I was accepted into a Master's Program starting in the fall semester. I've already received my Québec Acceptance Certificate and had my application for a study permit approved. (I understand I can only receive my study permit upon entry to Canada.)
I have an invitation from a friend who lives near Montreal to stay with them for a while before my program starts. It'd be nice to be able to look around the city a bit before I have to worry about finding an apartment and all the other stresses that come with an international move, and I'm a U.S. Citizen so I should be able to visit as a tourist with just my passport. My main point of confusion is that the CAQ lists an effective start and end date for my stay, while the letter notifying me of my successful study permit application only lists a date by which I must leave Canada.
So, if I fly into Montreal before the start date on my CAQ, can I be issued my study permit on first arrival? Failing that, can I enter as a tourist and then drive down to the US/Canada border to get my study permit after my CAQ start date? Would this raise any eyebrows among the immigration officers?
Edit: I'd be going to visit in mid-July, whereas the start date on my CAQ is the first of August, so this would only be for a week or two.