Living On The Canadian border, a person can take for granted how easy the back and forth border crossing is here. Not like that everywhere inborder towns and have seen tightened security. Extra officers on US side, dogs sniffing and sometimes heightened security measures. Have two boys that play hockey and other than one team in Presque Isle Maine, all the other minor hockey level games are in Canada..sometimes four times a weekend trips across the border that is a mile and a half away. So...you came north..with your Dodge mini-van and the big Thule casket on top to carry everything you own from home...you stay on I-95 passing the Houlton primary exit 302 and tool along with the radio blaring, the kids singing and the dog barking. Oh oh..did you have some paperwork for Rover? Aside from that issue and shots, etc..you turn down the radio, you feel some rumble strips as you approach the Houlton port of entry which you slowly pass as you head to the red maple leaf flagged port. You don't stop at the US port leaving the country. My advice is roll all the windows down to show 'em you're going to make their job easy. A helpful fellow or lady will say Bonjour and Hello and ask where is everyone from. Being a joker and indicating Saturn or Venus is not a good idea. She has a gun, a bullet proof vest and there is a long line of cars behind you ready to lynch mob you if the delay is too long. "All american citizens? Where are you planning to go? How long do you plan to be in Canada? Anything to declare..carrying any firearms, tobacco or alcohol?" Again, don't utter a wise crack about if the Uzi under the seat counts. Yes and no, thank you and short answers. Then you are out of there. After January of next year, passports were the extra rule of thumb for what's needed but that is getting lots of debate. Everyone locally had ID's anyway because when you are racing to a hockey game two hours into the Canadian province of New Brunswick..you don't want delays at the border. Birth certificates a good idea and if you have another person child as a friend of your own along for the trek...get his birth certificate, note and contact numbers from his parents, etc. Coming back thru, same questions. But if you bought something, how much did I buy, and remember to stop into the Canadian Duty Free store to get back your HST tax which is pretty hefty if you brought alot of trinkets!
Since 911, Homeland Security has added over 80 new jobs to the Houlton port of entry. You have immigration for identity and country of origin questions/concerns and customs for all that product being trucked back and forth in addition to making sure you pay a little duty if applicable. $400 dollars a day per person for each day you are in Canada can be brought back duty free though and that first day starts as soon as you enter. You could turn right around, hitting the Canadian Duty Free place that has some pretty nice and pricey jewelry, cologne and fine candies, crystal and other things you can not live without when on vacation and the money is flowing freely. Imported wines and spirits also well stocked and ready to follow you home. Just declare what you bought and show them the slip at the Houlton US port of entry. I-95 connects to the trans Canada highway and traffic moves very easily! The other side of this boundary marker says Canada and the International Boundary Commission does a great job keeping the border path well marked. Border Patrol and lots of sensors, two planes and other hi tech devices make sure everyone knows who is who on the border!