Long-awaited journey across the Canadian border is going well – Twin Cities


GRAND FORKS – Growing up on the Minnesota-Manitoba border, I have entered Canada dozens of times over the years – we used to ride our bikes to the small Manitoba town of Piney when I were kids – but never had a crossing enough like the one I had on Monday, August 9, the first day Canada opened its border to non-essential travel from the United States since March 21, 2020 .

It turned out without incident, as I traveled across Canada – crossing the border is always stressful – but it was certainly more scary than most because I didn’t know what to expect.

Would there be a mile-long line of vehicles waiting to cross the border? Did I prepare all my papers correctly? Would the officer at the Canada Border Services Agency have a bad case with “Mondays” and make the experience miserable? Would they deny me entry to Canada and send me back to where I came from?

Fortunately, “none of the above” turned out to be the answer.

My plan this Monday morning was to cross the border at South Junction, Man., North of Roseau, Minnesota, and get to Buffalo Point on the Manitoba side of Lake of the Woods. Buffalo Point is a popular fishing destination, and many people in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota have campers or cabins here.

I had arranged to interview a young couple from Roseau who would be returning to their cabin for the first time since October 2019, about four months before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the closure of the Canada-U.S. Border to non-travel. essential. I would write about their return to the cabin as part of the Grand Forks Herald’s coverage of the reopening of Canada’s border.

From there I drove about 2.5 hours west and north to visit friends who live near Lockport, MB, northeast of Winnipeg. I had not been there, or anywhere else in Canada, since September 2019. Since I normally go to Canada at least half a dozen times a year, I was eagerly awaiting my return.

For obvious reasons, entering Canada in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic is not as easy as riding our bikes to Piney as children. First, I had to download the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN app on my smartphone, which is now required for all non-residents entering Canada, and upload a copy of my vaccination card to the app to prove that I was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As required, I also had to provide documents showing that I had tested negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before crossing the border. I took the test around 8:30 a.m. on August 6 at one of the University of North Dakota’s free testing events, and my negative results appeared shortly after midnight on Monday morning.

The South Junction border post opened at 8am so provided there wasn’t a long line at the border I would do the 72 hour test requirement with a few minutes to spare.

There were two vans, two tugs, in front of me when I lined up shortly after 8am. Within minutes, the first vehicle in the line was cleared and en route to a long-awaited Canadian fishing destination.

The second vehicle was cleared maybe 10 minutes later. I walked over to the officer and rolled down my window.

“We’ll see how it goes,” I thought to myself.

The ArriveCAN app requires potential visitors to include a quarantine plan before submitting their crossing request electronically, in case they are selected for a random COVID-19 test at the border. Even if their visit is only a day trip, potential visitors to Canada cannot submit their request through ArriveCAN without including a destination to be quarantined, if necessary.

I put Buffalo Point as a quarantine destination, which allowed me to submit my request through ArriveCAN before going to the border.

The CBSA officer greeted me with the usual questions, but I stumbled momentarily when she asked for the address of where I was planning to quarantine. I gave him the address of the cabin I was planning to visit, and it was pretty good.

She handed me a two-page document outlining Canada’s requirements for fully vaccinated visitors, and I was on my way.

Like the experience of the crossing, the rest of my trip went without a hitch. I was able to be on hand to record a video when the Roseau couple stopped by their cabin for the first time since October 2019. I spent the rest of my stay visiting friends in the northeast of Winnipeg, and I returned to the United States to Pembina, ND. , border crossing Wednesday morning.

My return to Canada was surreal – for lack of a better word – but it was great to come back.

Next time I’ll bring my fishing rod.


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