The Montreal question

Alex Andrews had a plan to party. Recently, the junior at UVM and his friends tried to cross the border into Canada.”We’d been planning to go for a while and were pretty psyched,” he said. “Then we got all the way up there and the customs agent told us we didn’t have the proper paperwork, handed us some lame pamphlet and turned us around!” Andrews’ case is just one example of a trip to Canada gone wrong. Recently, there have been some changes in our country’s economy, and border policy. This leaves many people wondering what they’ll need to enter the country, and where they can go to make their trip worthwhile.Transportation Andrews guessed that the 100-mile trip would have cost $35 in gas between him and his friends. For those without a car, nonstop bus rides are available from Greyhound on the weekends. The catch is that the ride is two and a half hours long, and costs between $58 and $78. Also, if you plan on exercising your Canadian drinking rights, be sure to bring some cash for taxis. Paperwork According to the pamphlet given to Andrews, on Jan. 31 a new law came into effect requiring US citizens 19 and older to present their photo ID, as well as proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or a passport when crossing the border. This is a big change for students who are used to only needing their ID, especially since the price of a passport has recently been increased to $100, according to the US Department of State Web site. However, for $45, it is possible to buy a Passport Card, which can only be used for land and sea travel between the US and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Lodging If you are lucky enough to get past the customs officials, there’s a good chance they’ve asked you where you’re staying. While many students opt to stay with friends or family in the area, not everyone has such a luxury. For those who can’t afford the Sheraton, cheaper motels in the area can be found with a quick Google search. There is also the option of youth hostels, for the adventurous type, such as the Auberge de Jeunesse, for $30 a night, according to www.Visiting-Montreal.com. But it’s not recommended for those who aren’t comfortable sleeping in a room full of strangers. The Fun Part The famous St. Catherine street offers endless choices of bars, restaurants and stores, but there are hidden getaways as well. Mike Anderson, a McGill student, recommends Café Hookah on St. Denis in the Latin Quarter for a good time. “Café Hookah is a wonderful place to smoke at a really cheap price, and they’ll generally play a Radiohead album all the way through. You can sit in these awe?some Persian tents and order local micro?brews from this huge menu.”Unfortunately, Café Hookah closes at 2 a.m., and this is not an acceptable time for many Vermonters to stop partying. Elliot Levi, a self-proclaimed Canada connoisseur, says his time in Montreal is never spent without a visit to Club Stereo, at the East end of St. Catherine. “Stereo opens at 2 a.m. and closes around 10 a.m. It’s the best place to go for bruxia-inducing progressive house mu?sic.” DJ Magazine rated Stereo the number 11 dance club in the world in 2007. For many UVM students, Montreal becomes an extension of college life on the weekends. Whatever Vermont doesn’t have, there is always Canada. Although, such an outing might not seem to require planning at first, it’s still good to know what to bring, and where you plan to go when you cross the border. C’est merveilleux!