Crossing the Border
About 30 million visitors cross the border every year from the United States
into Canada and an additional 18 million visitors arrive by boat or airplane
from the USA and every other nation on earth. Visit the Canada Customs website
for more information to make the crossing easier.
Border Crossing Update
Click here to view estimated wait times for crossing the Canada-United States
borders. Border crossing wait times are updated every 10 minutes.
Customs & Duties
To enter into Canada, Americans are not required to have passports. However, you
must have personal identification that proves citizenship, such as a birth
certificate. Some country's residents require visas. If you are unsure about any
of these requirements, it is best to check with the nearest Canadian Consulate
office before your trip to Canada.
For Visitors to Canada:
As a non-resident of Canada visiting Ontario, you may bring in any reasonable
amount of personal effects and food, and a full tank of gas. Special
restrictions or quotas apply to certain specialty goods, and especially to
plant, agricultural and animal-related materials.
For more detailed information, please contact one of the following Revenue
Toronto, Ontario Tel: (905) 612-7937
Windsor, Ontario Tel: (519) 257-6400
Hamilton, Ontario Tel: (905) 308-8715
Duty-Free Limits for Visitors Returning to U.S.
U.S. residents returning to the United States after 48 hours can take back $400
US worth of merchandise duty free every 30 days. After a visit of less than 48
hours or if the $400 allowance or part of it has been used within the previous
30 days, an exemption of $200 U.S. is allowed.
Absence from U.S. Total Amount
(U.S. $) Alcohol Allowances Tobacco Allowances How Often?
(no minimum time) $200 150 ml.
(4 oz.) 10 Cigars
48 hours $400 1 Litre
(33.8oz.) of Liquor 1 Carton
and 100 Cigars (non-Cuban) Monthly
Members of a family travelling together may combine their personal exemptions
except in the case of the $200 exemption. Articles brought back into the U.S. as
part of an exemption must be for personal or household use. They must be brought
with the person and properly declared. They must not be prohibited or restricted
items. The duty charged varies on the country the article was made in and the
type of article.
For further information on entering or re-entering the United States, please
contact U.S. Customs.
Motorists crossing the U.S./Niagara border, and air travellers leaving at major
airports, will find duty free shops where they can enjoy duty-free shopping for
goods that are to be taken with them directly into the United States.
There are Duty-Free shops open year round. Locations and approximate hours of
business are listed below.
Nearest City Location Open Phone Number Nearest U.S. Land Port
Queenston, ON Lewiston/
Queenston Bridge 24 hours Tel: (905) 262-5363 Lewiston, NY
Niagara Falls, ON Rainbow Bridge varies Tel: (905) 374-3700 Niagara Falls, NY
Fort Erie, ON Peace Bridge Plaza 24 hours Tel: (905) 871-5400 Buffalo, NY
GST Tax Rebates
The GST Visitor Rebate Program offers tax refunds to both tourists and to
business travelers. Instant cash rebates can be claimed at Canadian Duty Free
Stores located at international border crossings.
What You Should Know About Taxes
There is an 8% Provincial Sales Tax (PST), a 7 % federal value-added General
Services Tax (GST), special taxes on food and liquor in restaurants, and a room
tax on visitor accommodation.
As a visitor you will be charged:
GST - the federal Goods and Services Tax of 7 %. This is a value-added
consumption tax that applies to most goods, purchased gifts, food/beverages, and
services, including most hotel and motel accommodation.
PST - the Ontario provincial sales tax of 8% on any goods you buy, but not on
services or accommodation.
Room Tax - a 5% provincial tax (in place of PST) on most tourist accommodation
charges, as well as the 7% GST.
Food Service - In restaurants, 7% GST and 8% PST will be added to the food
portion of your final bill, as well as a Liquor Service - a provincial tax on
alcoholic beverages (10%, in addition to the 7% GST).
If you are a frequent, low risk traveller, you may be eligible for NEXUS and you
will enjoy a simplified entry process while travelling back and forth across the
For more information about NEXUS please call:Toll free 1-866-NEXUS 26
Canada is a metric nation. Here is a guide to help with the basics:
Metric Conversions for Distance and Road Speed
Metric systems are based on the metre, which is just a little over an American
yard. Long distances are measured in kilometres, and road speeds in kilometres
per hour (km/h). The ratio between miles and kilometres is 5/8, therefore 50
miles is 80 kilometrs.
