The American border is barely 60 miles from where I live in Manitoba, but it’s not a crossing I make very often.
Seven years ago, I spent a couple of days in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota where there was a growing flood because of Canada’s concern about bad fish that we didn’t want in Lake Winnipeg. The Americans quietly opened an outlet for the water, and the issue quickly and quietly faded from the landscape.
This past week I spent a couple of days in Fargo. When you include Moorehead which is across the state line in Minnesota, the population totals just over 228,000. It’s by far the largest urban area in the region, but it’s still less than half the population of Winnipeg.
I bought a few items of clothing and some groceries that we can’t find at home, like cherry-flavoured Dr. Pepper. But it wasn’t really a shopping trip.
If you love movies and historic theatre buildings as I do, I should tell you that Fargo has one of the best. It’s simply called the Fargo, and it first opened in 1926, about a year before Al Jolson told us .., “you ain’t heard nothin’ yet”.
The Fargo theatre was lovingly restored and re-opened in 1999. They present current films as well as live shows, and it’s home to a film festival every March.
Winnipeggers are more familiar with Grand Forks which is closer to home for us, and less than half the size of Fargo. I have to tell you though, both North Dakota cities put Winnipeg to shame when it comes to world class facilities for sports, culture and entertainment.
While I was on that side of the border, there was no question that I was in a foreign country, and a country that cares relatively little about other places no matter how close they are. Thank heaven for the internet. Without it, I would never have known what was happening back home.
I’m Roger Currie
Photo by AJ Leon