On Monday the border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie was backed up at times, with more personal vehicles like cars, pickups and RVs than have been seen on the International Bridge in some time.
It joined border crossings across the country in opening to non-essential travel from the United States for the first time in well over a year.
The Canadian Border Services Agency website was at times showing two-hour wait times for travellers, while commercial traffic was slowed with a three-hour wait.
The border was closed to non-essential travel about 17 months ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, US citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated and have a recent negative COVID-19 test result can once again enter Canada for non-essential travel.
Fully-vaccinated Canadian citizens were allowed to travel into Canada under similar conditions as of last month.
Recently released bridge traffic statistics by the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority show a 97 per cent reduction in one-way bridge crossings in July 2021 versus the same month two years ago, prior to the pandemic.
Year-to-date traffic is also down 67 per cent versus the data released in 2020.
Traffic is up slightly over last year for the month of July, with a total of 1,655 additional crossings — an increase of about 16 per cent.