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post #1 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 3:17 pm Thread Starter
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Riding Into Canada

Hello my Northern Brethren!!!

My wife and I are planning on paying you a visit this upcoming weekend. Riding into Montreal on Saturday, over to Toronto on Sunday and Niagara Falls before heading back into the US on Monday.

This is our first venture into your country so here are a few questions:
  • Are the fuel octane calculated the same?
  • What are the speed limits on the highway (401 West)?
  • Will I be hassled for having an American Flag on my bike?
  • Other than Tim Horton's, is there any place I should stop for a good cup of coffee ? (We will be pressed for time on Sunday so it's all highway from Montreal over to Toronto!)
  • Do most hotels and gas stations accept US currency?

Is there anything else I should know before going?

Thank you all for your valuable insight!

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2004 BMW K1200LTE - Rosie (As in Whole Lotta Rosie)
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post #2 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 3:35 pm
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Welcome! The forecast this week-end looks terrific for your first trip to Canuck land!

You should expect no signifiacnt differences in fuel ratings. However, most suppliers in Ontario sell blended gasloine with up 10% ethanol. The pumps will be labelled so have a look.

Speed limit on the 401 is anybody's guess! Posted for 100 km = 62 mph but actual speeds may vary. Common practice is 115 - 125 km for most drivers. If you travel with the pack, you should have nothing to fear from the OPP.

Ontraio seems to run on Tim Hortons but you might find a Starbucks or a Second CUP (my choice) if you venture off the 401 a little. The service centres on the highway are all Tim's with a Mickie D's thrown in for variety.

The merchants will take your money but might not be fair to you on the exchange rates. I would use a credit card for larger purchases.

Sounds like you have a full schedule for your ride but you should try to get away from the 401 if time allows. There are parallel roads you can explore if you want to get a flovour of smaller town Canada.

Happy Trails!

Geoff
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post #3 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 4:58 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Thanks Geoff,

We have 10% Ethanol here too, so no worries. Also, the exchange rate being what it is (currently 1.00 USD = 1.03 CND) I'm not too worried about being taken for a ride (pun intended ) either! And I'll definitely look for "Second Cup". I just looked at a map and it seems Rt 2 parallels Rt 401 much of the way so I may just get off here and there. Thanks for the tip!

One thing that I just thought of is fuel prices. The average in the US is $3.72 USD per gallon (actually cheaper here where I live) which equates to be about $.98 USD per liter. How does that compare there?

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2004 BMW K1200LTE - Rosie (As in Whole Lotta Rosie)
1996 HD Sportster XLH883 Hugger (sold)
1986 Honda Interceptor VF500F (sold)

Your chosen perspective changes everything. - Unknown Author

"You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event - it is a habit." - Aristotle; 384-322 BC, Greek Philosopher and Scientist
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post #4 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 6:58 pm
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Smile Re: Riding Into Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by razman10
Thanks Geoff,

We have 10% Ethanol here too, so no worries. Also, the exchange rate being what it is (currently 1.00 USD = 1.03 CND) I'm not too worried about being taken for a ride (pun intended ) either! And I'll definitely look for "Second Cup". I just looked at a map and it seems Rt 2 parallels Rt 401 much of the way so I may just get off here and there. Thanks for the tip!

