Niagara's border bridges may be busier than usual as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving

rainbow bridge cp

You can expect border bridges in Niagara to be busier than usual as Americans mark their Thanksgiving holiday today.

It's the first since 2019 we haven't had any restrictions at the border due to COVID-19.

Tomorrow marks Black Friday.

Black Friday appears to have overtaken Boxing Day as the biggest shopping event of the year on both sides of the border.

Retail analysts expect shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to make a comeback this holiday season.

Professional services firm JLL's survey of nearly one-thousand Canadians found 90 per cent of people plan to spend time in shopping centres.

The Canada Border Services Agency has released a list of tips on cross border travel.

·Plan ahead and check border wait times. Travellers crossing the border by land are encouraged to cross during non-peak hours, such as early morning. The Mondays of holiday long weekends tend to be the busiest, with longer border wait times.

·Use Advance CBSA Declaration. Travellers arriving at the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Halifax international airports can choose to submit their customs and immigration declaration to the CBSA prior to their arrival using the Advance CBSA Declaration feature within ArriveCAN  and save time at the border.

·Ensure you are eligible to enter Canada. Foreign nationals must meet the admissibility requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, and ensure they carry all necessary travel and immigration documentation. Admissibility decisions are made by a border services officer at the time of entry.

·Know your exemption limits. Returning residents planning to make purchases or pick up online purchases across the border should be aware of their personal exemption limits. Be sure to check the CBSA duty and taxes estimator to calculate taxes on goods purchased in the United States and to help make informed decisions when shopping abroad.

·Be prepared to declare. All travellers must declare their goods upon entry into Canada. If travelling with gifts, it is recommended they not be wrapped. For returning residents, have your receipts readily available for goods purchased or received while outside of Canada. Travellers can consult the CBSA’s website for information on firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods.

·Cannabis: Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out. Transporting cannabis across the border in any form, including any oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada remains a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization.

·Declare any foods, plants, or animals such as raw meats, fruits, house plants, live animals, wood products (including firewood and wooden souvenirs) at the border. Be sure to check the Automated Import Reference System to help determine all specific import requirements.

·Avoid importing raw poultry products or by-products. There are currently restrictions on imports of live birds, bird products and by-products from U.S. states affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. It is recommended you not bring poultry products – including a turkey, eggs, and/or chicken – into Canada. Otherwise, be prepared to prove the origin of your poultry product at the border.

·When travelling with children, it is recommended that the accompanying adult have a consent letter authorizing them to travel with the child. Border services officers are always watching for missing children, and in the absence of the letter, officers may ask additional questions, to help them identify the relationship between the child and the accompanying adult.