Residents who cross Canada-U.S. border marked by flower pots face big fines

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz

For residents of two towns on the border between Canada and the U.S., crossing the street can be a complicated and expensive affair.

Between the towns of Stanstead, QC, and Derby Line, Vt., lies a border marked by a row of flower pots.

It's one of several haphazardly erected divides between the two towns, which share a library that has a front door on American soil and a back door in Canada. Some residents even have to report to a border post every time they pull out of their driveways because they've entered Canadian soil, according to a 2007 New York Times story.

The Times has described this sleepy divide as a "symbol of cross-border friendship." Well, not anymore.

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Step past those flowers today and you might land yourself with a $5,000 fine.

For more than a decade, authorities have ramped up security at crossings like the one between Stanstead and Derby Line, fearful the area is a little too friendly to smugglers of drugs, firearms, and refugees trying to cross illegally, according to the Times.

Far from getting used to it, residents are still angry and the laws are causing controversy, the BBC reported last night.

The broadcaster spoke to local resident Buzz Roy, who was thrown in jail for crossing the border to get a pizza.

The flower pots went up in the middle of the road in August, according to WPTZ News, along with signs that say to head to border security.

Federal officials have just built another security barrier at the border, according to the Globe and Mail.

The mayor of Stanstead, Quebec,  released a statement saying he was saddened that the media and federal government have been depicting the town as a haven for criminals because of its leaky security.

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He described a recent incident involving firearms trafficking that "was detected thanks to the vigilance of the librarian, who knows the difference between regular customers or tourists who visit this unique location and suspicious people," the statement says.

Looks like knowing your neighbours is a pretty good form of security after all.