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PHOTOS: US/Canadian Border Crossings in New England

by in Mar 2009
PHOTOS: US/Canadian Border Crossings in New England
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Writer Edie Clark traveled the New England section of the US/Canadian border for an article in the March/April 2009 Yankee and shared these photos of the trip. What was once the “friendliest border” has become deadly serious, she notes.

Read her story: United States/Canadian Border

See also YANKEE CLASSIC January 1984: US/Canadian Border Crossings

Updated Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

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10 Responses to PHOTOS: US/Canadian Border Crossings in New England

  1. T Vincent February 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    I have travelled extensively in the US and Canada and made many border crossings (lots of remote ones); I have been to Estcourt and met Phil Dumond.
    Before 9/11, yes, it was probably too lax and way too easy to cross illegally.
    But, like all things government, once it starts in a certain direction, it’s like a snowball down hill.
    I find the manner of the inspectors particularly grating.
    This move from a police style to paramilitary (and the kind of people it attracts) doesn’t make us more secure.
    These cop wannabe’s forget they work for us.
    Like all bureaucrats, they are devoid of common sense, as shown repeatedly in your fine article.
    The only thing worse than no security is the illusion of security.

  2. Betty Rose February 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    Oh, what have we done to our neighbors. I cry for the days when crossing the border into Sarnia, Ontario and back to my country could be made with ease in a leisurely afternoon. I could answer our border attendant’s question,” Where have you been?”, with the logical answer,” Canada”. Now I must be viewed as an alien or an idiot because I am subject to a lengthy interrogation. Thank you for Our Border article. It has been needed to be said for a long time.

  3. Terence and Dale Fraser February 28, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    We always enjoy Edie’s writing, and as “border” Canadians (in Canada it’s hard not to be!) in New Brunswick we particularly enjoyed her account and comments on the present border crossing bureaucracy. It’s a problem no matter which way you travel, but I believe it is worse going from north to south. As soon as the rumour began that the 9-11 terrorists had come through Canada, unbridled panic set in and the “desk jockeys” swung into action – even though the rumour later proved to be untrue.

    Edie’s comment that the increased customs restrictions do little more than police (and unnecessarily inconvenience and annoy) the honest is so true. It reminds me of gun control. Criminals will still get guns, and dishonest people and terrorists will still find successful ways to circumvent border crossings.

    Within the past couple of years we have had the case where a deranged young man murdered an elderly couple in their home and then headed for the border. In spite of the fact he was apparently carrying a chain saw and a bayonet, he was merely detained for a little while and released – on the rationale that he had dual citizenship and there was no reason to detain him! I believe they did confiscate his more obvious weapons, but it was several days before he was picked up somewhere in Massachusetts after the regular police went into action. It sounds like there was almost as much concern for Edie’s lemon as there is for someone like this individual!

    Thank you, Edie, for your entertaining and telling article.

  4. Doris Matthews March 1, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    Edie, thanks for your informative article on the border. I especially enjoyed your pictures! If and when people want to smuggle anything anywhere, they will do it- it really doesn’t matter how much so-called security patrols we have. What a beautiful harbor up there. Too bad the tours are no longer in existence-what a shame! And remember Edie, to put your lemons in strategic locations so they won’t be confiscated!

  5. Karl Helft March 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    I have written about and photographed the US-Canada border and the control facilities from Thousand Islands, NY to Derby Line, VT from 1968 – 1998. The US restrictions are the result of not only 9/11 but the continued foreign policy initiiatives which creates unease in the US Government. US Dept. Homeland Security is also staffed with some unexperienced staff and insensitive (to local conditions) and they have expanded their inspection work force with former military who are still pretending to be in uniform.

    Edie’s interestng and sensetive article documents some of the inanities, particularly the Canada Customs inspector bellowing at her to not linger and photograph a border marker surrounded by a flower bed.

    Colliers Magazine did an extensive article in the late forties about Derby Line, one item was the border running through a barber shop, customer sat in Canada and barber standing in the US. Rock Island, Que. as it was then named, was joined at the hip with Derby Line and one could wander back and forth between the countries street by street.

    Coolest story was a Beatles Concert in the Haskell Library, brought about because a Beatle could not perform in the US and this was overcome since the stage was in Canada.

    I wish that Edie will do a follow-up by a visit to Beebe Plain VT/Que where Main Street is the international border. I would love to know how this is controlled

    The wackiest story I have heard was at Lac Frontiere, Que. where a Canadian could not walk 75ft. to his summer home in Maine to turn the power off at end of season. He was told he would have to drive nearly 160 miles and make a former enrty there.

    The US is engaged in an act of self flagellation with some of acts of hard headedness.
    There are more coy methods that Homeland Security could be using.

  6. Thomas Blackburn March 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    As everyone noted, all we have done is make the good people use the border where it is more difficult and shown the bad people where not to use it.
    But isn’t Edie Clark a gem of a writer, folks?

  7. Denise Mozzer March 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    I enjoyed this months story “Along the Border” by Edie Clark so much I’ve read it three times already. This article brought back some childhood memories in which my parents would bring fresh apples and pears to their relatives in Canada. In return our relatives would give my parents medicinal items and maple syrup. I would hope and pray as we drove through the borders we wouldn’t get caught. It was not like my parents did this on a regular basis, maybe every three years or so. As I read the article I had a good laugh about the lemon but I also understand why we as a nation must be more careful. Drugs are passing through the borders at an alarming rate. Many people don’t realize how addictive some of these man-made drugs are. Marajauna is the least of our worries. Sometimes I long for the innocences of my childhood, but unfortunately we must be aware of of surroundings even if this means changing our way of life. Now it is my job is to protect the innocence of my grandchildren as long as possible but teach them about the ever changing world around them.

  8. Steve Joyce March 4, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    Based on everything I have read and heard about our northern border security, it does nothing to actually accomplish its major mission sans saving us from the occasional infected cumquat or cucumber. It sounds like the great drug busts that come as a result of heightened border security with Canada are basic law enforcement actions that should have happened regardless of the border patrol being there, it is basic police work. Stopping aunt Millie to check for weapons of vegetable destruction is silly at best. I bet someone with motivation can hollow out a log pretty well and get anything they want across the border even now. Totally window dressing in my opinion and a shame it is ruining the towns up north for absolutely no real benefit in national security.

  9. Catherine Hoke March 6, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    One more instance where the government has overreacted and made a mountain out of a mole hill. Why can’t the US do anything in moderation? We took our children, when young, for a daytrip to Canada one Labor Day weekend. The border patrol was great. We visited sites and returned home that evening. The children remarked, ” Now we can tell our class we went to a foreign country this summer.” It used to be so easy and fun to visit there.

  10. Bob Peel March 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    I loved your article Along the Border. It points out how over the years freedoms we all have enjoyed are being taken away little by little. We over react to situations we really haven’t took a closer look at.
    Years ago (60 maybe) the town in which I live had a terrible tragedy when an ice cream truck rolled down a hill and killed a child. The knee jerk reaction to that was to ban ice cream trucks in town. They are still banned today, so children here can never have the joy of hearing the ice cream truck bells calling them for a treat. I don’t think the parents of the child would have wanted this
    I don’t think the average American wants the levels of “security” forced on them either.

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