When I lived in Niagara, I had a passport since I was so close to the US border, I would cross over fairly often and it was needed. I also coached baseball in the US so a passport was a necessity. After I moved to Alberta, I allowed the passport to expire since I am about 4 hours to the border of Montana and then it is another hour or so before you get to the next town. I have not traveled to the US via air in ages (1993 was the last time, I think) and I have never traveled outside of North America, so, I decided why should I spend the money on a renewal.
So, now my work is sending me overseas to Mauritius to do training and obviously, a passport is required. I am leaving for Toronto on March 24, 2 weeks today actually. I applied for my passport on Wednesday. Nothing like waiting until the last second eh?
Well, I had a friend be my guarantor. He dropped by a couple of weeks ago and signed the application, he also met my new dog Twix, Blondie and Hera already love him, so now, hopefully, a third dog does too. Anyway, I hadn’t gotten my picture taken as yet, so I couldn’t get him to sign the pictures. Well, finally, on Monday, I got my pictures done. The holdup was that I hadn’t gotten a haircut. The holdup on that was that I have a Doctorate in Procrastination.
Wednesday, I spent some time to go and apply for the passport. I went to one of the offices fairly near my house. Both the navigation system in my car AND Google maps took me to a building that is under construction. I was finally able to find the correct building – for some reason, Service Canada does not have outside signage – very helpful. I go up to the third floor and as I am waiting in line, I see a sign that says something along the lines of “If you are traveling before April 11, we can’t help you”… Wow, great. I am next in line so I ask where I need to go. Downtown, to the main Service Canada office, of course.
So, I punch in the address and head downtown – 30 minute drive. OK, fine. I arrive and the address is a hotel. I entered the address as South-West, instead of South-East. I have already paid for parking, so I walk 4 blocks to the correct address – at least it was only 220 and not 880 – otherwise, I would have had to drive.
I do find the correct building and hey, a giant sign – helpful for sure. Too bad I missed it as I drove past the first time.
I stand in the first line, this is to get a number. I am A130, it is currently at A95. I ask how long the wait will be, I am told about an hour. OK, not too bad I guess – there are a ton of people waiting. Fifty-five minutes later, my number comes up – awesome, not as bad as I thought it would be. I had to get one more piece of information for the application, not a problem and paid the fee ($180 for 10 years, $160 for the passport and $20 for delivery).
The “delivery” fee allows me to come back downtown on March 22 and pick up my passport. If I wanted it delivered to my home, it would have been $50, and they couldn’t guarantee it would be delivered in time. That would have cost me $100. So, anyway, yes, I can come back downtown on the 22nd and pick up my passport, no problem.
Anyway, long story short, my passport application is in, I will go and pick it up in a couple of weeks and then I will be off. What fun. At least this time, when I go back downtown, I will know where I am going and not park in front of a hotel and walk 4 blocks in -20 weather. Yeah, fun.