Is there a US City within Canada?
February 28, 2007 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I remember reading a year or two ago about a city that's fully contained within Canada, but is a US territory. It shares no land border with the lower 48 and it's not part of Alaska. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? I can't find it via google. Thanks.
posted by lkm to Law & Government (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think I think I think (but have nothing to follow up with) that it might be on/an island somewhere on the west coast. Your description strikes a memory with me. Try looking in the area on the coast of British Columbia? There are a whole bunch of little islands in the straight of Juan de Fuca that might fit the bill.
posted by billy_the_punk at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2007

Point Roberts?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2007

May not be of a great help but I remember a border town in Ontario that is sitting straight on the border, with one side being Us while the other belongs to Canada, Can't remember the name tho.
posted by selfsck at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2007

Northwest Angle, Minnesota.
posted by Brian James at 12:10 PM on February 28, 2007

better link, sorry
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:10 PM on February 28, 2007

There's another one that she's thinking of (lkm and I talked about this). It's not on an island or reachable by water. Like, it's just north of the border on the smooth land border.
posted by rbs at 12:16 PM on February 28, 2007

Here's the Wikipedia list of Enclaves and Exclaves, I'm not seeing a perfect match but maybe a couple of close ones (keep searching for Canada).
posted by anaelith at 12:28 PM on February 28, 2007

From anaelith's link above: United States: Alburgh, Vermont is on a peninsula that extends south from Qu├ębec in Lake Champlain but is not connected by land to the rest of the United States.
posted by Carbolic at 12:43 PM on February 28, 2007

You're almost certainly thinking about Point Roberts, Washington, which, because it's north of the 49th parallel, is a US territory, but the only way to get there is to cross a land border with British Columbia.

Canadians have been known to drive there to get gasoline, mail parcels to the US, and so on.

It's also traditionally one of the bonus locations of the Iron Butt motorcycle ride. It's usually worth quite a few points, because it requires two border crossings.
posted by toxic at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2007

Ack... not "north" of the 49th... "south" of the 49th.
posted by toxic at 1:09 PM on February 28, 2007

Probably Point Roberts. There's also an opposite -- a bit of Canada you can only reach from the US: Campobello Island.
posted by dhartung at 8:11 PM on February 28, 2007

Hyder, Alaska.
posted by mdonley at 9:00 PM on February 28, 2007

There's another one that she's thinking of (lkm and I talked about this). It's not on an island or reachable by water. Like, it's just north of the border on the smooth land border.

The International Boundary Commission is responsible for maintaining the boundary vista between the U.S. and Canada (yes, there really is a visible line separating the two countries, just like in the cartoons.)

Since 1960, they haven't allowed any new construction crossing the line, but there are a few cases of weirdness that were grandfathered in. I don't know if any of these qualify as full-fledged towns, though, as they're all pretty tiny:

Estcourt Station (pop. 4) is Maine's northernmost point - there are private logging roads connecting it with the rest of the state but the only public road access is through Estcourt Quebec. [Google Maps] [Topozone] The Wikipedia (yeah, I know) article describes an international incident of a few years ago resulting from the hamlet's unusual geographic situation.

Canusa street, the main drag of Beebe Plain, Vermont/PQ, straddles the international border before turning up into Quebec on the east; there's a T-intersection on the west going north and south. Houses on the north side of the street are in Canada, while the handful on the south side lie in the U.S. The US and Canadian customs stations are across the street from each other. See here (note the border vista.) This topo suggests the street might lie entirely on the U.S. side - I'm not sure - but a USAian making a wide turn out of his driveway would probably at least nick the border, and I'm pretty sure PQ maintains the road. In any event, when I drove down this street last week from the east up into the Eastern Townships, having cleared Canadian Customs in Rock Island PQ, I didn't need to clear again, so it seems to be a de-facto no-mans land, at least as far as immigration is concerned.

The last example involves more people but it goes the wrong way: there's a small bit of the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation lying in PQ but only accessible by road through NY [Google Maps] Complicating factors - the Mohawks, by treaty, are allowed to pass freely over the international border as well as other issues related to native sovereignity. Also, in the winter crossing from here into the greater part of PQ over the ice is pretty easy. Both countries, but especially the U.S., have expressed concerns about smuggling in this area.

There are probably more examples, but these are the ones that I'm most familiar with. There are many more examples in Newport, VT and Northern NY of buildings literally split in two by the border, but that's kind of getting off the topic.
posted by Opposite George at 10:50 PM on February 28, 2007

Point Roberts. National Geographic had an article on this a while ago.
posted by arcticseal at 12:31 PM on March 1, 2007

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