Common community

International Falls and its media often refer to this region as Borderland, which is a great way of branding this section of northern Minnesota and Northwestern Ontario.
Koochiching County and Lake of the Woods County share a border with Rainy River District that runs for more than 100 miles, and shares the border waters of Rainy Lake, the Rainy River, and Lake of the Woods.
The communities of International Falls and Fort Frances, as well as Baudette and Rainy River, have built up friendly rivalries. But they also share and support each other.
The Fort Frances Fire Department, for instance, crossed the border on Victoria Day to assist the Fall’s Fire Department with the blaze that destroyed the Ace Hardware building in downtown International Falls.
Historically, both Fort Frances and International Falls have promoted Rainy Lake as a family destination vacation spot. Similarly, Baudette, Rainy River, Morson, and Nestor Falls have promoted Lake of the Woods for fishing and family vacations.
Collectively, we have competed to attract tourists to our unique location here at the centre of North America.
The “Pulling for Peace” tug-of-war between Fort Frances and International Falls on Saturday clearly demonstrated how two communities can come together and share in a fun activity.
Teams of 50 from both sides of the border tried to pull their competing communities into the Rainy River, with Fort Frances regaining the trophy it had lost to the Falls last year.
It’s the citizens of both communities who have enjoyed this activity, as well as the spectators who come out to watch.
Together we watched the July 1 fireworks from the Fort and the July 4 fireworks from the Falls. We participated in each other’s parades, and together we recognized the special bonds that have developed across the border.
The cross-river tug-of-war has caught the attention of news media across Canada and the U.S. It has the potential to grow and build the thought that “Borderland” is the place to travel to celebrate both our national holidays.
We often recite our differences. But when families and friends come together from both sides of the border, we find that we have more in common with each other and that the differences we find between our two nations are miniscule.
We have lots of assets we can use to enhance our attractiveness. Five golf courses, Voyageurs National Park, two World Heritage sites, arenas, and cultural events, along with the year-round activities that take place on our waters and forests, all are attractions in their own part.
We should consider where other opportunities exist to co-operate to promote this area.

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