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Victoria Day travel plans? Here are some tips for a smooth trip

A U.S. Border Control Agent conducts a routine inspection at the border between Cornwall, Ont. and Massena, N.Y. (Heather Ainsworth/AP Photo) A U.S. Border Control Agent conducts a routine inspection at the border between Cornwall, Ont. and Massena, N.Y. (Heather Ainsworth/AP Photo)

May 20 is Victoria Day, a Canadian federal statutory holiday in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday, who was head of the British monarchy when Canada became a nation.

The long weekend means there are sure to be plenty of Canadians travelling across the U.S. border for the holiday. 

"(We) dedicate significant efforts to planning and preparing for peak periods, including long weekends and summer months," the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said in a news release. "We monitor traveller volumes and plan to minimize border wait times at land ports of entry and at international airports, without compromising safety and security."

With that in mind, the CBSA has a few tips for what to expect.

Plan ahead and expect delays

Try to cross the border during non-peak hours, like early in the morning. The Monday of a long weekend tends to be the busiest time.

Have your travel documents ready

Land, air or water, speed up your trip by being prepared.

Advance declaration

You can save time by providing a customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of your arrival. This applies for international airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.

Are your children bringing a friend?

If your children are bringing friends for a trip, make sure you have a consent letter from the friend's parents or legal guardian. CBSA officers are always looking for missing children, and the absence of a letter may lead to additional questions.

Motorists wait at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, Wash., across the Canada-U.S. border from Surrey, B.C. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Don't bring any cannabis. Period.

Despite marijuana being legal in Canada, bringing cannabis across the Canada-U.S. border without a permit from Health Canada is a criminal offence and can lead to arrest.

Note: a medical prescription does not count as Health Canada authorization

Declare any goods you purchased on your trip

All travellers must declare any goods purchased outside of Canada. You are responsible for everything inside your vehicle.

Declare all food, plant and animal products

Before you bring any of these products into Canada, consult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).

Are you bringing chicken across the border?

It may seem silly, but all poultry products must be retail packaged and labelled as "Product of the USA." Any homemade food or leftovers with chicken cannot be brought into Canada. Be sure to read Canada's restrictions on poultry from the U.S.

Going camping?

Bringing firewood from outside of Canada is illegal. Invasive insects and diseases could exist in the firewood.

If you're unsure about something, ask a CBSA officer. For more information, visit the CBSA website or call at 1-800-461-9999. Top Stories

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