Walking to Canadaaaaa (and back)

Today, Detroit area journalist and blogger Nancy Nall posted a link to an appalling story about some Canadian women who cannot cross the border into the US to take a blasted yoga class. Some of them have been barred from crossing into the States for five years! Jeesh and fer kee-reist! What have we come to? I know that there is an increased security risk since some crazy Al Qaeda folks commandeered jet-liners and crashed them into the World Trade Center. Hey, I am a relatively nervous flyer from the get-go. Uh, who’s flyin’ this plane, anyway? I wanna know! So I can agree that we don’t want people to come over here from foreign countries to go to flight school without some pretty extensive background checking. But yoga? YOGA? Who is making these rules and where the heck did the zero tolerance come from? Yoga?

When I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia, until I was 10 years old, the only way we could legally cross the St. Mary’s River into our sister city in Canada was to board a ferry. If I am remembering accurately, we boarded the ferry down at the Coast Guard dock. It was a car ferry and we did often drive a car over to Canada. The trips I remember most from when I was a little kid were walking trips. We would park our cars and walk onto the ferry, pay our fee (I remember quarters but maybe I’m wrong). I remember a turnstile but can’t think exactly how it was involved.

We often took a walking trip to Canada in the summer in those days. I remember Grandma Margaret going on those trips and various aunts and cousins. We would walk around the downtown area and our parents would buy cute little tartan plaid wool skirts for us. Sometimes we might catch the bus downriver a bit to Bellevue Park where there was a little zoo. We would often end our afternoon eating fancy pastries at the Girl In Red restaurant. And then we would walk back to the ferry and head home.

I don’t know what the educational visas were like back when I was a kid. I know that I desperately wanted a flute teacher when I was in high school and the much larger city on the Canadian side was one place we looked. We didn’t find anyone over there but I think that if we had, we would not have had to jump through a whole bunch of hoops for me to take lessons. Sigh.

I don’t remember all of those fun family trips to Canada very thoroughly. Cousins, aunts, uncles, mom, if you do, please comment or email me if you don’t want to comment.

Love y’all,

7 Responses to “Walking to Canadaaaaa (and back)”

  1. Jan Miller Says:

    I remember going to Soo, Ontario to take ballet lessons. I would walk over, by myself, walk through the downtown to a neighborhood to take my lessons. I also went over there to the orthodontist. When Pete was a young kid he rode the ferry and washed car windows, for tips. He had an uncle who worked on the ferry. I don’t remember much about paying for the ferry. It was very easy to go back and forth–I always was envious of the girls who had those beautiful tartan plaid skirts! Jan

  2. Uncly Uncle Says:

    When we were about 13 years old, Bill and I and our friends would take the bus from 12 and Woodward and go downtown. We would walk to the Ambassador Bridge and walk across to Windsor and then walk to the tunnel and take the shuttle bus back to Detroit.
    Was a blast. We never learned to fly planes into buildings, but if we only knew, we would have….


  3. Margaret Says:

    You never know–there could be a terrorist yoga enthusiast who would try to blow up a gym or something. JK. It’s ridiculous what paranoia will do.

  4. Jay Says:

    I remember the tartan plaid skirts, although I thought mine was a hand me down – maybe from Jan?!?
    I do remember the ferry, and being in Canada, but not so much whether we were on a car or on foot, just waiting for the big bump that meant we were against the dock. Of course, I was only there summertime (and Christmas), so not quite as many opportunities.

    Ashlan has a student Visa now – probably not what you were talking about. But I think it helps us avoid scrutiny when we are crossing the border with vehicles packed with all manner of stuff.

  5. Dona Says:

    Here, near the Nation’s Capital, we see things like that all the time. The farmers market that used to take place in a parking lot of the National Institutes of Health had to find non-NIH property to continue. I guess the folks in control were worried that rutabaga and carrot wielding organic farmers were going to attack NIH. Or something.

  6. kayak woman Says:

    I remember the big bump! How could I forget the big bump?

    I know that students who study in other countries need visas. My kids had to get them for study abroad. I just think it’s overkill to require a visa for a bunch of women to take a weekly yoga class and then apply a draconian punishment when some of them lie and say they went shopping. Who knows? Maybe they *did* go shopping after their yoga class.

    Ironic that the National Institute of *Health* would evict organic farmers! (-:

    And the GG and the Uncly Uncle may not be terrorists but I have it on good authority (their aunt Gale) that they were “holy terrors”!

  7. Pooh Says:

    The yoga “terrorists” probably ran into the same agent that I ran into when I came back into the USA from Windsor in 2006. I’d delivered Dave to his freshman year at Rochester, and returned by way of Seney Point in Ontario. I’d asked what I needed to go to Canada before I crossed over, but neglected to ask if I needed anything more to “get back, back in the USSR….”*

    At that time, a driver’s license would get you into Canada, but you were supposed to have a birth certificate to get back. The agent (to use his title, rather than my vulgar ephitat for him) told me he could keep me, and fingerprint me. I was biting my tongue, and playing up my Missouri address, and trying not to think about how easy it used to be when I was growing up in Michigan. I really wanted to say, “Fine, fingerprint me, I’ve been fingerprinted to get my Secret Clearance when I was a federal contractor, and I’ve been fingerprinted several times since I went into teaching.** Either let me cross the border, or tell me I can’t, so I can turn around, get a motel near Seney, and call my husband to send my birth certificate!” However, I bit my tongue, figuring that I would lose that battle. Eventually he let me go across, with a stern warning. Now, of course, you need a passport, and apparently, a non-yoga reason to cross.

    *When in doubt, there’s always a Beatles song to inspire you.
    **I’ve been fingerprinted more than once as a teacher, b/c apparently they have to check if I’ve taken up any new hobbies, say, pedophilia, since the last time I was fingerprinted.