I have an account in the USA with TD Waterhouse, and they allowed me to open an account to trade in Canadian stocks. To trade those, I have to access the tdwaterhouse.ca website, but I believe that the trades are done online rather than broker assisted. I say "believe" because while I've opened the account, I haven't yet used it to purchase any Canadian stocks. But if I understand correctly, the account allows me to buy stocks directly from the Toronto Stock Exchange, including the Venture market.
There are probably other brokers that enable direct online purchase of TSE stocks as well. And since TD Waterhouse's US operations are being bought (actually I think the merger just concluded) by Ameritrade, the rules might be changing. But if you have a local TD Waterhouse branch, you might want to talk with them. The TD stands for Toronto Dominion (Bank), so no surprise that they've enabled online TSE trading. I'd guess though that this is not unique to them, so check around various brokers.
I have purchased Canadian stocks through Scottrade and Ameritrade, but I only recommend Ameritrade. You have to convert Canadian prices that the stocks trade in to US currency numbers and trade using the corresponding five letter symbol for the stock - for example, Ameritrade won't understand ADB.V for Admiral Bay, and if ADB.V trades at C$1.00, make sure your bid on what it will accept - ADBRF -reflects the corresponding US value of perhaps $0.86 - otherwise, you'd seriously overbid. I believe the commission is a flat $10.99 if you do this online. Broker assisted trades are more, but you probably won't ever need to do that. Good luck, and consider checking out Adanac and Goldrea if you haven't already.
The only negative I'm aware of - they take extra time to consider your funds cleared for such trades. For example, if you mail them a check to get funds in your account, you could buy NG with your funds sooner than you could buy ADBRF.
I have used ameritrade to buy the shares of a few Canadian companies that are not listed on the AMEX or whatever. I suggest that you practice.
1) How to convert from Canadian currency? On Yahoo finance on the left side scroll down to currencies, click on and play with that awhile til you are good at it,
2) If your only way is to buy the stocks on the pink sheets in $US, even before you do all your dd go on Ameritrade and find out what symbol works. Practice entering and reviewing buy order information (just in case you make a bad keystroke, use a very low figure for practice). You can do this anytime of any day.
3) Some times there is divergence between the adjusted Can/US activity, but often not much. Play with this some to get the feel of it. So far I have not seen bid and ask US prices on anything I've bought.
4) The process of ordering is the same as with a NASDAQ or AMEX stock, but what happens then is different. It seems to always take a long time to get a fill and (I blush to say this) I haven't figured out how to cancel an order... this needs fixing. Give me a break, I've only done a few purchases
5) I think the commission is the same.. $10.99
6) One way of trying to keep track of the price in the US is to use "My Yahoo" and in your tracking/watch list enter both the Canadian and the US symbols one after the other. Unfortunately, with the ones I have bought, only the previous days close on the pink sheet US stock is given.
Cumbersome?... Oh yes. Workable?... For me, so far, yes.
Pardon me if I think that the patriot act regulations causing Penntrade to stop taking new clients have nothing to do with terrorism.