US Canada Shopping : Those 5 Things Worth Buying From Each Side Of The Border

Alexandre Desoutter Alexandre Desoutter  updated on 2021-08-04
Border crossing points Main cities

A border between two countries always is a good opportunity for purchasing cheaper goods on the other side of where we live! That’s particularly the case between Canada and the United States, with taxes varying from one State / Province to another, and things that are cheaper from both sides of the border. Check out what and where!


5 things that are worth buying in the US for Canadians

double bed

Beddings and towels

In terms of luxury brands, it’s much cheaper to buy a fresh new set of beddings or towels in the US than in Canada. Indeed, it often pays to look for end-of-season sales at Kate Spade or even at Ralph Lauren Home.

Toys

Since a lot of toy brands are made in the US territory, it’s normal to find some toys cheaper in this country. This works for brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Little Tikes or American Girl. US retailers that sell these toys have prices that can’t be beat elsewhere.

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jeans

Jeans

There’s no better place to buy denim than the US. You will find plenty of discount denim at big bow retailers such as Target and Walmart. But, US is also the perfect place to invest in more luxury jeans without blowing the bank. Indeed, you can look for American-made brands like Rag&Bone or Paige. These brands are available in Canada but they’re much cheaper to buy in the US.

Footwear

If you’ve ever ordered shoes from an international website, you may have been broadsided by unexpectedly high duties (that can sometimes double the price of the shoes themselves). This is because the shoes may have been sourced from a country that doesn’t currently have a free trade agreement with Canada. So, you can purchase shoes from American brands such as Bass, New Balance, Keen… that you will find at a much cheaper price.

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Electronics

There’s usually not a huge difference between what Canadians and Americans pay for large-scale home electronics. However, you can make the biggest savings on smaller electronics and accessories such as GPS devices, memory cards, flash drives, video games or even wearable tech.


5 things that are worth buying in Canada for Americans

cheese

Cheese

According to Numbeo*, cheese is generally cheaper in Canada than in the US. Indeed, 1 kilogram of local cheese costs an average of 11.76$ in Canada, while in the US, you’ll pay on average 13.22$. It can be worth crossing the border if you are up to buy big volumes!

*Numbeo is a global database derived from the mass collection of reported consumer prices, perceived crime rates, health care quality, and other statistics.

Tourist attractions & hotel rooms

In average, visiting the top tourist attractions in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal will set you back an average of 23.10$, using costs shown by Price of Travel website, against a 43.16$ average cost in the US. The same website reveals that hotel room prices in greater cities are 47% more expensive in the US than in Canada. That’s why spending holidays in Canada for Americans is definitely a great deal!

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mountains

Mountain equipment

It is not a secret that Canada is an outdoor sports paradise, enjoying beautiful mountains and vast untouched naturel parks. Indeed, some brands like Mountain Equipment Co-op – that can only be found in Canada – are top references for mountain equipment. A good reason to cross the border if you are American and fond of outdoor activities.

New cars

Sometimes, it’s cheaper to buy a car in Canada than in the US. Even if it depends on the model of the car and where you are buying it, here’s some cars that are cheaper in Canada:

  • A Volkswagen Golf or equivalent will cost approximately 23,000$ in Canada compared to 26,870$ in the US
  • A Toyota Corolla or equivalent will cost approximately 21,603$ while it will cost 24,902$ on average in the US.
brand new car with dollar price tag
medicine

Medicine

Medicine is way cheaper in Canada than in the United States. In fact, the difference in prices is so big that many Americans are buying their prescription drugs from their northern neighbors. An EpiPen, for instance, is about a third of the cost in Canada.


Where to go shopping next to the border ?

There are many shopping centres & malls accessible from both sides of the Canada-US border. Here we drop you some ideas, but there are many more options!

Shopping centres on the American side

Many shopping facilities have appeared in the recent decades to attract the Canadian consumers with cheaper prices than in their country. Here is a non-exhaustive list of towns and shopping centres to go around for Canucks in the US:

  • For Torontonians, many shopping facilities can be found next to the Buffalo-Niagara falls border, among which we can list The Fashion Outlets Mall and the Walden Galeria, which concentrate dozens of shops
  • Detroit also proposes a lot of malls accessible for Canadians, among which the Great Lakes Crossing Mall and the Twelve Oaks Mall.
  • There exists many shopping centres like Walmart, where you can find almost everything, in all the big or smaller cities next to the border, on the US side.

Duty-free shops on the Canadian-side of the border

Americans can shop in one of the 28 private duty-free shops that are dispatched all along the border. Consult the map and custom allowances. They will find Canadian products at competitive prices, just a few miles from the border.

What is the VAT rate applied in border States / Provinces along the US Canada border ?

Given that each State of the US and each Province in Canada applies its own VAT rate, some States / Province inhabitants may be very privileged in comparison to other. For example :

  • In Saskatchewan (Canada), the VAT rate is 11%, applied to every consumption goods. However, the border residents just have to cross the border to land in Montana, where… the is no VAT at all !
  • As Quebec residents, the inhabitants of Montreal are subject to a 14,975% VAT rate when they purchase stuff. Approximately 3 hours drive will take them to the border of New Hampshire, a small State which is VAT free. Why not enjoying this proximity ?

In this table you’ll find taxes that apply on products in border states between Canada and US.

United States Taxes
Montana 0%
Delaware0%
New Hampshire 0%
New York State4%
North Dakota 5%
Wisconsin 5%
Maine 5.5%
Ohio 5.75%
Idaho 6%
Maryland6%
Michigan 6%
Vermont 6%
Pennsylvania 6%
Massachussets 6.25%
Connecticut 6.35%
Washington 6.5%
New Jersey 6.63%
Minnesota 6.88%
Rhode Island 7%
Taxes applied in US States close to Canada
Canada Taxes
Alberta 5%
Saskatchewan 11%
British Columbia 12%
Manitoba 12%
Ontario 13%
Quebec 14.975%
Prince Edward Island15%
New Brunswick 15%
Nova Scotia 15%
Taxes applied in Canadian Provinces close to the US

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