Brothers and Borders: How the Shutdown Has Affected Both Sides of North America

The Canadian Embassy and Capitol Building, Washington D.C. Taken November 2019.
Photo Courtesy of Ronan Smith.

The Canadian Embassy and Capitol Building, Washington D.C. Taken November 2019. Photo Courtesy of Ronan Smith.

Ronan Smith, Staff Writer

     In February and March it came. A virus from the city of Wuhan in China had crossed the mighty Pacific Ocean. Touching down in both Canada and the United States, it quickly consumed the minds of people, and captured many of them with illness. This novel Coronavirus, or Covid-19, caused one of the most unforeseen events in the history of North America; a closing of borders, between the brother nations of Canada and the United States.

     With the border shutdown came the evaporation of life in towns such as Niagara Falls, New York and Windsor, Ontario. As one resident from Windsor, Ontario, Courteney Paquette, says in an interview,  “You’re missing out on holidays, birthdays.” Paquette says that individual people suffer during the shutdowns, however she is opposed to reopening the border. “I personally don’t think the border should be open now, until the United States can kind of get their numbers a little more under control.” Her ideas are common in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has kept the border with their southern neighbor closed since March.

     An opposite opinion is held by Danielle Hoeppner, a Canadian-American dual citizen, also from Windsor, though she is currently living in Milford. With her mother’s fall a few weeks ago, she seeks to get back urgently to help her. In  Hoeppner’s own words, “It’s been actually very devastating. You know, my family is still back there and I have not been home since January.” She feels almost stranded and unable to help her family with the border being shut down. It has become a stressful situation for her, and the many people like her who are stuck due to closed borders.


The Canadian-American border crossing at Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, NY/ON. Taken August 2019. Photo Courtesy of Ronan Smith.

     From an economic standpoint, the closings have been devastating for some. Talking about who was hurt by the shutdowns, former employee of USA Today and Thomson Newspapers, as well as Canadian citizen in the United States, Darrin Smith, says “The most hurt is the tourism industries.” He added, “With Covid, people aren’t traveling as much.”, later saying that the petroleum industry was similarly damaged.

     For almost all of their individual histories, Canada and the United States have stood together as Anglophone nations, as former British colonies, and as North American nations. Though this fissure has appeared between them, we will have to see if it grows or shrinks.