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Border Control and Derby Line, Vermont

Posted by on May 30, 2015

I was on a recent road trip from Boston to Montréal and back, and I stopped in several small towns and parks along my route. These stops included places in the States of New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The route I took was not the quickest, but that was never my intention. My intention was to see some places I have never seen before.

One of the most interesting places was the small village of Derby Line, Vermont, which borders Stanstead, Quebec. The two appear to be one town, but with the US and Canadian border running through them. Unfortunately, it appears in the past decade border control has become tighter with most of the streets that connect each other closed or having limited access. The border enforcement has caused all types of confusion with the locals from both sides of the border of how to legally cross the street without being arrested.

The last remaining street that is still open, Church Street, is now divided using flower pots.  There are signs on both sides of the border not to enter and to go to the closest border crossing.  Church Street is the location of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which was purposely built to be in both countries.  Tourists take pictures straddling both countries, which I also did.  At the corner of the street is a marker designating the border.  I went one step further than most tourists and took a picture of the marker from both sides. When I was taking photos of the marker, I broke the international boundary.

US border marker at Derby Point, VT

Canadian border marker at Stanstead, QC

I assume there were cameras around since a Border Control vehicle raced towards me to stop me when I re-entered the US. I was less than 1 meter in Canada, and it was obvious I was taking pictures.  The Border Control agent was nice enough but was there a reason to stop me in the first place?  I know it is his job to protect the border, but being the only person around, he could have seen I was not doing anything nefarious.  He told me that I was acting strange and asked me a few questions about where I live, how I got to Derby Line, what sports teams I like, which I assume was a test to see if I lived where I said I lived.  He did remind me that what I did was illegal, but he let me go.  There is no point arguing with a Border Control as he is correct, even though I was only centimeters in Canada.

Interesting enough, I have taking pictures of border markers from different places around the globe and this is the first time I have been stopped.  The last one I did was the border marker between Italy and Switzerland only a few weeks ago.

Derby Line, VT Gallery

 

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