“Going home for me is going to the chalet. … It contains an emotional attachment, ”Masters said, already on the verge of tears, in an interview with CNN from his home in Houston.
“I think crossing the border, I’m going to be a little emotional. “
Masters, like most other Americans, have been banned from entering Canada since March last year, when the pandemic forced countries to close their borders.
Courtesy of Robin Masters
After more than a year of waiting to return to Canada, Masters said she hopes to be among the first to cross the land border near the Thousand Islands Bridge (connecting New York and Ontario) when the Canada will reopen to Americans and fully immunized U.S. residents at 12:01 am ET on Monday.
“Delighted, I will be delighted. I don’t care if it’s 2 in the morning, I’ll be stoned like a kite, ”said Masters, who explains that she was so upset by the border closure last year, she said. writes a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Masters said in his letter to Trudeau: “I can’t believe that for the first time in 56 years, I’m not going to spend a summer there. ”
Kept away from the Canadian lake house
This is Robin Masters’ beloved family cottage on Devil Lake in Ontario.
Courtesy of Robin Masters
Masters said it was frustrating not being able to take care of the precious homestead in Devil Lake, Ontario.
Masters’ father, who has since died, built the A-frame near the shores of a sandy beach as a family retreat. Relationships with caring friends and neighbors in Canada have been forged over decades and countless campfires.
This made the pandemic all the more heartbreaking, said Masters, a medical professional who has been involved in therapeutic research and practice for Covid-19.
“The stress that weighed on me about the whole border issue and the Canadian – I would say all the stress – that’s the biggest stress,” Masters said.
Tough times for duty free shops
Jeff Butler stands outside his duty free shop just inside the Canadian border. He said he didn’t expect a big influx of business early on.
This stress was also deep on the other side of the border.
Jeff Butler’s family has owned and operated the duty free shop near the Thousand Islands Passage in Ontario since 1987.
“It has certainly been a difficult task, but it is the first step on Monday with the Americans able to come back and visit us, so we hope this is the first step among many to get us back to more normal conditions. “Said Butler. told CNN from its store right next to the Canada border crossing.
Butler says while the border reopening is welcome, he doesn’t expect a massive traffic or business crash as the United States has decided to keep its side of the land border closed to non-essential travelers. until at least August 21.
“I think we were certainly surprised, and I think we were disappointed from the point of view that we thought the border decisions had been made together. On September 11 the border closed for two days, you know we’ve been closed for 16 months so we thought things were going to open up, ”Butler said.
Pressure to reopen to Canadians
Canada Immigration and Customs near the Thousand Islands Passage.
The Biden administration has not fully clarified why or how long its side of the land border will remain closed.
Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins, whose district includes the Niagara Falls border, said he wrote to the White House asking why the US overland crossing remains closed to Canadian travelers.
“It is essential that the United States reopen its land border with Canada – continued delay is unacceptable,” Higgins said in a statement released last week.
In fact, the partial reopening of the border will likely only be an interim first step in rebuilding businesses and lives throughout the divide between the United States and Canada.
Along the watchtower
Heidi Linckh, who owns and operates the Thousand Islands Tower and the Skydeck with her partner, said she was happy to reopen but “the season is over”.
From the top of the Thousand Islands Tower, the view of the magnificent St. Lawrence Seaway can stretch for tens of miles on both sides of the border.
Heidi Linckh owns and operates the tower with her partner. The Canadian tourist attraction is minutes from the land border. She fears that the reopening of the border at the end of the summer season will make little difference to their business prospects.
“For us, it’s too late, yes, it’s too late. The season is over, ”she said. “If you were doing your summer plans, you had already done them. So the normal tourists we see here don’t come. “
On a personal level, she also said she was a little worried about the spike in the rate of infections in the United States, but from a business perspective, she said they needed all the stuff. that they could get right now.
Finding a balance on when and how to reopen to international tourists and ensuring employee safety has been a trying experience for many small business owners all across the border.
Canada said it remained committed so far to reopening its borders to international travelers vaccinated in September. They, like those coming from the United States, will have to prove that they are fully vaccinated with one of the four vaccines approved in Canada and will have to present a negative result of a Covid-19 test carried out within 72 hours of entering the hospital. Canada.
But even as Masters enters Canada, she said she was still worried the border would close. She hopes the two governments will work together to keep things safe but also open.
“For humanity, we cannot go back. “
Top image: A view of the Thousand Islands Bridge and the St. Lawrence Seaway. (Photo by Paula Newton / CNN)