Canada-US Border Crossings in Niagara

The Niagara River forms a shared border between Canada and the United States. Thus there are 5 border crossings in the Niagara Region, 4 by road and 1 by rail. The road border crossings link up with the busy Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), which runs from Fort Erie in the south, north to Niagara Falls and westward, crossing the Welland Canal via the Garden City Skyway, and running parallel to the south shore of Lake Ontario, west toward the City of Hamilton. The QEW is one of Ontario’s busiest highways and a major route for commercial truck traffic carrying goods to and from Canada and the US. Gathering information about traffic flow at border crossings and ways that wait times affect people and businesses helps us to understand transportation in the Niagara context.

The data in the tables below shows a defined downward trend (with some exceptions) in cross-border travel. It is important to note that Q3 (July – September) ‘alternative travel’ is largely by boat.

International border crossings in Niagara from the US (inbound) January to March 2011 were 1,654,973 (607,697 for March) – down 5.9% from the previous period.
International border crossings from Niagara to the US (outbound) January to March 2011 were 6,763,519 – up 8.5% from the previous year.

The statistics from 2012 show an increase in cross-border traffic, but in 2013 there is a noticeable dip. Numbers for alternatives to automobiles (eg. boat, train) for crossing the border are also in decline, but they represent a large number of crossings.

The following tables depict Statistics Canada data on all major Canada-US border crossings in Niagara, from CANSIM Table 427-0001; see Excel spreadsheet at the link following these tables for data, summary and analysis.


americans entering canada

canadians returning from u.s.

alternate travel u.s. to canada

alternative travel canadians returninf

Source: “Regional Tourism Profiles.” Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Statistics Canada. Table 427-0001 – Number of international travellers entering or returning to Canada, by type of transport, quarterly (persons)
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Yearly Volumes, 2014, Peace Bridge border crossing between Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario

East – To U.S. West – To Canada
Month Auto Truck Auto Truck Bus Total
1 133,508 51,820 134,246 49,410 1,044 370,028
2 135,030 49,212 132,278 47,199 1,027 364,746
3 163,048 53,581 173,421 51,165 1,057 442,272
4 158,767 55,073 174,142 53,413 1,066 442,461
5 182,458 55,853 191,980 54,925 1,227 486,443
6 201,036 56,498 201,731 52,335 1,033 512,633
7 239,814 54,914 245,505 53,797 1,269 595,299
8 263,115 51,610 265,631 51,669 1,357 633,382
9 183,244 57,491 182,814 54,053 1,167 478,769
Total 1,660,020 486,052 1,701,748 467,966 10,247 4,326,033

East-bound bus traffic is included in east-bound auto totals.

Source: The Peace Bridge
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St. Lawrence Seaway in Niagara: the Welland Canal

The Welland Canal portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway allows large lakers and ocean vessels to navigate to and from the heart of North America, generating annual economic impact in the Niagara region alone of over $222 million. In 2013, combined traffic on the Seaway totalled 37.1 million tonnes, mostly bulk cargo.

Source: 2013-2014 Corporate Summary, St. Lawrence Seaway Commission
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