As students living in the northern half of North Dakota, I am always surprised at how often we forget about our friendly neighbor to the north — Canada. As the late Robin Williams once said when asked if he would come and visit Canada, “You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.”
Of all the people I have talked to in college, very few of them have ever made the effort to take a trip up to Canada. When people talk about needing to get out of town for a weekend, they usually end up going to Fargo or the Twin Cities. And there is certainly nothing wrong with making a trip to either. Fargo is only a short drive away, and the Twin Cities is home to many of us and there is plenty to do there. But many of us seem to forget there is a city of more than 600,000 people only two hours north of us.
Winnipeg is actually more populated than Minneapolis, and although the downtown area is smaller, it is still decently sized and full of things to do. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, museums and concert venues worth checking out. Not to mention most people you run into in the great white north are some of the most polite and friendly people you will ever meet. So why don’t more of us make the short drive up there, even if only once just to check it out during the four or more years we spend in college?
My guess would be that more people than you would expect have never bothered to get a passport. To anyone without a passport, I would highly recommend getting one. They only cost about $100, are valid for a decade and give you the ability to travel all over the world.
If the idea of having to pass through the border crossing point intimidates you, there is really nothing to worry about. I have never had any problems crossing the border, and the people at crossing are usually pretty nice. Just make sure to answer their questions honestly and let them know about any goods you are bringing in or out of the country, since that is something that they take pretty seriously.
To anyone looking for something to do for a weekend or just to see somewhere new, I would definitely recommend exchanging some of those U.S. dollars for some loonies and toonies (yes, those are real terms that they use to refer to their money) and making a trip up to say hello to our friendly neighbors to the north.
Larry Philbin is the news editor of The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]