Shipping across Canada on the cheap?
July 23, 2006 8:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving from Prince George, BC, to London, Ontario, and need to transport a number of boxes.

I am moving to London for school and have a number of boxes that I need to ship. They contain mostly books and clothes and other personal effects, including some fragile things.

Initially I was going to send them with my aunt and uncle in the storage areas in their motorhome, but that has fallen through, so I'm in a bit of a bind. I've read this thread, but I am concerned because I won't have any way to pick up these things from a depot, etc, when I get to London.

What's the cheapest way to do it? I don't have a lot of stuff, but I do have a number of boxes, some of which will contain electronics (a computer monitor, a small guitar amplifier), as well as other items that I consider fragile (two guitars and other personal items).

Currently I am uncertain as to the exact number and size of all of the boxes, as I am still packing, but I'd hazard a guess that they could fit in one of the smaller u-haul trailers, if only I could get a vehicle that was making the trip that was capable of towing it. (I am flying, by the way.)

So, any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by synecdoche to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Greyhound might be a good option for you, or Loomis. My family is from the BC interior as well (Merritt, Kamloops, Keremeos) and that's what they use for moving boxes.

Cheapest? Maybe not. I'm not sure, but if you've got enough boxes to make up a pallet, check with the local shipping companies to see if they have a cheaper way.

Whatever you do, do not be tempted to use UPS. My wife did when she moved to Vancouver when we got married, and 8 of the nine boxes arrived fine. The 9th crossed the border at least 3 times and arrived at our door roughly spherical. When we tried to get compensated by the insurance we bought from them for the shipment, we were told that UPS does not ship personal belongings (but they were happy to take our $75 for the insurance in the first place).
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:33 PM on July 23, 2006

I know from experience (and you'll hear this over and over) that U-Haul is often a totally scam-filled disaster, at least in the States. You might want a multi-pronged approach:

VIAPAQ sends your things on the train and provides insurance for things, but won't accept responsibility for most electronics. (By the way, do you have to bring your monitor? It might be cheaper to just get a used one in London than to ship the thing across the country.)

Greyhound Courier Express will give you price quotes based on door-to-door delivery; a hypothetical set of 4 20-pound boxes would cost you about C$70, plus a few percent for a "fuel surcharge."

Canada Post probably would be good for lighter, less-essential-immediately things like seasonal clothes.

To pick your things up, can you get a taxi (minivan-size?) to get your stuff from one side of London to your house? Shouldn't cost more than a few bucks, right?

If you're flying, I assume you just take a bunch of stuff with you; take the absolute maximum possible; perhaps if it's not too prohibitive, perhaps someone else can accompany you and you can use all of their baggage allowance as well?

Good luck.
posted by mdonley at 9:35 PM on July 23, 2006

A note on the pallet/shipping company idea - I moved from Vancouver to Edmonton and back and I had all my stuff loaded onto a pallet. As it's personal stuff, I had to sign a damage waiver absolving the company of any blame for any damage. On the way back to Van, a couple of boxes got slightly crushed (but eveything fragile was in the middle and wrapped in heavy blankets) and even though there was no harm done, you may want to look at other suggestions as you mentioned that you had some fragile things. I'll third the Greyhound suggestion as it's much cheaper (last I looked +/- 6 months ago) than Loomis.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:30 AM on July 24, 2006

Whatever you do, do NOT use the Two Small Men with Big Hearts moving company.

I am moving Toronto > Vancouver this month and am shipping the majority of my many books via Greyhound; it works out to about $0.68/pound provided the boxes are smaller than 36"x24"x24". For furniture and fragile items we've hired Philips NorthAmerican van lines.

Good luck -- moving is stressful!
posted by docgonzo at 6:31 AM on July 24, 2006

Be aware that Greyhound's Door to Door service isn't what it sounds like. My parents shipped my computer to me in Toronto via Greyhound, and apparently the door they have in mind is *their* door, not yours. I had to go pick the bloody thing up at the terminal downtown, while I was miles and miles away at York. They also lost a document pack my mother sent me via them and didn't particularly seem to care. They're cheap, and there's a reason for that.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:05 AM on July 24, 2006

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