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When Is the Best Time for Canadian Border Crossing?

More than 30 million vehicles cross the US-Canadian border annually. Interestingly, the northbound trip into Canada often takes longer than the return to America. While little data exists to estimate how long that wait is, there are known peak times to avoid.

  • Weekdays: Weekday traffic increases between 7am and 9am. It congests again between 4pm and 7pm.
  • Weekends: Weekend traffic pickups up in the evening after 6pm.

Monthly Traffic Estimates for All US-Canada Borders

Besides the day of the week, the season affects how many vehicles pass through the border. The graphic below visualizes information published by EZ Border Crossing on travel frequency month-by-month. As you might expect, traffic rises in the summer.


If you’d rather not rely on averages and forecasts, you can check the state of traffic in real-time on the Canada Border Services Agency or Government of Canada websites.

Some Bridges Experience Longer Wait Times than Others

Both resources show wait times for the various bridges connecting the two countries. Understandably, the route you take into Canada will affect your travel times. Some bridges may be more direct but also more popular. There are always alternatives, so consider detouring during a peak period. For example, there are 11 bridges in Ontario alone:

  • Cornwall
  • Fort Erie: The Peace Bridge
  • Fort Frances
  • Niagara
  • Pigeon River
  • Prescott
  • Rainy River Crossing
  • Sarnia: Blue Water Bridge
  • Sault Saint Marie: International Bridge
  • Thousand Islands Bridge
  • Windsor-Detroit Gateway

Regardless which route you take, it’s best to account for delays. Some travel experts even recommend completing the border-passing part of your trip a day early. While you might not need a 24-hour buffer, you certainly should leave a couple hours for the unexpected.