Having made the grand loop in International Falls in record time, we then decided to just go for broke and head to Canada. After a few failed attempts by Siri and Google Maps (of course it was their fault!), we finally found a parking spot near the bridge to cross the border on foot.
Once on the other side, we followed the sign (there was only one…as opposed to the US side, where there was a sign every 10 feet and arrows on the walkway) to the Canadian Immigration Office.
After a few glances around to make sure that we were in the right building, we walked in and presented our passports.
What is your destination in Canada?
The Yukon, we thought we’d hike there (just kidding–I learn a loooong time ago not to mess with Border Patrol or Airport Security, but that’s a story for another time).
We just came to visit Fort Frances.
And your purpose for your visit?
Will you be visiting relatives?
So, you’re not visiting anyone?
Why are you here, again?
To just to see your beautiful town.
Silence [oh shit, we we not supposed to enter Canada?]. Agent looks very befuddled.
So you’re not visiting anyone? No family? No friends?
No ma’am, I’m visiting my friend, we drove up this morning from St. Paul and just wanted to wander about the town, maybe do some shopping, you know stuff like that.
Where are you staying?
International Falls–at a B&B.
So you don’t actually know anyone here?
More silence. Big sigh [handing back our passports].
Alright. Welcome to Canada.
We hightailed it out of the building and towards the quaint little town. We found a cute little coffee shop but decided to stop on our way back, since it quickly became very apparent that most shops were either closed or closing soon.
We walked down what we presumed to be the main street. We peeked into a lot of windows with CLOSED signs and stopped into the few shops that were open–mainly out of curiosity of what kind of shop would still be open at 4:15pm on a Saturday afternoon! We made a large block, stopping for photos along the way. We looped our way back to the cute little coffee shop for a coffee/hot chocolate and perhaps a snack before heading back.
We walked up, pulled on the door, and it didn’t open. HAHAHAHAHA. Oh look, it closed at 4:30pm!
Now we understood the Immigration Agent’s confusion about why we were visiting. Actually, we realized about 5 minutes in, but this really drove the point home.
Finally admitting defeat, we waved as we passed by the Immigration office. Less than an hour after crossing into Canada we were back home. The US Border Patrol agent chuckled at our story and seemed amused it took us almost an hour.
Yeah, things close up pretty early across the river.
Turns out, it was pretty much the same in International Falls. As we walked towards the car, we noticed a souvenir shop. We first checked the hours of operation, celebrated that we still had 15 minutes to grab some kitschy gifts, only to walk up to the door and discovered that they closed early for the day.
Good thing we have a room with a view!