The endless views and incredible sunsets of Kamouraska were a distant dream for a Virginia bicyclist who was unable to travel because of the pandemic. This is Quebec’s most beautiful place and a yearly reminder of my love for it.
It was finally within reach. My car and the bicycle were packed and ready for me on Aug. 9, when Canada opened its border to U.S tourists. But I was not. I had delayed the coronavirus test to make sure I received the results on time.
With my paperwork now completed, I drove north and crossed the border. Soon, I was cycling along a tapestry consisting of canola fields, storybook villages and wild rose hedgerows, which ran along the length of the St. Lawrence River.
Canadians who want to see Canada’s autumn and winter landscapes again can do it again. However, getting there means navigating through many hoops. Being here requires adapting to hypervigilance in the face of the virus. Canada is not a casualty of COVID-19 and it’s not causing any symptoms like many people in the U.S.
Are you ready to jump through all of those hoops? You must have all necessary vaccinations to enter Canada as a tourist. Before you can board, you must submit a PCR-variety COVID testing within 72 hours.
Pre-registration is required to receive a code from the Canadian government. In case you are randomly tested and found positive, you will need to present the basic details of a backup plan.
It’s impossible to be like the Atlanta man border guards were referring to when I crossed. He had pulled up unvaccinated, with no pre-registration, and had no hope of entering Canada after being more than 16 hours away from his home.
I crossed the Thousand Islands Bridge in Ontario where there was no waiting. Before I could cross the Thousand Islands Bridge in Ontario, two officials reviewed my test and vaccine documentation. I was then allowed to proceed to the border station where my information was checked again. After asking a few questions, the guard sent me on my route.
People were seen wearing masks both outside and inside Brockville. People were seen wearing masks in downtown, waterfront parks, and parking lots. When I indulged my unnatural craving for Tim Hortons coffee, a rarity in most of the U.S. but everywhere-just-everywhere in Canada, a group of about 10 people walked in together.
They were not socially separated, but they were masks. They were immediately taken out by staff who instructed them to return properly separated.