Since Canada closed its borders in March of last year to contain the coronavirus pandemic, many Canadians have received the message to American visitors: “We miss you, but please stay away!”

The alarm about American tourists crossing the border is so great that some Canadians driving cars with US license plates in British Columbia have been harassed, their cars have been destroyed and even brave attacks by other Canadians who do them for Americans who had crossed the border illegally, police said.

The Canadian tourism industry is in crisis. With their strong dollars and consuming zeal, American visitors pumped about $ 11 billion into the Canadian economy in 2019, Chinese tourists about six times and spent more than eight times that of British tourists. Before the pandemic, Canada was the second most popular foreign destination for Americans after Mexico.

But are we still missing the Americans who have long been drawn to Canada, including Montreal’s cosmopolitan and libertarian spirit, Vancouver’s stunning natural beauty, and Quebec’s European flair?

For the past few weeks I have looked with hotel owners, curators, restaurateurs, government officials, and residents of popular Canadian travel destinations across the country to answer that question for the Times’ travel section.

[Read: In Canada Americans Are Missed, With Limits]

As is often the case when it comes to stories about our taller southern cousin, this one has sparked an avalanche of reader comments from both Canadians and Americans.

Among them was a mix of mutual admiration, mutual sniping, and mostly American nostalgia for the days when crossing the border required little more than getting into a car. (Measured by the number of Canadian snowbirds traveling to Florida and other American destinations, loneliness is reciprocated, despite the problems and risks.)

Buffalo’s Lucia Dashnaw wrote that she and her husband had previously traveled to Montreal to attend retail therapy and restaurants, and that her husband kept his pandemic ponytail until the border reopened. “We remain loyal to Martin, our hairdresser!” she proclaimed.

“I miss Canada,” wrote R. Anderson from North Carolina. “From Lunenburg and the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia to Jasper, Vancouver and Victoria and Niagara By The Lake to its temperate people, Canada is what I want our US to be.”

But Al, of Kingston, Ontario, warned that Canada’s yearning for American visitors shouldn’t be overstated. “Meh. We miss your money, yeah,” he wrote before adding that Canadians weren’t “starry little children who marvel at the wealth and sophistication of these legendary Americans.” Ouch.

Jeff from New York City weighed in and found that Canada’s vaccination rate was below that of the United States and that “You know what? Americans are in no hurry to go to Canada. “

While recent polls show the vast majority of Canadians support keeping borders closed to non-essential visitors, the absence of Americans in Montreal, where I live, is certainly felt.

The city’s old port is conspicuously absent from the throngs of Americans walking the old cobblestone streets that are kept away from a deadly pandemic and undoubtedly the cold cold. Gone are the food tourists from New York, Vermont or Maine in Little Burgundy, a neighborhood full of upscale restaurants that was once known as the “Harlem of the North”.

“Everything seems to be dead since the Americans left,” said David McMillan, co-owner of the fabled Joe Beef restaurant, complaining about how the pandemic had changed the social fabric of the city. “At night there is nobody on the street, no noise, there is parking,” he said. “Montreal feels more like a village than a city.”

Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development in charge of Tourism, told me that reopening the borders would depend on scientific health advice and the success of vaccination in taming the virus. Meanwhile, she said the government is encouraging Canadians to view their own cities as vacation spots.

“Canada misses the Americans, we do,” she said. “Our job is to make sure the Canadians are safe and we’re not there yet.”

Frederic Dimanche, the director of the Ted Rogers School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, told me that support for the border closure in Canada has been accompanied by a degree of “travel shame”, particularly in the US Summer, not seen in other countries like France and the United States.

My colleague Karen Schwartz, who wrote for the travel section this summer, had dual Canadian citizenship and was hoping to visit her eighty-year-old father in Calgary, noted that “there have been so many reports of intimidation by Americans following Enter Canada that British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan reminded angry Canadians to keep quiet. Be polite.'”

When police began struggling with tickets and fines, they wrote that Alberta’s “most problematic ridicule yet is an Alaskan guy so determined to enjoy Banff with a Calgary woman he met online” that he was was beaten with two fines in June.

This week’s Trans Canada section was put together by Ian Austen, the Times Canadian correspondent in Ottawa.

  • Calgary has become a more diverse city in the past few decades. But the fire brigade remains predominantly white, male and permeated with systemic racism.

  • Nadire Atas waged an online war for years that destroyed the reputations of people she considered enemies and their family members. Now Toronto police have charged the 60-year-old woman with 10 charges each of harassment, defamatory slander and disseminating false information in an effort to raise the alarm.

  • Once the limo of celebrities like Frank Sinatra, the Learjet found its way into the lyrics of songs by Carly Simon and Pink Floyd. Montreal-based Bombardier announced this week that it will be discontinuing more than 50 years of production of the aircraft in favor of its other executive jet brands.

  • “Land,” a new film shot in the mountains of Alberta and Robin Wright’s directorial debut, is a NYT Critic’s Pick.

  • Facebook users in Canada are part of an experiment by the social media giant to reduce the amount of political content in their news feeds.

  • Jan Grabowski, a history professor at the University of Ottawa who studies the Holocaust, was ordered by a Polish court to prosecute in a study examining the role of individual Poles in the murder of Jews during World War II. inaccurate information ”. The defamation case has alarmed Jewish groups and scholars who fear that the nationalist government of Poland is trying to curb independent research into the Holocaust.

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