Good News: Vaccinated Americans Can Now Visit Canada

Boating in Lake Ontario, Toronto, Canada.

Hankering for a bowl of authentic poutine, clean air and Continental culture? It’s all available again just nort’ of da’ border.

This week, Canada officially lifted its ban on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation, or visit. NPR reported that on Monday, August 9, the first morning that U.S. citizens were allowed to cross the border again, long waits stretched across the continent, from the tiny border town of Derby Line, Vermont (to get into Stanstead, Quebec) to Blaine, Washington (just south of White Rock, an outer suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia).

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By early afternoon, passengers and cars were waiting more than an hour at the Rainbow Bridge to enter Niagara Falls, Ontario, from Niagara Falls, New York. At Washington’s Peace Arch Border Crossing and Historical State Park, three lanes of vehicles with Washington state license plates waited about 30 minutes to cross the border.

U.S. citizens and legal residents must be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 within three days of crossing to gain access to pristine lakes, bustling towns and authentic maple syrup. American visitors will have to invest likely over $150 for a rapid COVID test to present to border officials. Though that may be a big initial hit, people should expect a polite apology from their Canadian brethren. 

The United States wasn’t so polite, though, and will maintain restrictions for Canadians, part of an awkward return to normalcy in post-COVID-19 travel bans. Closed since March, 2020, the U.S. has said it will extend its closure to all Canadians and Mexicans making nonessential trips until at least August 21, with plans for a phased reopening in the works. 

In managing one of the world’s longest and busiest land borders, Canadian officials won’t sacrifice safety for shorter crossing times. Travelers must fill out a detailed application on the arriveCAN app before making their way into the Great White North.

Whether it’s heading up to Toronto to welcome the Blue Jays back, pursuing incredible international cuisine in Vancouver, or simply enjoying a green park view of the Motor City from Windsor, Ontario, Canada offers at once great places to plug in and to unwind. 

Looking for more places to check out? Make sure to read our guide to countries vaccinated Americans can safely visit.

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