As you would expect of a lady, Kickass Canada Girl does not undertake major travel lightly… nor indeed does she travel light! At the risk of offending it has to be said that this is true of many ladies; I myself have known of only one exception, and in that case I suspect that there was witchcraft involved…
When the Girl leaves for Victoria on Sunday she will be accompanied by three large suitcases (in addition to her hand luggage) and will be followed to BC after a week or so by thirteen good sized boxes. She is moving home of course so this is eminently reasonable, but the logistics of it all take some planning.
As an Air Canada Premier customer the Girl can take two cases under her baggage allowance and thus has only to pay an additional charge for the third item. The boxes – which weigh a total of around 180Kg – are more of a problem. Searching the web for helpful suggestions as to economical and effective methods of transportation merely confuses, revealing a plethora of shipping options. Obtaining quotations for many of these requires submission of rather more information than I care to divulge and then waiting for someone to make contact. Whilst doing so I followed up some personal recommendations but in each case the costs seemed to me to be on the high side.
In the end we decided that the best option would be simply to ship the boxes by Air Canada Cargo. As there is no middle man – and because they don’t pick up or deliver – their costs are quite reasonable. Our friends in Saanichton live within 10/15 minutes of Victoria airport and as there is always a pickup to hand (naturally!) the collection part of the operation should be quite straightforward. Getting the boxes to Heathrow will be trickier. We live reasonably close – about half an hour away – but I don’t have a vehicle that will take that many boxes in one go, so it looks as though I will have to hire.
The complication comes – you will not be surprised to hear – in the matter of Customs and Excise. Putting together a manifest for each box is straightforward enough – given the usual difficulty of ascribing a sensible value to personal effects that one may have had for years – but ensuring that the list is comprehensive is not so easy. Everything that the Girl takes back into Canada must be detailed on Canadian Border Services Agency form B4 and handed in to Border Control on her arrival. My understanding is that this list must also cover anything else that she may subsequently want to take back to Canada (remembering that many of her chattels may well stay in the UK until I move there myself in a couple of year’s time) otherwise she will be liable to pay tax on them. This means planning ahead for the next two years to ensure that she doesn’t forget something that she might need. The odds on this part of the operation going entirely smoothly are, I would hazard, slender.
Fortunately there is a wealth of information available online for Canadian nationals who are returning to Canada. This site (Moving Back to Canada) is particularly useful. Hats off to Paul Kurucz for the work that clearly went into it.