One thing that I just thought of is fuel prices. The average in the US is $3.72 USD per gallon (actually cheaper here where I live) which equates to be about $.98 USD per liter. How does that compare there?
Currently prices fluctuate between $1.17 and $1.25 per litre.
The 401 between Montreal and Toronto and then on to Widsor ( Detroit) is, in my opinion, on e of the most boring stretches of highway in the world. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't take it and doesn't mean that I don't take it when required.
Only that you'll need to keep pinching yourself to stay awake and to make sure that as you approach Toronto, you are right ready for a spirited, 16 lane at times nail biter of a 50 kilometer stretch from Oshawa to Mississauga.
You'll probably want to head south on the DVP Don Valley Parkway whcih will take you down the eastern side of Toronto proper and dump you on the Gardiner Expressway which is an elevated expressway that runs along the southern edge of Toronto and the northern edge of Lake ONtario and turns into the QEW Queen Elizabeth Way ( remember that you will be inthe land of Monarchs) The QEW runs all the way to Niagara Falls. It is also a spirited journey and, if you are in rush hour, anywhere from 2:30PM to 7:30 PM you can expect stop and go and lots of in-attentive drivers. Don't let me make you nervous, I do that run quite often and, just last wednesday was going to post something to the effect that that run from Toronto to Hamilton, at between 140 and 160 kms ( 75 - 100 indicated) makes me always proclaim, even during the ride inside my helmet ; " the LT is the SUPREME MACHINE)
I couldn't see doing it on any other and be happy about it.

Before you get to Toronto you should pull off at Kingston, about half way between Montreal and Toronto and take the Princess exit and go into the downtown. It is a very historical Canadian City and ( I think) was the site of the first parliment . It host a great number of Max security prisons and alot of old building and everything is in old limestone. Have lunch on the Lake. Very picturesque.

On the way to Niagara ( the wine festival is on) there are a number of wineries that have wonderful restaurants. Vineland estates, On The Twenty in Jordan. Expensive meals but might be worth it to you.

Casino Niagara, Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, if you like to lose money.
Of course, the Falls are unbelievable.

If I can think of anything else I'll post it.
Or maybe if you've had enough just let me know and I'll contain myself.
have a great trip,
JS
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post #5 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 7:46 pm
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Re: Riding Into Canada

I just rode the 401 to GTA and back. Boring at times, way too exciting at other times.
Another hint that won't delay you Sunday: a few miles past Brockville as you're heading Westbound, there is an exit on the *left* (highly unusual on this road) to the 1000-Islands Parkway. Very scenic, runs along St. Lawrence River and all the islands. It ends in Gananoque, where you can either stop for Timmy/lunch, or just merge straight back onto the 401. Or, go through "Gan" and continue West on Hwy 2 to Kingston and beyond.
I took hwy 2 this weekend for a while on the way to Toronto and - while scenic - a major time-eater. More towns than the French Riviera.
However, try the Parkway at least. Worth it.
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post #6 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 8:21 pm
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Re: Riding Into Canada

You can fly the stars and stripes up here on your bike. We like Americans. Just don't like the obnoxious ones...but then again we don't like obnoxious Canadians either. A word of advice is that if you a packing a handgun...leave it at home as it is a criminal offense to carry one up here. Enjoy your ride. Canada is a nice place to tour.
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post #7 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 11:06 pm
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Gonna be a nice weekend for a ride. Too bad you'll only be riding and not seeing our beautiful country here. If you had time I'd say drop into my place for a coffee, I am just north west of Toronto.If you want to go from Montreal to Toronto to Niagara Falls it'll take you about 10 or more hours on the 401. Much, Much more if you take #2 or #7 hyway. Watch the cottage'rs coming west on the 401 from #115 to Toronto Sunday night, it can really back up the hyway.

And oh ya, we spell colour here not color, eh!

Let me know if you want to drop in.

Garry & Esther

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post #8 of 17 Old Sep 22nd, 2008, 11:48 pm
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Just got back from a few days on Vancouver Island, My bike has NEVER run so well as it did after filling up with CHEVRON Supreme/Plus ... 94 octain

It was tho once I figured the litre to gallon thing out ... near $5.50 gallon !

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post #9 of 17 Old Sep 23rd, 2008, 10:41 am
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Highway 2 from Cornwall is scenic as well as the Thousand Island Parkway which is a must see! You'll have better access to banks, fuel, food, staying on Highway 2 as well as saving money. The speed limits are 80 KM on Highway 2 dropping to 50 through villages and Highway 401 is 100 KM. The 401 is accessible from Montreal on Highway 20. Fuel was $1.27 (premium) on Saturday in Kingston and a stop on the 401 was $1.39 (premium). Ottawa is $1.23. While in the Niagara Falls area, try the Niagara Parkway and visit Niagara on The Lake. There are lots of world class wineries in that region. The weather forecast is awesome this week, 20 -25 Celcius. Enjoy the ride!
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post #10 of 17 Old Sep 23rd, 2008, 4:34 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Riding Into Canada

GREAT, GREAT, Info everybody!!! Thank you very much.

