Families gather at Peace Arch Park for the first anniversary of border restrictions

Families gather at Peace Arch Park for the first anniversary of border restrictions

VANCOUVER – Canadian resident Kari Tomicki was reunited with her daughter on Sunday at the Canada-U.S. Border, marking the first anniversary of the closure of land borders between the two countries.
The couple met at Peace Arch Park, which spans the two countries. Despite border restrictions linked to COVID-19, the park has remained a meeting place between Canada and the United States without crossing borders.

“Dr. Bonnie said we could meet outside and didn’t see our daughter because we couldn’t get together… and she lives in Washington state so we braved the rain and went thought we were going to do a whirlwind, ”Tomicki told CTV News Vancouver.

Tomicki’s adult daughter, Samantha, was living in New York City with her husband when the pandemic began, but soon moved to their family’s lake house in Washington state.

“We moved here and were really excited to see (our family in Canada) for a bit,” she said. “My sister just had her second baby at the end of July, and I think I’ve met her twice and haven’t been able to see her for months and months.

Land border restrictions, prohibiting non-essential travel, have been in place since March 21, 2020 and have been extended month by month since. The current restrictions are in place until at least April 21.

An immigration lawyer who lives in Washington state said he believes it is time to change the rules.

“I am shocked to be standing here on the first anniversary of the border closure as the border is still closed without this closure predictably ending,” said Len Saunders.

Although Saunders is a Canadian citizen, he has not been to Canada for over a year.

“I think the Canadian government needs to start developing a plan to prevent people from coming to this park on a rainy Sunday to see their loved ones,” he said.

He also asked why those who had been vaccinated still had to adhere to the 14-day quarantine.

“I have been fully vaccinated for over a month. I had my first stroke in January, my second stroke in February, ”Saunders said. “Why can’t I, as a Canadian citizen, enter my own country without quarantine?”

CTV News has contacted the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency. A CBSA spokesperson said he will respond soon, and this story will be updated when CTV News hears.

Saunders believes it is time for the Canadian government to consider adjusting border restrictions.

“The Canadian government should view people like me or other Americans who have been vaccinated as people who should be able to enter Canada for pleasure or business.”

For the Tomicki family, gathering at the park will do the trick for now, but they’re hoping for a different summer.

“Obviously (I) want the borders to open securely, but I’m going to be beside myself when they open. I really hope for a summer where we can all be together, ”said Samantha Tomicki. “I really hope to see my sister’s new baby.”


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