Spring Break 2017 {That Time We Visited Canada}

by Cate on July 10, 2017


Usually when I say I’ve never been somewhere, my mom usually replies, “Oh, you were there when you were little.” And I totally don’t remember much before age 8, except for some scant randomness, so if I don’t remember it, it can’t count, right?

But this time I was right … I really have never been to Canada, and it was high time to correct that.

Visiting Niagara Falls has been on my bucket list forever, and I finally crossed it off during our Spring Break trip this year, and what a fun trip it was!

I plan to cover some of the specific places we visited during our trip in separate, follow-up blog posts, but today it’s more about visiting Canada overall.


I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about Border Patrol. I told the kids ahead of time that they weren’t allowed to make any jokes with the Border Patrol officers, no sarcasm, and they weren’t to offer additional information. Just answer their questions in a polite, straight-forward manner, and all would be fine. Just like at the airport. You just never know when an offhand comment will be taken the wrong way, and I didn’t want to find ourselves denied at the border. And, of course, all was fine.


The part that surprised me the most about crossing the border? That it only cost three dollars! I don’t know what I was thinking it WOULD cost, but only three bucks to cross the border into another country seemed like a veritable bargain, and it totally was.


Everywhere we went, both our US dollars and Canadian dollars were accepted, which made paying for everything very easy. If you paid in US dollars, your money would go a little farther because the American dollar is stronger, but your change was given in Canadian money. I used our debit card wherever possible just to make the whole exchange process a little easier, and saved some of the coins as souvenirs.


Unlike the United States, pedestrians do NOT have the right of way in Canada (or at least the area where we were). Although cars don’t always yield to pedestrians in the States the way they’re supposed to, we made sure to be extra careful when crossing streets at the crosswalks where possible.

Speed limits were reflected as km/h, so that required a bit of math. Some of the signs actually had the conversion done right on the sign itself, but not all.


Throughout the whole area where we stayed, we spotted this signs pointing people back to the USA a lot. It kind of made me laugh, it’s like they kept subtly telling us to go home, but it also made it really easy for you to find your way around (as does the Waze app, which is seriously our BFF when traveling).


My two biggest tips when you’re traveling, no matter where you go, are 1) ask a local where they go out to eat. Not where they send tourists, but the places that THEY actually enjoy patronizing. We’ve discovered some real finds that way. And 2) visit a local grocery store. The reason for this is two-fold. First, we can load up on, at the very least, breakfast and snack items inexpensively, to cut down on some of our costs while we’re traveling, and secondly, as someone who makes a living around food, I love discovering items that are local to the area we’re visiting (more on that will be coming in a separate post).


It’s definitely one of those random things, but milk is sold in bags in Canada, not in jugs or cardboard containers like in the States.


I got goosebumps when we saw the American flag as we prepared to cross over the border to get back into the United States. I truly love our country, and those little things aren’t so little.


Everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful and proud of their country. Now that we’ve visited Canada, we can’t wait to go back and check out other parts of the country.

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