Today, for the first time -- ever -- Canadians will require a passport before they can enter the United States. Most Canadian cities, including Vancouver, are so close to the border, that we are used to just "popping over" to do some shopping, or take a Sunday drive. We could drive through the border so easily, it was as if Canada and the US were the same country. On my 27th birthday my friends threw a surprise party for me at a fabulous little tavern in Washington State called -- appropriately -- Jo's Place. I will always remember that birthday because, since my birthday is two days after Christmas, it was the only time in my adult life that anyone had ever thrown a birthday party for me, much less a surprise party.
Going to the US was referred to as "going across the line". Sunday shopping was a frequent pastime of all of my friends.
"I love your shoes! Where did you get them?"
"Oh, in a little store across the line."
Now we are two separate countries, and it feels rather strange. The "longest undefended border" in the world has now slammed its doors shut on its Canadian cousins. Well, I don't have a Canadian passport, since mine has long-expired, so I won't be going to the US anytime soon. I will look across the border, but I will have to spend my money here in Canada.