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Crossing from Detroit to Windsor and back this afternoon

My husband and I live just a 20 minute drive from the Canadian border, so we cross frequently. We've learned to avoid the Detroit/Windsor tunnel during weekday afternoon rush hours and at popular casino times or when there's a major event going on in either city. Today, at 1:15 pm, with nothing special going on in the downtown of either city, we decided to spend the afternoon in Windsor. Since my TracFone only works in the US, I also have a SpeakOut phone that only works in Canada. The plan was to drive to the Seven/11 closest to the Canadian end of the Ambassador Bridge, top up the balance on my phone before it expired tomorrow, go to the Ontario Tourism Centre for ideas for where to go later this summer, go out to lunch, and go home. We got off of the Detroit freeway exit for the bridge (by which time there was no way to avoid crossing) and got trapped in a short backup from the toll booth. Little did we know that the backup was all the way across the bridge from Canadian Immigration. After 2-1/4 hours we got to a booth only to be yelled at by an immigration officer having a bad day when we mentioned the delay. At that point it was late, we were angry and hungry, and we weren't interested in visiting Canada again this summer. So we ate lunch and drove home through the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel without incident.

We've hit major delays at the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia on summer Fridays and Sundays when people are going to and returning from their cottages, but we've never seen anything like this at the Ambassador Bridge before.

Posted by
8889 posts

Oh my, this why they invented the EU. The principle that people should be able to have countries of their own choice, governed by their own governments with their own culture language and laws; but that borders should not be able to prevent free movement of peoples and goods without any restriction imposted by countries or governments.
But i fear that principle has recently had a major setback.

Posted by
3699 posts

And your point is?

By the way, the tourism centre south of the bridge has been closed for at least two years.

Posted by
103 posts

I doubt that the Detroit River Days events were causing the traffic problem getting to Canada on the bridge. As we crawled across the bridge, traffic to the US was speeding along. Besides, the events were all from the GM Renaissance Center to the William Milliken State Park, so if there was going to be terrible traffic because of them, it would have been at the tunnel which ends next to the RenCen. And the traffic in the tunnel when we were there was a bit slow but not problematic. Traffic on Jefferson was moving well also.

We're aware that the former tourism center on Huron Church Road near the bridge has been closed for a few years. We were going to the remaining one downtown on Park Street near Goyeau but we wanted to use the bridge. Even though we don't like to help to further enrich Matty Maroun (the owner), we like the view. And the Seven/11 we use is on Wyandotte right next to the northern entrance to the bridge, so it's very convenient. Their bank machines connect with our bank's network, so we pay fewer fees for using them to get Canadian cash. We occasionally go to Windsor Folk concerts at Mackenzie Hall, so we're used to using the bridge.

Posted by
95 posts

Were you able to ask the immigration (Canadian side) officer what was causing the delay? They would probably have a better idea than us,

Posted by
103 posts

I would have asked if she hadn't gone ballistic on us when we just mentioned the delay. At the end, I was just happy when she let us proceed and didn't pull us over for a further delay.