The Canadian Civic Holiday long weekend is typically one of the heaviest traffic weekends of the entire year for U.S. and Canadian border crossings. Civic Holiday is celebrated throughout Canada with the exception of Quebec. The holiday is celebrated on the first Monday in August. This holiday creates a 3 day weekend so traffic can be heavy at border crossings. Many cities hold festivals or other events as well. Celebrated on the first Monday in August.
August is the heaviest travel month along the border so you will experience increased traffic backups and border crossing delays for the entire month. However, on the Civic Holiday, traffic is at least 25 to 30% higher than normal.
Canadian Civic Holiday Border Wait Times
In general, the larger border crossings can see huge delays during this holiday period. Border crossing in Washington such as Peace Arch and Pacific Highway, and New York ports such as the Lewiston Bridge and Peace Bridge can see up to 5 hour delays.
- Remember that before heading out you should check current traffic conditions and border wait times on ezbordercrossing.com for the specific port you are planning to use.
- You will want to keep an eye on our road conditions page as you near trip time to make sure you know what you will face on the roads.
How to Avoid the Heaviest Civic Holiday Traffic
- Your best chance to avoid traffic is to arrive at the border before 7 am or after 8 pm. Some ports will open additional lanes at earlier times than usual.
- Be aware that traffic is especially heavy when it mixes with normal commuter traffic on Friday or Monday
- If possible, use a smaller alternative port rather than the major ports.
- Use NEXUS if everybody in the vehicle is a cardholder.
- Make sure to get gas and a restroom stop before entering a long queue at the border.
- Customs typically opens all available lanes and adds staff to handle the heavy traffic over the weekend. You should be prepared to move into lanes that might not normally be open.
- You should always check our page for the specific port you are going to use to see if there are any traffic alerts or updates on wait times.
- Visitors and returning residents should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Make sure you are prepared for your border crossing by reviewing ezbordercrossing.com pages on the border crossing experience, prohibited items, and required documentation.
Increased Civic Holiday Police Activity
Across both countries, you should expect to see an increased police presence including many more unmarked patrol cars and random roadside drunk driving stops. The bottom line: drive safely, don’t drink and drive, no texting while driving, and make sure you know if you are travelling in a province or state that requires hands-free cellphone use.
Prepare for your Border Crossing
To reduce delays, make sure you are prepared for your border crossing by reviewing ezbordercrossing.com pages on the border crossing experience, prohibited items, and required documentation. You should also check our page for the specific port you are going to use to see if there are any traffic alerts or updates on wait times.