Only 50km from the Pigeon River border crossing, Thunder Bay welcomes thousands of visitors from the U.S. every year. Crossing the border is a simple process but there are some things you need to know before you do. 

Crossing the Canada-U.S. border

You must carry proper identification for yourself and any children travelling with you to help confirm your legal right to enter Canada when you arrive.

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification. If you are a U.S. permanent resident, ensure you carry proof of your status such as a U.S. Permanent Resident Card.

Visit Canada Border Services Agency for the most current information about identification requirements for entering Canada or contact them for more information.

Questions regarding re-entry to the United States can be directed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection or contact them for more information.

Minors (under the age of 16)

Travellers aged 15 and under require a birth certificate for land or sea travel and a passport for air travel.  If you are traveling with your own children under the age of 16 and your spouse, bring their birth certificates. If you are traveling with a child other than your own or without your spouse, have the child's birth certificate along with a letter of permission, including name and contact information for that child's parents/guardians or your spouse. This is needed in case Customs officers decide to verify you have permission to bring the child into Canada.

What can you bring into Canada?

Residents of the United States who visit Canada are allowed to bring in a "reasonable" amount of personal goods duty free. The amount you bring should align with your length of stay. Limits for some of the regulated items:


If you are 19 years of age or older and crossing the border into Ontario, you can bring, free of duty and taxes, either 1.5 litres (50oz) or wine, 1.14 litres (40oz) of liquor, or 24 x 355 millimetres (12oz) of beer or ale. If you bring in more than the amount listed here, you will be required to pay the duty at the Border on excess amounts. Make sure you fully declare all alcohol in your possession.

Food Products

What is and what is not allowed changes frequently, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website for current information prior to your departure.


Dogs and cats accompanying their owners from the U.S. must have current (within 36 months) rabies vaccination certificates. Owners from other countries who wish to bring their pets with them should contact 1-800-442-2342/1-613-225-2342/TTY 1-800-465-7735 or visit the Canadian Inspection Agency website.


If you are 19 years of age or older and crossing the border into Ontario, you are allowed to bring, free of duty, 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 200 grams (7oz) of manufactured tobacco and 200 tobacco sticks. You may bring additional quantities, but you will be required to pay duties and taxes on the excess amounts.

What can you bring back from Canada?

U.S. residents leaving Canada after a 48-hour stay may return with $800 U.S. worth of goods including the following:

 Alcoholic beverages

One litre (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages may be included in your exemption if you are 21 years old, it is for your own use or as a gift; it does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.

 Tobacco products

Up to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars.

 Joint declaration

Family members who live in the same home and return together to the United States may combine their personal exemptions.

 Exemption amount

If you have been out of the country more than once in a 30-day period or because you haven't been out of the country for at least 48 hours, the exemption is $200 U.S. You may include with $200 exemption your choice of the following: 50 cigarettes and 10 cigars and 150 millilitres (5 fl. oz. of alcoholic beverages or 150 millilitres (5 fl. oz. of perfume containing alcohol.) Family members may not group their exemptions.

Fishing and hunting

Boaters - How to report your entry

Pleasure crafts may enter Canada by trailer or under their own power. All boats powered by motors 10HP or over must be licensed. Boat licenses from outside Ontario are accepted. Operator Competency Requirements for Pleasure Craft - Regulation requires that all operators of motorized pleasure crafts have proof of competency and proof of age on board at all times. An operator card or equivalent, issued to a non-resident by their state or country, will be considered as proof of competency. For information visit the Safe Boater website.

Planning to "land" your vessel on Canadian soil or did you leave Canadian waters and land on US soil? All private boaters who intend to land on Canadian soil, or who have departed Canadian waters and landed on US soil are required to report to a CBSA designated marine reporting site. Upon arrival at this designated site, call the Telephone Reporting Centre at 1-888-226-7277 from the phone provided to obtain clearance. Not planning to "land" your vessel or did you leave Canadian waters but did not land on US soil? You still need to report to the CBSA. Certain private boaters may contact the CBSA by calling the TRC at 1-888-226-7277. For more detailed information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency.

Fishing regulations

Licenses: All non-residents of Canada who want to fish in Ontario require a current non-resident sports fishing license and a non-resident Outdoors Card. Non-residents under the age of 18 may fish without a license if accompanied by a licensed family member. Any fish caught are part of the limit of the person with the license. Canadian residents require a resident fishing license and a current resident Outdoors Card.


You cannot bring live minnows, smelts, leeches or any other bait fish into Ontario from the United States. Night crawlers are allowed but they must be brought in containers with artificial bedding only.

Limits and regulations

With countless lakes and streams, it is important that anglers are aware of the general regulations and of any exceptions to the general regulations (e.g. specific slots or catch and possession limits) that may apply to the lake you will be fishing.

Hunting Regulations

Non-residents must have one of the following to obtain a hunting license:

An Ontario non-resident hunting license issued to you after January 1, 1968.

A hunting license issued to you after January 1, 1968 by a competent authority in a jurisdiction where you were a resident of that jurisdiction.

An Ontario hunting license verification certificate showing your license to hunt in Ontario or that you passed the hunting license examination.

Visit the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for further information.

Firearms Information

Residents of the US over the age of 18 may bring a hunting rifle or shotgun into Ontario for hunting purposes. You are also allowed to bring up to 200 rounds of ammunition duty free, or up to 1,500 rounds for use at a recognized competition. Firearms are subject to a registration fee. It is suggested that you contact the Canada Firearms Centre for information before you attempt to import a firearm.

Residents of the US are encouraged to pre-register their firearms prior to arriving. Handguns, fully automatic weapons, modified weapons, stun guns, mace and other weapons are not allowed in Canada. Proper storage of the firearm is important so make sure you are aware of the regulations. Of special note, firearms of any kind are forbidden in many of Canada's National and Provincial Parks and adjacent areas.

For more information on importing your firearm into Canada and to receive a registration form contact the Canadian Firearms Centre at 1-800-731-400 or 1-506-624-5380.


Currency and financial services

Most businesses accept Visa, Mastercard and AmEx and many accept U.S. with reasonable exchange rates. For those using cash, it is recommended that visitors convert their cash to Canadian dollars for ease of use.

For today's exchange rate visit the Bank of Canada's Exchange Daily Converter.

Chartered banks are located in virtually all cities and towns. These full-service institutions are the best locations for exchanging currency.

In Ontario, most purchases are subject to a 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). For more information on this sales tax visit the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Holidays and Observances

 In Ontario, most banks, government offices/services and retail stores are closed on official holidays. There are some exceptions. Check the website of the business/organization you are looking for to see if they are open on the holiday.

Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program

This program provides relief in respect of certain property and services used in the course of conventions held in Canada and the accommodation portion of tour packages for non-residents. Visit Canada Revenue Agency for more information on eligibility.

Important Notice for U.S. Residents

If you or anyone in your party has a prior criminal conviction, you may not be allowed into Canada. This includes DUI offences. Your admissibility to Canada depends on the nature of the offence, how many offences you have, as well as how long ago it/they occurred. If this applies to you or someone traveling with you, it is imperative you contact Immigration Canada well in advance of your arrival. You will likely have to complete some paperwork and Immigration Canada authorities will then advise you of the likelihood of being allowed into Canada. Final determination of your admissibility into Canada is only made when you cross the border.

Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada online or at the Canadian Consulate in New York, NY regarding any forms you may be required to fill out. You may also wish to call an Immigration Officer at the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Port of Entry to discuss your situation at 1-800-461-9999 or 1-204-983-3500 (calls outside of Canada).

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