Frequently Asked Questions and Tips for Travellers
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. Also see live
Border Web Cams
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
For more detailed information, please contact one of the
following Revenue Canada offices:
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
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
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
our GST tax rebate page
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
As a visitor you will be charged:
GST - the federal Goods and Services Tax of 6%. 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 6% GST.
Food Service - In restaurants, 6% 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 6% 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 Canada/U.S. border.
For more information about NEXUS please call:Toll free
1-866-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726)
Canada is a metric nation. Here is a guide to help with the
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 38 Litres.
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
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
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
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
Liquor 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
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 listed below:
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 clothing.
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)