Getting Trapped In Canada

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It was just recently that I had the honor of joining Carbon Leaf on tour. We went to New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, and I even got to go to Canada! I had never played out of the United States so this was a big deal. This made me an international act. Getting into Canada was easy enough. My dad and I answered a few questions, gave the man our ID’s and passports, and then just went on in! We stayed at a funky hotel that had rooms themed to the different Cadillac’s in pop culture, ate some burgers, and I even got to have a beer! (Don’t worry, legal age is 18 and I’m 20) I was lucky enough to see Niagara Falls and I got to do one of my favorite activities, go the aquarium.

The Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto was my first choice in activities because it was raining and I LOVE seeing marine life. Not only did it have a huge jellyfish exhibit, but it also had an octopus! (Psst which happens to be the theme of my merch by the way) It was a wonderful day that ended with a wonderful gig with Carbon Leaf. My first international gig was a success and the next day I would be headed back into the US to continue the tour.

The drive was smooth and I got to say goodbye to Niagara Falls, but that all changed when it was time to cross the border. We pulled up and handed the man our passports and he immediately started firing off questions.

“Where are you coming from?”

“Toronto.”

“Where are you going to?”

“Buffalo, New York.”

“Why not home?”

“I have to go to work. I’m a musician.”

“You’re a musician? Really….?”

“Um-yes sir? I just played my first Canadian gig.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Positive?”

“You don’t sound too sure. You have a lot of stuff in the back, roll down the windows.”

We did as we were asked and rolled down the windows. The man looked inside, grumbling to himself and complaining about how much stuff was in the back.

“You brought all of this into Canada?”

“Yes, it’s my equipment and I’m on tour.”

“Do you have any drugs or alcohol in this vehicle?”

I was slightly taken back. I knew in my mind that he was just doing his job, but he was asking a lot of questions that made me nervous for no reason.

“No sir.”

“You sure? You are a musician?”

“I’m sure. I don’t do drugs and I cannot drink in America.”

After many more unnecessary questions about my job and assuming I was lying, I told him where he could find my music and proved to him that I was telling the truth. He finally let us through and my dad and I let out a small sigh. What a weird encounter? For a good few minutes I thought he wasn’t going to let us through! We made our way to Buffalo and continued the tour as planned, but I will never forget the struggle to get back home.

One Comment

  • Dave says:

    Just be careful to never tell a Canadian customs officer that you’re entering Canada to _work_. You can be entering to attend a meeting, perform at a concert, whatever, but never to work. They are touchy about that word. I mention this because you used the work word on the way back, which was ok, minus the part where they thought you were a drug-running electronics smuggler.

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