Have you ever heard of Campobello Island? It might just be one of the strangest places in the country. Campobello Island lies just off the coast of New Brunswick, but if you want to do something as simple as gas up your car, you have to bring your passport.
That’s because the small island is right on the border of the United States, and due to its lack of resources, residents constantly have to cross the border.
The Roosevelt International Bridge is the island’s only connection to the mainland, and it leads right into Lubec, Maine.
If residents want to drive to the grocery store or gas up their car, they have to drive in and out of an entirely different country.
There was a great disturbance on the island when its only grocery store, the Campobello Village Mart, was set to close. Luckily, another business owner bought the place and it will remain open.
The same process goes for any medical emergencies. The closest Canadian hospital is in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, and the only way to drive there is, again, by driving through Maine and making two border crossings.
So the trek through the U.S. is the land route, but what about travelling by water? While it is possible to reach the island by boat, it’s not always the most dependable route.
Campobello’s ferry service is privately run without any government subsidies. When the boat broke down in 2017, there was no money to repair it. It just simply stopped making trips.
On top of that, it only operates during the summer, leaving residents at the mercy of border patrol the rest of the year.
The route through the United States has caused another problem for Campobello residents. As recently as December 2019, American authorities began opening mail and packages heading to Campobello from the mainland.
Canada Post trucks have no choice but to cross the border, and since the legalization of marijuana, there has been a lot more scrutiny and searches.
That’s not to say that Campobello wouldn’t be a great place to visit.
It’s a beautiful island with friendly residents who throw a music festival every summer. There’s also plenty of whale watching to be done. It was actually a favourite vacation destination for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Still, life there is challenging, and as fewer resources become available, the more people leave and decide not to return.