Driving from Maine to Chicago via Canada with 2 dogs...Tips?
November 18, 2013 8:28 AM   Subscribe

We are planning to drive to Chicago for the holidays, and we thought it might be fun to go through Canada on the " getting there" leg of the trip. We will have two dogs with us, so the sightseeing and lodging would have to include them.

From Bar Harbor there are really only two reasonable entry points ( Quebec , or more likely Montreal ) from there we would just take the most direct route; 401 with a possible ( but not set in stone) 402 run to US 69 N of Detroit. Our stops would be in the Quebec/ Montreal, and Toronto area. We don't really want to stay downtown so lodging ideas just out of town are best. Other than that we are open to suggestions, and are not totally opposed to a third night's stay in our northern neighbor.
posted by lobstah to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Take a look at PetFriendly.ca: it's a pretty comprehensive directory of suitable accommodations across Canada. Here's their Ontario map.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:36 AM on November 18, 2013

Make sure the dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations, and bring their vaccination records with you.
posted by jon1270 at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the rabies vaccination certificate is the big one. Here are the CFIA details.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2013

Please be advised that you are going to have to deal with this sort of thing should you take the 401 near Toronto. If heavy urban traffic gives you the screaming fantods, you might want to reconsider your plan. If you do go via the 401 all the same, you should definitely take the 402 over to Port Huron/Sarnia; dealing with getting on or off of the Ambassador Bridge/Windsor Tunnel in Detroit can be a real hassle.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:45 AM on November 18, 2013

I've done this before in reverse, being in Canada from Windsor through Niagra Falls, then upstate NY, etc, through to Maine.

It was neat, but there was definitely a delay at the border, and this was back in '95.

Playing with gMaps, they recommend going north of Windsor on 402 and crossing at Sarnia. I've never done, nor heard of this, but it's got to be less crowded than the Detroit portals.
posted by hwyengr at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2013

I am from the area and the 402 crossing is your friend for sure! As to the 401 traffic just steer clear of rush hour. So plan not to be on the 401 between Oshawa and the Toronto Airport between from 6 am to 9 am or Scarborough and Milton between 3 pm and 6 pm. Similar hours apply for Montreal. Just be off the roads going into the city from 6-9am and out of the city from 3-630pm on weekdays.
posted by saradarlin at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2013

www.bringfido.com allows you to search for pet friendly hotels, but from personal experience, their booking sucks and the hotels tend to screw it up. It's best if you make your reservation by calling the hotel *front desk* (not national chain reservations) directly, and double check the pet policy before you make your booking.

It may interest you to know that all LaQuinta Inns, with the exception of the one in New York City, allow dogs with no additional fees. I believe they have a location in the Toronto area. Montréal I am not so sure.

You'll need to bring your dogs' vet records, most importantly the rabies vaccine record, with you to cross the border with them, both into Canada and back into the US.
posted by tckma at 10:14 AM on November 18, 2013

The suggestions to steer clear of rush hour on the 401 are no joke. According to Wikipedia "The segment of Highway 401 passing through Toronto is the busiest highway in North America". It's horrible and to be avoided if at all possible.

If you absolutely have to travel past Toronto during rush hour, and can spare $10-20, I'd suggest the 407. The fee means a lot less traffic and the toll cameras (not booths) mean no backups getting on or off.

Outside of rush hour it's perfectly fine though, I've gone on the segment from mid-Toronto to Kitchener-Waterloo many times in off hours and there are minimal slowdowns. You can keep to 100 kph most of the way.
posted by Kowh at 11:51 AM on November 18, 2013

Thanks everyone !
posted by lobstah at 3:34 PM on November 18, 2013

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