Lots of perks when you live in a home in Houlton Maine, are at a border crossing for New Brunswick Canada.
Taking advantage of the healthy US dollar exchange rate with the loonies, toonies and the other Canadian currency swap for goods or services. That's one big one.
At the time of the blog post, the exchange rate for a Canadian dollar in the US is .71.
I remember buying a Seadoo in Canada when the currency exchange rate was closer to .60 cents on the US dollar.
They did not sell them in my hometown of Houlton Maine. Rick Bietti who I bought the last one from moved south. He is no longer the home town local option. So heading elsewhere with a clean conscience. I can still sleep nights wearing my Chamber of Commerce hat pulled snug and sitting on straight. Am forgiven for sneaking out of town across the border into New Brunswick Canada to reel in a bargain.
As a side note, Reid McNelly's son in Centerville New Brunswick was the Seadoo salesman. His dad worked for mine on our Maine farm and used to travel over daily in his VW Bettle bug car.
Small world and when we get asked is it dangerous living that close to Canada we just smile.
We are all related on both sides of the US - Canadian International border dotted line division. My two boys played a lot of minor hockey games on Canadian ice eh? We ran into relatives all the time standing up and watching the small black circle go back and forth. I learned about much in arena conversations eating poutine and following the puck back and forth across the blue and red lines under the ice.
The steady decline of the two US and Canada "dollars" due to low fossil fuel barrel costs. How big a part energy prices play on the economic climate in the land of the red maple leaf.
I am about as close as you can get to Atlantic Canada, the St John River, the Atlantic Ocean whether parked on the US or Canadian side of the International boundary line.
The downside of a lower value currency on what Canadians shop for on this side of the border is it hurts Maine merchants. Who rely on the cross border trade traffic big time.
No matter what color or kind of currency for the cash and carry. Both sides need cash register bells ringing loudly. Thank you very much. Come again please. Value for what is spent goes up and down when your dollar or loonie gains or loses buying power steam.
Feast or famine just like Maine farming.
Where a good year is one you break even, or where someone else had a disaster, a crop failure far far away. With bad luck and poor weather messing up the simple farmstead way of life.
But the set back elsewhere. It creates the opportunity to send your produce, farm product to wherever the down and out farmer used to send his agriculatural wares.
From a Maine Bordertown perspective, there is a silver lining if you look at the poor currency exchange a little differently.
Canadians that used to travel outside their boundary borders with belt tighening spending efficiency, now are looing at options within the provinces. The weak loonie or looney means staying home or close to it. To avoid taking the hit at the US cash register. Or wherever they decide to sail off to for their R and R holidays unplug to recharge getaway. The travel is closer to home to avoid the depreciation crossing the border causes in spending.
Low cost oil prices in Canada make our gas costs lower.
Which makes Americans, Mainers venture into the provinces. Ebb and flow just liked the shared Atlantic Ocean right?
Mistakes made traveling into Canada to remember though.
As a border town in Maine, with Canada at our doorstep it is a good time to have your passport, Nexus card current to hit the road.
Kids with the same last name or birth certificates and parental permission notes with contact numbers for verification this is not a kidnapping also can enjoy travel into Canada too.
I like to ski in Canada at Crabbe Mountain.
When our real estate property listing buyers on this side of the Maine border ask "is it safe being this close to Canada", I shake my head. Smile to myself. Knowing my Dad's mom, Nana was 100 percent Canadian. A Burtt from Burtt's Corner New Brunswick Canada. My kid's great grandmother was too from Tweedside and Harvey. So we are all distilled down to be at least a third Canadian in my calculations.
No danger being this close to Canada at all. Except at Thanksgiving where you snooze and may loose that Tom Turkey. That like milk, Houlton Farms Dairy butter and our lower cost gas is heading across the border to a Canadian household. If you don't lasso it and toss it in the wired, four wheel shopping cart quick enough.
