Song fest visitors to see normal border delays

As Latvians prepare to visit this summer’s biggest Latvian ethnic event in North America—the song festival in Toronto—they should also ready themselves for delays at the border as they enter Canada. But, says a border service spokesman, those delays should not be any greater than expected during a busy holiday season.

The 12th Latvian Song Festival in Canada is scheduled July 1-4 in downtown Toronto and occurs over two major holidays, Canada Day on July 1 and the Fourth of July in the United States.

“That weekend will be a busy, busy time,” Canada Border Services Agency spokesman Danny Yen told Latvians Online. Visitors arriving by automobile should expect on average a 20-minute delay as they enter Canada, he said.

“We do staff up for the busy times,” Yen added. However, he said the border services agency can’t predict if additional security measures might be in place because of unexpected events. Border security has become tighter since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

Latvians traveling by automobile most likely will use one of seven main border crossings into southern Ontario, including the bridge crossing from Detroit, Mich., into Windsor, Ont., the busiest on the Canada-U.S. border, Yen said.

Other points include a tunnel from Detroit into Windsor; a crossing from Point Huron, Mich., to Point Edward, Ont.; a crossing from Buffalo, N.Y., to Fort Erie, Ont., and three bridges at Niagara Falls.

Literature about traveling to Canada includes suggestions such as carrying appropriate documentation, including U.S. passports or green cards that show a person’s citizenship status. Latvians without U.S. documentation, such as those holding Latvian passports, might check with a Canadian consulate for travel information. Further information about traveling to Canada is available from the Canada Border Services Agency’s Web site, which includes a page with hourly updates on Canada-bound and U.S.-bound border wait times.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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