20 mph = 30 km/h
30 mph = 50 km/h
50 mph = 80 km/h
68 mph = 110 km/h
Metric Conversions for Fuel and Other Liquids
Don't let the price at the gas station fool you. Gas is sold by the Litre, which
is just over an American quart. Just remember one U.S. gallon is 3.8Liters. If
you are used to putting in 10 gallons of gas in your tank, this is equivalent to
Metric Conversions for Temperature
Canadians measure temperature in Celsius where Zero is the freezing point of
water and 100 is the boiling point of water. When you are travelling in Canada
and you hear the forecast in Celsius and you want to know what it is in
Fahrenheit, remember the following:
When it's zero it's freezing,
when it's 10 it's not,
when it's 20 it's warm,
when it's 30 it's hot! Celsius Fahrenheit
Currently, the U.S. dollar enjoys a high premium in Canada. It is recommended
that visitors to Niagara use Canadian funds. The rates for currency exchange
vary in different establishments and there are no laws that enforce these rates
of exchange. It is recommended to change your money at a bank or at a Currency
Exchange Center. Banks are normally open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
Casino Niagara also offers currency exchange with rates comparable to banks.
Travelers cheques should be purchased at a traveler's own bank and should
specify Canadian funds. Travelers cheques should be treated as carefully as cash
and converted at a bank or trust company.
Banking & Credit Cards
Most major North American credit cards are welcome in Niagara, including
American Express, Carte Blanche, Diners Club EnRoute, Mastercard and Visa.
Automated banking machines (ATMs) with 24-hour access, and various in-store
debit card services, are available across Niagara on a basis similar to the
services available elsewhere in Canada and in the United States. Many support
interbank cash transactions. They are located in many small and large stores,
malls, banks, trust companies, and public transportation terminals. Before you
leave home, check with your bank to find out what range of banking services its
cards will allow you to use.
The legal minimum age for buying and consuming alcohol in the province of
Ontario is 19. Beer and liquor stores are open daily and normally close at 6pm.
Some evening hours are available on Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday. Also, the
Sunday hours are from 11am-6pm.
Liqour Service in restaurants, bars and hotel lounges is for consumption on the
premises only, and is allowed between 11am and 2am Monday to Saturday, and from
noon to 2am on Sundays.
Ontario Travel Information Centres are operated by the Ontario Ministry of
Tourism. They are an excellent source of information for activities throughout
the Niagara Region and the province of Ontario.
Provincial road maps, tourist guides and attraction brochures are just a few of
the free items at your disposal. Niagara Falls travel information is also
available at 1-800-ONTARIO. Canada Travel Information Centre locations are
Niagara Falls, ON 5355 Stanley Ave
Fort Erie, ON 100 Goderich St
St. Catharines, ON Westbound Q.E.W. Garden City Skyway
Useful Phone Numbers
Emergency (Entire Niagara Region) Dial 911
Ambulance: (905) 688-2191
Police Dept. (Non-Emergency): (905) 688-4111
Fire Dept: (905) 356-1321
CAA Emergency Road Service: (905) 684-4396
Hospitals: Greater Niagara General (905) 358-0171
Road Reports (905) 682-6641
Weather Reports (905) 227-3393 or
What to Wear
The coldest months in Niagara Falls are November through March, when
temperatures average between -6 and 4°C (21 and 39°F). Snowfall is abundant
during the winter months. April and October are also brisk. June, July and
August are balmier, with average highs of 26°C (79°F) and lows of 15°C (59°F).
Keep in mind that the falls affects local weather conditions. Even on the
sunniest days, visitors close to the falls can get quite wet from the mist if
the wind is blowing their way. Be prepared to wear rain gear or to don dry
Months Average Temperatures
January - March between -8 and 3°C (16 and 37°F)
April - June between 1 and 23°C (34 and 73°F)
July - September between 11 and 26°C (52 and 79°F)
October - December between -6 and 13°C (21 and 55°F)