Town of Prescott ready to welcome back U.S. tourists

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As the Canadian government prepares to reopen its land crossings to residents in the United States, the border-town community of Prescott is ready to welcome back what will hopefully be a summer surge of American tourists.  

Nicole Hudson opened Katrina’s Coffee Shop last year, during the height of the pandemic.

“It was a big move but we took it, it was an opportunity,” says Hudson. “Business has been doing well it’s been steady with the support of the local community.”

But in a few weeks, the beach-side café, next to Kelly’s Bay, will get its first taste of the American Economy. 

The town of Prescott is nestled along the shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Ogdensburg, in New York State, can be seen on the side of the river and the nearby bridge, which connects the two cities and countries, will open to fully-vaccinated American travellers August 9. 

A major move forward and relief, for many border-town businesses who rely on U.S. tourism, and the dollars they spend, which can have a significant impact for a profitable summer-season.

“When you live along a border you absolutely feel the impact of it being closed,” says Marilyn Bradley who owns Ships Anchor Inn Bed & Breakfast. “There would never be more than a few days that go by that we didn’t have guests form the States popping in and staying overnight.”

Bradley and her husband have run the river-front inn for nearly two decades, a popular place to stay where about one of every three nights spent, are paid for by U.S. visitors.

“We’re surviving we’re doing okay but there’s definitely been a downer from the last two years,” says Bradley, adding that what she missed most is ‘seeing the town come alive’. “We were slow starting but now we’ve got into the third stage you can feel an up creep of calls of phone calls … We’re ready I think we’ve been very cautious we feel safe in our own community and I think we’re ready for an opening now it’s just exciting.”

While veteran business owners like Bradley know what tourism means for local shops, newcomer Hudson feels the excitement and is ready for her first open-border summer.

“As long as we stick to the right precautions and hopefully not go backwards it will be more beneficial for everyone,” says Hudson. “We’ll just keep on following all those guidelines to keep everyone safe.”