We are related to Canadians and the ties go back and forth, both directions. Long, deep, lasting relationships exist in the border town extension. My secretary before her move to Bangor when her banker husband got a promotion is pure Canadian and married a Houlton Maine boy.
We are all related. All are friends and family and we are lucky to be on a border for the cultural exchange, the relaxed free trade barriers. If the local movie theater has nothing new to sit, watch, listen and munch on popcorn at... it's Google to see.
What's now playing at the three screen movie plex over in Woodstock New Brunswick?
Going in or coming out we can hit A&W for a root beer, onion rings, a burger. Or ice cream sampled from Dairy Queen. Both of those establishments are not franchised in my home town. Mini vacation, that's what it is like leaving the country and within minutes being in Canada. Neat huh? Sure is.
The kids and I saw Titanic, the movie when it first came out in Fredericton New Brunswick because the lines in the states were too long. Sat right down front in the first roll. With everything as big as life and twice and frightening once the iceburg sliced the ship that could never be sunk. Plus we were almost there anyway on the Trans Canada highway because of a swish swish ski jaunt down Crabbe Mountain. What's a few more kilometers right?
In Halifax, a visit with the family to the sight of the Titanic graves was a somber time to reflect of the tragic loss too. Here's a blog post on a quick trip to Nova Scotia Canada that living in Houlton Maine and being so close made the difference.
So if you are moving to Maine, wonder about should you go into Canada, why not? Heck yes.
Make the trip and experience a beautiful country that is sparsely populated like Maine.
California has more population than all of Canada combined. That means wide open space, natural resources unspoiled by man just like here in Maine, Vacationland. You may even learn a little French and definitely see signs of metric in the weather forecasts and distances spelled out on the highway signs you drive by. The kids do the math to calcuate the differences in temperatures and mileage and currency exchange.
As a kid, family trips to Quebec City during winter carnival were fun.
Staying at the Chateau Frontinac. Listening to French, trying to learn some of the language as a kid. Tobogganing down the ice grooved long lanes like a luge racer. Down a hill or ice skating in circles on park outdoor rinks. Heading through Jackman Maine to get there from this side of the border to winter carnival happenings in Quebec City. Driving up through the St John River Valley in Maine is another route that only chews up a tad over four hours. It's like going to France, not just Canada mais qui?
Canadian trips happen a lot as a Maine border town. Why not?
Because the US - Canadian border is less than 3 miles away, and ten minutes total after leaving our yard, we can be in Woodstock New Brunswick.
If the itch to leave the country to go out to eat hits, hop in the car and let's go. Roll down your window at the port of entry of either country comingor going and answer the simple questions. Easy peasy. If not long line. On the way to say Prince Edward Island Canada... the island with the very very long bridge.
There is a three plex movie theatre in Woodstock, lots of places to eat options eh?
Two boys playing hockey growing up meant you had to be heading east to Canada. Up and down the Trans Canada to hit wherever the ice arena next on the roster was.
You return to sample other activities of the Canadian border towns because of the kids causing the initial trips across the US - Canadian border.
Funny how the kids pull you into lots of fun endeavors in sports, school growing up in small town Maine.
Learn more about living in Maine.
About Houlton Maine, a border town to Canada like Madawaska, Calais, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Van Buren, Bridgewater, Fort Kent and many more. Houlton is the County Seat of Aroostook County. Woodstock New Brunswick, Canada is part of Carleton County.
Lots of border crossing options between Maine and Canada. Our side a little heavily fortified and the process tighter going back and forth across the US / Canada border crossing.
Also, one more think to be grateful for that took a long time to resolve. Settled with a bottle of whiskey I have always been told. Where was the border of Maine and Canada?
I'm glad we worked out the kinks of the Canadian / Maine / US border too during the Bloodless Aroostook War. So we can all be friends now and cross border hop and shop. Living in a border town in Maine and traveling into Canada with a strong dollar exchange is a big perk.
MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730