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Top 5 Things You Should Know Before You RV In Canada

Canada can be a great distance from home, and fuel prices are outrageous. It takes time to cross this vast country, especially if you’re driving responsibly with any type of RV, and possibly towing a vehicle. The scenery is spectacular, and there are lots of tourist activities in the summer. Here’s what you need to know before you leave for Canada:

1. The maximum weight allowed for towing under a standard license is 4600 kg (10,120 lbs.). To legally tow a heavier RV, you’ll need to upgrade your license to a Class-A – required for anyone driving commercial tractor-trailers in Ontario. To get the license, you must submit a satisfactory medical report, and pass a vision test and a Class-A knowledge test.

2. The VAT (Value Added Tax) also known as the GST (goods and services tax) is placed on everything except food, but does not apply to non-Canadians. You can get refunds on goods bought in Canada and taken back to the US, with a form available at Customs on entrance and at some campgrounds. The forms can be mailed in for a refund, and some duty free stores cash them, in the hope that you will buy from them.

3. Drive carefully, and take any spare tires and tools necessary: repairs can be expensive, and parts sometimes have to be flown in from “outside.” Gas and diesel is also expensive, and food prices rise as you go north. If you’re going through Alberta, it’s best to buy your alcoholic beverages there.

4. Go prepared with camera, binoculars and identification guides anytime you leave the city behind. From golden marmots on Vancouver Island to huge moose in Newfoundland, and from opossums in Niagara to polar bears around James Bay, Canada has a vast range of natural inhabitants. Be sure to bring along your birder’s handbook as well – Canada has no shortage of feathered occupants.

5. Generally, Canadian and American citizens may cross the border without passports, though it is always a good idea to carry identification with you. Both countries accept a valid driver’s license of the other country. If there is an accident, you will need to produce a card that specifically states your insurance is valid in Canada. Most US insurers cover travel in Canada as part of their standard package, and they will provide a Canadian Proof of Insurance card upon request.

You can bring your pet dog or cat with you provided that it is in good health and has a current rabies vaccination certificate. Other animals are subject to restriction.

Handguns are not allowed across the border, but you may bring hunting rifles and shotguns once they are registered. Declare all firearms at Customs before entering the country.

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