I plan on popping out of the 401 here and there for a few scenic rides, but important thing is that we make it to Toronto before 5pm. (I recently found out there is a trade show going on there that can make this trip a "business trip"! )

Keep the info coming, everybody - I still have a few more days and it is my belief that one can never have too much information!

Garry, I would love to stop for a coffee, however as I stated we're pressed for time. Who knows however we may enjoy it enough that we may be back next year for more exploring!

Thanks again!!!

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2004 BMW K1200LTE - Rosie (As in Whole Lotta Rosie)
1996 HD Sportster XLH883 Hugger (sold)
1986 Honda Interceptor VF500F (sold)

Your chosen perspective changes everything. - Unknown Author

"You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event - it is a habit." - Aristotle; 384-322 BC, Greek Philosopher and Scientist
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post #11 of 17 Old Sep 26th, 2008, 11:44 am
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Pack your rain suit. Forcast is for possible rain in Montreal on Sat and Sun. Toronto, at this time is partly cloudy on Sun. Highs in the low 70's.

Do not forget your passports as I think you are reguired have them to return to the States.

Safe ride.

Nick
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post #12 of 17 Old Sep 26th, 2008, 12:59 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Riding Into Canada

It appears that this Canada trip will be postponed.

It is supposed to pour buckets here tomorrow, the "planned" first day of our trip (they're calling for 4 to 6 inches of rain between today & tomorrow along with gusty winds). We will not ride in that much rain/wind so our trip is now down to 3 days. There is no way we can complete our scheduled trip in 3 days unless we cut out ALL the "scenic" rides (which is one of the reasons for the trip) and just stick to the interstate. (It was tight enough squeezing all the riding into 4 days.)

Therefore, we're putting the trip off until the spring or early summer 2009. We'll have more time for more exploring.

Thanks everybody for your input!

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2004 BMW K1200LTE - Rosie (As in Whole Lotta Rosie)
1996 HD Sportster XLH883 Hugger (sold)
1986 Honda Interceptor VF500F (sold)

Your chosen perspective changes everything. - Unknown Author

"You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event - it is a habit." - Aristotle; 384-322 BC, Greek Philosopher and Scientist
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post #13 of 17 Old Nov 26th, 2008, 4:57 pm
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Just a FYI regarding border and immigration.
Last trip this season rode from Minneapolis, Duluth, Lake Superior Hwy 61 to Grand Marais, GunFlint trail, and decided to continue on to ThuderBay, Canada since I managed an extra day. Girlfriend too thought it would be fun to see. Last visit 1974; Big Mistake.

No Passports with us. Basically once you enter the border patrol, Canada determines your legal status, its not like you can turn around. They checked our drivers license, asked several questions, ran social security numbers on us. We waited about an hour. Finally allowed to pass. Immigration said coming back into the US would likely be even more difficult. This made my 32 yearold Korean born girlfriend (US Citizen 30 years) very nervous. The officer never smiled, never said hello, pointed and demanded. Never heard a request, a pleasantry, saw a smile, or a simple assurance. After a brief afternoon in Thunder Bay (depressed area) we started back early.. At US customs the American officer asked for our drivers licenses, nicely asked me to open the saddlebags. Thanked us and apologized for not having better weather to ride and see Canada. 5 minutes max, very friendly, pleasant officer. Moral of the story as of 1/08 Passports are required (ride, drive or fly), there are some exceptions, but 1/09 no exceptions. We hit a 2008 probationary period. I like Canadians, always impressed with their dispositions. But that immigration gang on Hwy 61 could learn how to treat their cousins better, or learn some basic communication skills, Heh!! Traveling to Canada?,Carry your passport bros.

