome feeling from the neighboring travelers.

Also, don’t get it mistaken with my personal stories, it’s not just the Canadian government responsible for these petty rules and regulations. For example, the U.S. restricts virtually all fruit from entering the country. This even includes fruit that was purchased in the U.S. that is returning with you after a trip north of the border.

The good news is U.S. POTATOES are now welcome in Canada again! Provided they are #1 grade and still in the commercial bag – whew!

Actually, crossing the Canadian border is a very simple process and well worth the effort to experience true wilderness and world-class fisheries. With that in mind, here are the basics of prohibited and restricted items entering Canada, see links below for a complete list. I’d love to hear your thoughts on crossing the Canadian border.

Duty Free limits (You can exceed these limits, but they will be subject to tax and duty.)

  • Alcohol – Per Person: One case of beer, or 1.5 liters of wine, or 40 oz of liquor.
  • Tobacco – Per Person: 10 packs of cigarettes, or 50 cigars

For a complete list visit Canada Border Crossing

Prohibited items:

  • Live Bait-Fish of any kind Including Minnows and Leeches (Minnows and leeches are reasonably priced in Canada).
  • Night Crawlers in Dirt – You can, however, take them in artificial bedding
  • Dog Food with Meat Byproducts
  • Firewood
  • Radar Detectors

Here are a few websites to visit before crossing the border this summer:

Canada Welcomes You – Answers to all of your Questions

Border Wait Times – Real Time Information

U.S. State Department – Passport Requirements

See you in Canada!

To begin planning your next Canadian trip, visit our Adventure Match to find the perfect lodge to suit your personal fishing and/or hunting preferences.

Editors Note: Joel Prunty is the president of Fishulo,llc and is passionate about using his expertise in Canadian wilderness travel to assist anglers and hunters in planning adventures. Over a 20 year association with a Canadian fishing and hunting sportshow producer, Joel visited over 300 of Canada's BEST lodges, resorts and outfitters. He currently sits on the Marketing Advisory Council for Tourism Saskatchewan and was previously named the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association‘s (NOTO) member-of-the-year.

More stories from the Scout network you might enjoy:
Save Money and Add Flexibility to Your Next Trip
Border Crossing Tips for an Easy Trip North This Summer!

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