I went to Canada on Saturday.

I was up in northern Washington house hunting last week. Since the friend I was staying with lives in Birch Bay, a mere hop to the border, we decided to catch a film in Langly, B.C. Now, living in L.A. I don’t have much use for a passport. But with the heightened security at the border I had to bring some form of ID. I had my California driver’s license, of course. And I had my pilot’s license and airman’s medical certificate. I couldn’t find my Social Security card, but I did find an unofficial stamped metal one so I brought that. Finally, I had my passport that expired back in 1987.

I thought the border crossing was going as well as usual (before, all I’d needed was my D.L.), but we were directed to Immigration. We stood in line, and the guy before us (whom I believe was Canadian) was being a real prick to the very attractive girl of Indian descent who was the border agent. We got up to the counter and my friend had some explaining to do because of past problems at the border, but they were convinced he wasn’t trying to sneak in. The woman (unfortunately, not the cute girl) glanced at my expired passport and saw that I’m a native Californian, and we were on our way.

Langly (or is it Langley?) is a confusing town. I think the streets and buildings change around when we’re not looking. We were already late for the film when we left the border, but we had hopes of catching a later show. We finally found the stealth cinemas, only to find that the film we’d come to see was not playing. Bugger! So we decided to get something to eat. We drove around looking for a Japanese restaurant with no success. We were about to have some Greek food when I saw a place that had “Maki” in the name across the street. Turned out it was a Japanese restaurant run by Koreans. Not a very extensive suchi menu, but what we got (California rolls, salmon rolls, beef teriyaki and kimchee) was quite good.

We headed back to the border in my friend’s white serial killer van dreading an ordeal getting back to the States. The border guard asked us the usual questions. He looked at my D.L. and then said to my friend, “You brought a Californian with you? I thought that was illegal!” We were through the checkpoint in less than a minute.

Needless to say, I’m going to get a new passport as soon as I have the time.

Johnny –

If you do the IFR approaches into Bellingham, you get handed off to Victoria Center. And you’re flying N of the border to come south into ILS16 at BLI.

The verbage is enough different to throw you (“circuits” vs. “pattern”) and the controller’s likely to have a Scottish or other accent. But wait until you actually get to fly into Canada for good: everything has a squawk code, even VFR flights. And don’t even think about cancelling and going to 1200 when you have the airport in sight . . .

Crossing the border has usually been pretty easy, aircraft or not. Usually the customs people just want to know: “How was the fishing?”

Best regards,


While you were in Canada, did you meet my friend Pierre?

You passport expired in 1987? Dude, you need to get out more. :smiley:

Next time… drive a little further and hit WHite Rock.

Very nice

Hey, that’s cool. Which theatre did you go to? If it was the Colossus, you were about ten minutes away from where I live.

Your state place of birth will be on your new passport. So if it’s California, that will be shown. Sounds like you didn’t want the passport control officer to know you’re from CA.

MissBungle, do you live in White Rock? I grew up there, and I agree that it’s very, very nice. Not that there’s anything wrong with Langley, but I would definitely recommend White Rock over Langley.

HEY!!! You know, we have DopeFests occasionally in the extreme PNW…better plan on getting harrassed by someone (me, for instance) to join us! (I’m in Bellingham)

I thought you don’t need a passport to go to Canada if you’re a US national.

I had the opposite experience. Getting into the US at Niagara was fun, last summer, but that is the only time they have more than glanced at me.

The new regulations state that you have should have a passport to cross. This surprises me. In my entire life, I never needed one to cross the Canada-US border until this last summer.

I go to Canada just about every week, and I’ve never needed a passport to go through (although sometimes I’ve needed it to get back).

If you look at travel sites, you’ll see that they emphasize having proof of citizenship – either a NOTARIZED birth certificate or a passport – to get back into the U.S. A passport’s simply the easiest way to do it.

Here’s the Amtrak page on border crossings:

Tougher enforcement on the U.S. side of the border started circa 1998.

And would you believe it, this morning I went through Canada Customs…and they asked for my passport. First time ever.

There’s only one conclusion–Canada Customs is spying on this message board. Be afraid…

Clogboy: Yeah, I keep meaning to leave the country; but I just end up travelling around inside of it.

MissBungle: My friend goes to White Rock often for concerts. It’s within easy kayaking distance. I wonder how you’d report your presence if you came by sea?

ProjectOmega: No, it wasn’t the Colossus. It was “Fabulous”-something, I think. Six screens. We were going to see Gangs of New York, and that’s where the paper said it was playing.

Violet: No, I wasn’t intending to hide anything. My old passport has my place of birth on it, and that was good enough for the Canadian official. Washingtonians are stereotypically anti-Calfornian. I think the U.S. guy was being funny, but the delvery was poor.

friedo: As Mooney252 said, a passport is not required; but it helps.

Scotti: Did you manage to get in touch with Shayna?

You have to go farther than Langley. No offence to the locality, but it’s the 'Burb’s, man. Go the extra 45 minutes to Vancouver… you’ll find more sushi than you can shake some chopsticks at.

Yeah, Vancouver rocks; but we went up to see the film, and Langley is where it was listed.

No problem, dear, it wasn’t that I couldn’t get ahold of her, just that I wanted Spiny Norman’s email address so I could figure out if it was their computer or mine that was preventing me from sending her a file. It was mine, so no problems.

Where is the house you put an offer on?

Well, it could be worse. You could have been deported to India.

Vancouver for sushi, Langley for colossal cineplexi, White Rock for… I don’t know, “character”? Though the clock tower they had the poor judgement to erect downtown isn’t the kind of character you’d care to spend an afternoon with, the rest of town is dandy. And it’s so close to Surrey! (Living in White Rock means never having to say you’re Surrey.)

Scotti: The house is on Sandy Point.