Boughner: U.S. legislators pushing to extend Snowbirds’ time in Florida

Great news for Canadian snowbirds wanting to stay longer in Florida, the Sunshine State, next winter.

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Great news for Canadian snowbirds wanting to stay longer in Florida, the Sunshine State, next winter.

Snowbirds who can’t get enough of Florida’s sunny beaches have some political allies on Washington’s bitterly divided Capitol Hill. The thing that has helped bring them together – all the money sunscreen-caked Canadians pour into Florida’s tourism-driven economy. Letting them stay longer means more business for restaurants, retail stores, hotels and attractions.

The push is on to allow older Canadians to spend more time in the U.S. – from six months to eight months without facing adverse tax consequences. The proposal is to allow Canadians over the age of 50 who own or rent a residence in the U.S. to stay two months longer. Under existing law, Canadians who stay in the U.S. for more than six months are required to pay U.S. federal income taxes on their income regardless of what country it’s earned in.

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The Canadian Snowbird Association estimates that at least 350,000 Canadians spend three to six months in Florida while another 100,000 spend between one to three months in the state. About eight in 10 own property in Florida.

Canadians are Florida’s top international visitors. More than 3.5-million Canadians made the trek in 2018, spending an estimated $6.5 billion, according to tourism officials.

The proposed bill to extend the stay period prohibits visitors from working for U.S. employers or seeking public assistance while in the U.S.


Collingwood, where I spent the past three years, has been named as one of Canada’s best places to live. Maclean’s magazine has ranked Collingwood 22nd on its annual list of the top 25 places to live in the country. Collingwood’s top three features, according to the magazine, were demographics, culture and community and commute. The town has also been recognized as a top place to retire and the number one community to start a business. The town is seeing an influx of retirees who want to contribute and of young entrepreneurs.

While I enjoyed the three years I spend in Collingwood and neighbouring Blue Mountain, I’m happy to be back home in Chatham, the place where I was born and raised. There is no place like home.


The annual Brigden Fair, a Thanksgiving tradition, is slated for Oct. 11-14 and attracts thousands of visitors from across Southwestern Ontario and neighbouring Michigan. This year marks the 169th year for the special fall event, considered one of the finest fall fairs in Canada.

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Midway ride coupons for only $23 are now available online at www.worldsfinestshows.com.


The first annual Honey Bee Festival is slated for Oct. 5 in Muskoka and there’s loads of sweet excitement in store for the public. All donations and proceeds will be going to the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

Festival events include a Honey Bee five-kilometre fun run/walk at Port Severn, a Honey Bee art show, Honey Bee golf tournament and a mayor’s honey bee gala.


North America’s most spectacular winter destinations include Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, Abraham Lake in Alberta, Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park, Fairbanks, Alaska and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.


The 40th annual Ruthven Apple Festival is taking place this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens in Kingsville. September in Essex County isn’t complete without the apple festival. It’s a great community event for the entire family, filled with fun, food, crafts, entertainment and a classic car show on Sunday. It was named one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by Festivals and Events Ontario.


Active, fresh air enthusiasts don’t require an excuse to get outdoors in the fall and enjoy a brisk walk or challenging hike. But for those who require an extra incentive there are plenty of locations in Ontario that provide just that. From climbing old fire towers to hiking rocky mountain cliffs there is something for everyone including Eagle’s Nest Lookout at Calabogie Peaks Resort, The Crack in Killarney Provincial Park, Dundas Peak 20 minutes west of Hamilton, Dorset Scenic Tower, Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton, East Lookout on Manitoulin Island and Skinners Bluff Scenic Lookout near Wiarton.

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The second annual all handmade or homegrown in Chatham-Kent event is slated for Oct. 12 at Snobelen Homestead in Ridgetown. The vendor event features a huge variety of goods for the home and family.


Spent last Sunday at the beach on Lake St. Clair in Belle River, one of the finest beaches I’ve come across in Southwestern Ontario. It’s a busy place with loads of picnic area space, a modern change room and washrooms and a food concession booth. Nearby is a state-of-the-art playground complete with a small water park, hiking trails, boat launch and plenty of parking.

And there is nothing finer than watching a sunset over Lake St. Clair. I wound up the day by having dinner at the nearby Sandbar restaurant listening to a great group of entertainers on the patio from nearby Windsor.

Their final patio performance of the year is this weekend.


The Mayor’s Evening for Arts is scheduled for Nov. 18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It’s a fundraiser for the Toronto Arts Foundation. The goal is to raise $1.3 million for Arts in the Parks.


Congratulations to my granddaughter, Sarah Michaud, a medical student at the University of Florida in Gainsville, for taking care of a dog for a few weeks while the devastating hurricane that ravaged parts of the Bahamas and threatened Florida, was taking place. Sarah is a member of the UF Health Florida Recovery Centre research lab and has been accepted as a student affiliate of the UF Centre for Addiction Research and Education (UF CARE).

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There is still time to take in Niagara Grape & Wine, Canada’s largest wine festival. Celebrate the harvest with 100 plus wines, live music and three VIP lounges at Montebello Park or choose your wine adventure with a wine festival discovery pass and enjoy curated wine pairings at more than 30 participating wineries.


A reminder that the Amherstburg Uncommon Festival is taking place Saturday and Sunday. Dress as a wizard or steampunk and be prepared to play. The festival is where guests meet odd and peculiar characters and engage in live performances in downtown Amherstburg.


A movie night featuring Hocus Pocus is slated for Oct. 30 at Point Pelee National Park in Leamington. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. in the visitor centre.


One of the newest hotels in Mexico slated to open this fall is the Majestic Elegance Playa Mujeres, located 35 kilometres from Cancun International Airport. Luxurious and sophisticated it’s perfect for those seeking the turquoise waters and white sand beaches of the Caribbean.

Readers are invited to submit their questions and suggestions on travel close to home or far away to travel writer Bob Boughner at bobgboughner@gmail.com.

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