In 2005, when I had to leave Canada to validate my “landed immigrant” status, I discovered the U.S. border was only a 45-minute drive from Ottawa. Since then, going Alexandria Bay, one of the closest American towns, has become an annual tradition. I now have a Canadian passport and traveling to the U.S has never been easier. We are expert in border-crossing and have an answer to all the tricky immigration questions: “where are you from?” (Ottawa), “how do you know each other?” (long story but we are married), “are you carrying firearms?” (no, should we?) etc.
We usually cross the border at Prescott/Ogdensburg. Then we stop at the mall just off the International Bridge. A lot of basic items are slightly cheaper in the U.S. than in Canada—make-up, chocolate, cleaning products, health and beauty products… we fill a small bag and marvel at the tiny differences between the two sides of the Saint Lawrence River—wow, they have fudge cookies!
We monitor America’s economic recovery through Alexandria Bay. The last couple of years we went there, the town had seemed empty and lots of businesses went bankrupt in the main street. This time, we were happy to see a few new small businesses had opened, including a cute little coffee shop, and the place looks busier than before.
You can see the complete set of pictures taken in the U.S on Flickr.