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Driving through Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:41 am
by Scigal
Hi all,

I am driving through Canada from Washington to Skagway on my way to Alaska. I packed my canned and dried fruits and veggies, which I always buy in bulk and then found that Canada restricts people entering to 15 cans of fruits and veggies per person. Dried fruits, veggies, and spices are also restricted to 15 bags per person. Dairy is worse at not more than $20 of product. I have quite a bit of dried milk. I have no fresh anything--everything is sealed.

Do we get any leeway since we are only passing through for 2-3 days? We aren't planning on opening or selling any of this stuff.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice is appreciated.

Re: Driving through Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:00 pm
by marymatt718
I can honestly say the question has never come up. I am usually asked about fresh fruits and vegetables, which I try to eat before I cross the border, and cash. I have never been pulled over and inspected in my car, and I cross with two giant dogs and a packed full SUV. I hand my passport and my dogs' health certificates over to the border guard and answer his questions. I don't volunteer any other information. They ask why I'm entering Canada and I tell them I am passing through as I move to Alaska to teach school, and that I expect to be in Canada for about three days as I just pass through. I think if you aren't openly displaying this stuff, and aren't looking like you're importing it to make money, you should be fine. The fruit and vegetable issues are not just commerce, but are also about protecting their agriculture from pests that might be brought in, which is why I respect that and eat any fresh stuff before I cross, and purchase new stuff in Canada. You might consider mailing part of it if you are worried about it.

This is for everyone out there. Alaska is not the total food wilderness that you might think it is. That might have been the case years ago, but not now. You can get ANYTHING you need in Anchorage, and mail it from Anchorage before you fly out to your bush village. Also Amazon ships just about anywhere and there are wonderful sources of dried fruits and vegetables on Amazon. You can also purchase a couple of rather tasty brands of powered milk on Amazon. Two I have personally tried are Nido and Peak. I get Peak as a monthly subscription from Amazon. Anchorage has both a Costco and a Sam's Club, Target, Cabelas, Michaels, Petsmart, Petco, Walmart, Fred Meyer (aka Kroger), just like cities in the lower 48. (What I really miss here is an IKEA!) Both Costco and Sams Club have product lines that have bush residents in mind. It's tempting to purchase everything in the lower 48, I know, I've been in that same situation, but truly what you REALLY need to bring are your personal things and favorite things...the quote is "things that make you smile," and everything else can be purchased here in Alaska. You just need to give your self time to shop for it once you arrive in Anchorage. I'm not trying to be judgmental, so forgive me if I come off as seeming that way. I'm trying to save you some unnecessary expenses.

Good luck!

Re: Driving through Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:05 pm
by marymatt718
I forgot to mention, since you probably aren't going as far as Anchorage, there is a Costco in Juneau, which is a gorgeous ferry ride from Skagway or any other village/town in that general vicinity. There is no Sam's Club in Juneau, unless they built one since I've been there, but there is a fairly large Walmart.
Good luck in your new job!

Re: Driving through Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:57 am
by Scigal
Thanks for the information. It has been very helpful!

Re: Driving through Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:16 pm
by marymatt718
It's a beautiful drive. Alberta is a little "vanilla" but still pretty ...and TIDY, so very tidy! Even the farms seem to line up and neatly park all the farm equipment. Weird. Then, you will be driving along and think, "somethings different," but you can't put your finger on it. There's just this tickle at the back of your neck that makes you feel something's off. :? .......There are VERY FEW billboards in Alberta, which is a little freaky when you're used to being bombarded by ads along US highways. It's almost too calm, this lack of assault to your sensibilities, but you eventually get pleasantly used to it. (Then, of course, when you drive back the next year, the billboards in the US become offensive!)

If you go on the Cassier (sp?) Highway make sure you have plenty of gas before you start. It's 450 miles long and there is ONE gas station along the entire road. I had a slight scare on it last year, but made it just in time. The gas was horribly expensive, but better than getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere. I probably won't try that route again, but I did it just for a change and to say I'd done it. It was pretty, but it wasn't worth the drama.

I know people have probably told you this, but I'll echo their advice: get a current copy of The Milepost. It's the road atlas for driving through Canada and Alaska, for driving the Alaska Highway. It's more than that, though. It gives you information about the history of the places you're driving through and information about interesting sites along the way. It gives you information about border crossings and helps you figure out where you are in relation to where you're going. It also has a kph to mph comparison so you won't get arrested for speeding. My SUV doesn't have kph on the speedometer, so I found this very helpful. The Milepost is available on Amazon, and is worth every penny you'll pay for it.