Cross-border homeowners prepare for longer U.S.-Canada closure

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MONTREAL –
Quebecers with property at the border have spent a long weekend cut off from American homes and neighbors, but they are preparing for the situation to continue, as are Americans who have cottages in Quebec.

The current border closure agreement will be in effect until May 21, this Thursday, but last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he plans to extend it by another month in talks with American leaders. The agreement only allows essential travel.

CNN reported on Monday evening that the US authorities were moving in the same direction – towards the extension of border restrictions.

This created a difficult Queen’s Day weekend for Vicki Taylor, whose family has not missed a long May weekend at their Vermont vacation camp for nine years.

“Right now, with the good weather, it’s [about] he really misses the camp and my family, because we are only one big family there, “she said.

For some Quebeckers, part of the frustration comes from the upkeep of properties and the inability to take care of things themselves.

“Today, I think our 75-year-old neighbor is cutting our grass for us,” said Josie Woodruff.

She and her husband spend half of each year in the United States, and she is well aware, she says, that they pay thousands of taxes on foreign property without being able to use it.

Some Americans are also missing their Canadian homes. For Matthew Coon, who lives just outside Rochester, New York, closing the border means being cut off from his cottage in Harrington County, in the Laurentians.

“At this point, we haven’t grown since we closed in October,” he said over the weekend.

He said he would do whatever was necessary, including isolating himself for as long as required on his Quebec territory, to be able to return to Canada.

“I think we could be socially distant and I think we could be respectful of Canada’s advice,” he said.

Trudeau said last week that he knew that various border separations were difficult, but that “we have to keep Canadians safe.”

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