Cross-border property owners brace themselves for a longer U.S.-Canada closure

Quebecers with property over the border spent a long weekend cut off from American homes and neighbours, but they're steeling themselves for the situation to continue—along with Americans who have cottages in Quebec.

The current border closure agreement will be in place until May 21, this Thursday, but last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was looking to extend it for another month in his talks with U.S. leaders. The agreement only allows essential travel.

Monday night, CNN reported that U.S. authorities are leaning the same way—towards extending border restrictions.

It created a tough Victoria Day weekend for Vicki Taylor, whose family hasn’t skipped a May long weekend at their vacation camp in Vermont in nine years.

“Right now, with the nice weather, it’s [about] really missing camp, and missing my camp family, because we really are just one big family down there,” she said.

For some Quebecers, the frustrations are partly about property maintenance and not being able to look after things themselves.

“Today, I think our 75-year-old neighbour is cutting our grass for us,” said Josie Woodruff. 

She and her husband spend half of each year in the U.S., and she’s very aware, she says, that they’re paying thousands in tax on the foreign property while not being able to use it.

Some Americans are missing their Canadian homes as well. For Matthew Coon, who lives just outside Rochester, New York, the border closure means being cut off from his cottage in Harrington County, in the Laurentides.

“At this point we haven’t been up since we closed in October,” he said this weekend.

He said he’d do anything necessary, including self-isolating for as long as requested on his Quebec land, in order to be abe to come back to Canada.

“I think we could be socially distant, and I think we could be respectful of Canada’s advisories,” he said. 

Trudeau said last week that he knew the various border separations were hard, but that “we have to keep Canadians safe.”

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