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Have the Best Duty-Free Shopping Experience in Canada and More

If you are flying into or out of Canada; this article will give you a glimpse of the duty-free shopping experience at Canadian Airports and border-crossings. It will also brief you about importing and Canadian customs-scene.

You may already know that items sold at duty-free shops are free of taxes. This means they are more economical than regular stores.

Anything you purchase from Canada duty-free must be taken out of Canada, as they are for export-only.

But first, let’s begin with the import of goods into Canada its Customs rate structure:

Canadian Custom Duty Rates

Canada’s Customs Act manages custom duty rates. CBSA or Canada Border Services Agency takes care of the enforcement of the same.

  • Commercial Transactions

Canada bound-shipments are viewed as commercial transactions. So, import duties apply.

To categorize goods correctly, you can take the help of a customs broker since the regulations can get very complicated.

  • Duty-Free Exemption:

You do not have to pay duty on goods manufactured in Mexico, the United States of America, or Canada.

However, they must accompany a certificate from the North America Free Trade Association.

Also, when you travel on a return flight ticket to Canada, you may be exempted from customs duty rates. It means that you can bring goods of specific worth without paying any tax or duty.

CBSA regulates the value and amount of goods that carry no charge. And, CBSA ascertains the value depending upon the length of absence from Canada. For instance, returning to Canada:

  1. Within 24 hours: No personal exemptions will be granted to same-day cross-border shoppers.
  2. After 24 and 48 hours: You may claim goods of up to $200 without any charge. Anything over this is applicable for full duty. Also, you must be accompanying goods with you when you enter the country. Sadly, this exemption doesn’t apply to tobacco and liquor products.
  3. After 48 hours, a week, or less than a year: You can bring in goods worth $800 or under without any charge. Liquor such as wine, alcoholic beverages, and beer must not exceed 1.5 liters, 1.14 liters, and 8.5 liters, respectively.

Further, up to 200 grams of manufactured tobacco, 200 cigarette sticks, and 50 cigars carry no duty. However, some tobacco products and alcoholic beverages may not be included.

Even yet, most goods are subject to other taxes, such as GST, PST, and HST. These are:

  • Federal Goods and Service Tax (GST):

A 5% tax is applicable on almost every good. Some exceptions are prescription drugs, artificial teeth, hearing aids, vegetables, milk, and bread.

  • Harmonized Service Tax (HST):

Provinces such as Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edwards Island, and Labrador have framed the tax in accordance with Canada’s general sales tax. Hence, the name Harmonized Service Tax.

  • Provincial Service Tax (PST):

This varies from province to province.

Now, let’s move on to the “more-fun” segment.

Best Duty-Free Experience in Canada

You can pre-order beauty products, liquor, tobacco, and other goods online to save time at the airports. However, your shopping experience at the below mentioned Canadian experience tops it.

This may also result in financial savings. When you make payment at the airport with a credit card, you may escape a foreign exchange fee.

Also, remember that proof of your date of birth is necessary when shopping for tobacco, liquor, and so on.

Moving on, do check-out:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YVR) Duty-Free:

Shopping at the Toronto Pearson International Airport is exciting. If you book a flight ticket to or from Toronto, make sure you have enough time to go through at least one of the four duty-free shops at the airport.

(i) Best Buys:

You can buy a wide variety of goods such as souvenirs, travel accessories, and local products. Best buys also include watches and jewelry.

Find out store locations:

  1. International Flight Departures at Terminal 1: Operates from 4 am to 12 am daily.
  1. The USA Flight Departures at Terminal 1: The store follows different operational timings on different days. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays it is 5 am – 9 pm. The rest of the days it will be open at 4.30 am and close at the same time.
  2. International Departures at Terminal 3: The timings of this store are from 3 am to 1.30 am every day.
  1. The USA Flight Departures at Terminal 3: Visit the store from 5 am to 9 pm.
  • Vancouver Duty-Free:

Although the choice is fewer than Toronto’s Pearson Airport, Vancouver Duty-Free is a great shopping experience.

There is only one store that is located at the International Terminal. You can head over to the place at any time of the day.

(i) Best Buys:

Check out beauty products and cosmetics. Perfumes are a tourist-favorite, and of course, candy!

  • Halifax Stanfield Airport (YHZ) Duty-Free:

Perhaps the best part of shopping at Halifax Airport is the ‘Concierge Retailing.’ It will help travelers such as those flying on last-minute flights.

You can decide what you buy even before you reach the airport.

There are two stores located at YHZ. You will find one of them at the Transborder zone, just beyond the U.S. security.

The other one is in the International Zone. It is located across gate number 24 in the departures section.

(i) Best Buys:

Watch out for Skincare and liquor such as Newfoundland Screech rum and others such as Piper Heidsieck.

  • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) Duty-Free:

Just like Halifax’s Stanfield Airport, duty-free at Montreal is operated by Aer Rianta International. The name of the store is Loop Duty-Free.

You shall found the stores near gate numbers 75 and 52

(i) Best Buys:

The best buys at the Montreal Airport is perhaps the fashion accessories. Also, look out for local confectionaries, chocolates, and gum.

The Loop Duty-Free catalog consists of 14000 products. So, good luck choosing!

Duty-Free Stores across Canada

You can also dig through all the duty-free goodies at various border-crossings across Canada. Here are a couple of examples:

  • 1000 Islands Duty-Free:

Currently, the third generation operates this family-run store. You get crisp service as the family has been involved in the duty-free business for decades.

You will observe a vast selection of unique gift items, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, fragrances, food, and gourmet chocolate, amongst others.

Find the store at Highway 137 #839 Lansdowne, Ontario.

  • Kingsgate:

Shopping at Kingsgate saves up to 40 – 60% of your money. It is located on 6982 Highway 95 South, Kingsgate, BC.

That is about half a kilometer from the BC Eastport and Idaho Border. Another thing unique to the store is that they deliver goods to the border-crossing.

Also, at the store, you will find other services like Currency Exchange, Photocopy, Fax Service, and VIP Customer Program.

  • Blue Water-Sarnia:

This facility spread over 10 thousand square feet. You will also find a coffee lodge and Food Court here. The duty-free store is at 2 Bridge Street, Point Edward, Ontario.

  • Stanhope:

If you book tickets to Canada for travel between April 15 – November 30, Stanhope Duty-Free at 985 Route 147, Quebec City is a must-experience.

Impeccable services and facilities like Traveler’s Information, Currency Exchange, etc. enhance the shopping experience.

There’s no end to the number and variety of products you can buy at Canada Duty-Free shopping locations. However, it is essential to follow laws and rules associated with international travel and transit and goods. Other than that, have fun shopping!