At first glance, at least, it certainly looks like district tourist operators will be the ones hardest hit by new U.S. regulations that, among other things, will require Americans returning home from a trip to this country to present passports at the border.
Sure, loyal customers who have been coming to vacation in Northwestern Ontario for years may get passports to abide by the new regulations, though there’s a chance they won’t want the hassle.
The biggest impact, however, will be on those who choose to vacation in Northwestern Ontario on a relatively “spur-of-the-moment” decision. Having to get a passport to get home probably will just keep them there.
But the reality is we’re all going to be affected somehow or another, whether it’s deciding to go over to International Falls to catch a movie or play in a 10-pin bowling league at Timber Lanes, or Americans coming here to shop—or to curl during the winter months.
Or, as is the case for so many living in the Borderland area, crossing the border simply to visit family members or close friends.
Will you be carrying your passport, and those of your family members, in the glove compartment of the car all the time (how secure is that)? Or in your boat in the summertime if you’re among the many who enjoy zipping across the waters of Rainy Lake to the resorts on the American side.
Let’s not forget how this will affect local sports teams that go off to the States to play in exhibition games or tournaments, or use the “shortcut” to Winnipeg via Baudette and Warroad.
And, of course, there’s that three- or four-week limbo every five years when you don’t have a passport because you’re in the process of renewing it. Good luck getting into the States then.
Clearly, this change is going to bring economic and social consequences, and just plain ol’ headaches. The real shame, though, is that the lifestyle we, in a border community, have enjoyed for so long will soon be gone. It will be a sad day, indeed.