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Canada - Getting There By Sea

There are several ports you can use to get to Canada by ferry. On the west coast of the country you can reach Canada by leaving from Washington State (USA) from a choice of ports including Port Angeles, Seattle, Bellingham and Anacortes. Each of these departure points operates routes to the port at Victoria on Vancouver Island which is part of the province called British Columbia. The main ferry company is Washington State Ferry Service, although there are several private ferry companies also that run regular journeys between the United States and Canada.

Port Angeles is a city in the northern part of Washington State, and is a popular departure point for those wishing to catch a ferry into Canada. The British Columbia Ferry service does not operate trips from Port Angeles of Seattle in Washington although there is a private ferry company that does offer that route.

There are several ferry companies which run the trip into Canada, each with a slightly different route and as such slightly different trip durations. The MV Coho which is operated by the Black Ball Line runs every day of the year between the ports of Port Angeles and Victoria. The trip usually takes around 95 minutes one way. Schedules often change so contacting them prior to making the journey is advisable.

Longer journeys can be taken with Victoria San Juan Cruises. This trip departs from the port at Bellingham, which is approximately 80 miles to the north of Seattle. From there the journey will take you through the San Juan Islands and on to Victoria in British Columbia. It is possible to book your tickets for this journey up to 30 minutes prior to departure providing there is enough free capacity to take you. Pre-booking your ferry crossing is advised. If you choose to travel with Washington State Ferry Service then your departure port will be Anacortes and your final destination will be Sidney on Vancouver Island. This is the only international ferry service operated through this company. This is also the most scenic of all routes and takes in the San Juan Islands. If you are travelling with a vehicle then your reservations must be pre-booked. All reservations must be made at least 48 hours prior to departure.

It is possible to depart from the states of Michigan and Ohio and take ferries across the lakes into Canada. There are 3 ferry companies that operate from Michigan to Ontario; The Bluewater Ferry, the Walpole-Algonac Ferry and the Detroit–Windsor Truck Ferry. There is one company that operates through Ontario Ferries from Ontario to Ohio although this only runs during the summer season. There are also other seasonal routes between Ontario and New York State (the Cape Vincent-Wolfe Island Ferry) and between New Brunswick and Maine (the Deer Island-East Port Ferry).

All passengers who wish to travel between the US and Canada by ferry must hold a passport. This is now strictly enforced for all passengers trying to return into the United States from Canada.

Useful Resources

Black Ball Transport Inc.
Tel: (250) 386-2202 in Victoria
Tel: (360) 457-4491 in Port Angeles

Victoria San Juan Cruises
Tel: (360) 738-8099
Tel: 1-800-443-4552

Washington State Ferries
Tel: (250) 381-1551 in Victoria
Tel: (206) 464-6400 in Washington
Toll Free: 1-800-843 3779

Read more about this country

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