Sunday, November 8, 2009
Fort Frances 1958 Archives of Ontario image
The border between the U.S. and Canada at International Falls and Fort Frances no longer looks as simple as this. The welcome arch has bit the dust years ago, with Canada's message to travelers more of a basic sign than an overarching welcome. The dropping of the welcome, however, I would have to say is serious business on the American side. Do Americans actually want people to come visit their country?
Yesterday I decided that this is the last time I am crossing into the States.
I am in Fort Frances this weekend teaching classes at the Seven Generations Institute on Couchiching First Nations which is on Rainy Lake. The Rainy Lake empties into the Rainy River. On the other side of the Rainy River lies the town of International Falls, which is in Koochiching County. Fort Frances used to be called Fort St. Pierre, but was renamed after Lady Frances, George Simpson's wife, came to the settler post. International Falls lies on what became the American side when the settler colonials were establishing their dominions and nations.
Prior to this spring, Canadians who wished to cross the border into the US needed simply a driver's license, but now we need a passport, thanks to American homeland security. So, I had my passport ready. People cross the border between Fort Frances and International Falls frequently; some doing that daily or very regularly. For example, if you want to go to the cinema to see a movie you have to cross the border as there is no movie theatre in Fort Frances. After teaching class on Saturday, I decided to drive across the border to have supper on the American side, just for variety and relaxation. Well, entering the US was anything but relaxing!
...to be continued