Next visit will be either the beautiful Banff or Montreal areas,


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post #14 of 17 Old Nov 27th, 2008, 12:47 pm
 
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by stapleford
The officer never smiled, never said hello, pointed and demanded. Never heard a request, a pleasantry, saw a smile, or a simple assurance...I like Canadians, always impressed with their dispositions. But that immigration gang on Hwy 61 could learn how to treat their cousins better, or learn some basic communication skills, Heh!!
I completely agree. As a Canadian who lives relatively close to the US, I like to do some shopping across the border every so often. Even bought the Beemer in Michigan. The US Homeland Security agents never gave me a problem. But coming home, the same cannot be said for Canada Customs. It's always an interrogation: How long have been in the US, did you purchase any liquor or cigarettes, how much did you purchase, yada yada yada. What a PITA. It's like they get some sort of pleasure out of treating you like dirt because they know you really can't do anything about it.

Don't worry about it, 99.8% of Canadians are good people. The other .2% work for Canada Customs.
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post #15 of 17 Old Nov 30th, 2008, 7:33 am
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by DentalFlossTycoon
I completely agree. As a Canadian who lives relatively close to the US, I like to do some shopping across the border every so often. Even bought the Beemer in Michigan. The US Homeland Security agents never gave me a problem. But coming home, the same cannot be said for Canada Customs. It's always an interrogation: How long have been in the US, did you purchase any liquor or cigarettes, how much did you purchase, yada yada yada. What a PITA. It's like they get some sort of pleasure out of treating you like dirt because they know you really can't do anything about it.

Don't worry about it, 99.8% of Canadians are good people. The other .2% work for Canada Customs.
Yup - sounds like a horrible experience. Imagine the nerve. Wanting to know who you are and what you're bringing into Canada.
What's your suggestion? Toast the border and throw the gates wide open?
Just curious.
Were you treated like dirt when you imported your Beemer?
I understand that your home city is still short on guns; the gangs are getting anxious and may have to resort to knives soon. Then again, most of them are illegal immigrants who were let in with a smile and a wave, while honest dudes like us get hassled. Go figure.

Come to think of, Mr. Frequent Crosser - "Canada Customs" doesn't exist anymore. No kidding. Google it. Or google CBSA.
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post #16 of 17 Old Dec 1st, 2008, 12:55 pm
 
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Re: Riding Into Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkMeister
Yup - sounds like a horrible experience. Imagine the nerve. Wanting to know who you are and what you're bringing into Canada.
What's your suggestion? Toast the border and throw the gates wide open?
Just curious.
Toast the border, no. I just think that the prime reason for our border should be to prevent illegal weapons, drugs, people, etc. from entering Canada, not to act as a method of collecting money from people trying to save a few dollars by shopping in the US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkMeister
Were you treated like dirt when you imported your Beemer?
Yes, I was. No problem from the US side. Treated like cr*p on the Canadian side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkMeister
I understand that your home city is still short on guns; the gangs are getting anxious and may have to resort to knives soon. Then again, most of them are illegal immigrants who were let in with a smile and a wave, while honest dudes like us get hassled. Go figure.
Yeah, go figure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkMeister
Come to think of, Mr. Frequent Crosser - "Canada Customs" doesn't exist anymore. No kidding. Google it. Or google CBSA.
My apologies to the Canada Border Services Agency for referring to them as Canada Customs. But a rose by any other name is still a rose.

My post was simply to tell, in my experience, the difference between how the US and Canadian agencies treat people crossing the border. If you have had good experiences with the CBSA, then great, lucky you. But don't mount a personal attack on me for mine.
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post #17 of 17 Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 7:27 am
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Re: Riding Into Canada

A "personal attack" is lumping people into a category of rectal appertures, the way you did.
Border people don't set policy on duty and taxes. If you think that's a wasted effort, speak to your MP.
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