November is generally a quiet month for 8 Flags Campground in the Milk River, but this year business is booming

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –

Canadian snowbirds will soon be able to reconnect with their friends and family south of the border for the first time since March 2020.

Land and sea border crossings are set to reopen for fully vaccinated Canadians on November 8th.

In mid-October, when U.S. officials announced the date of the reopening of the border, the campground across southern Alberta saw an immediate increase in business.

People are already flocking to the Eight Flags Campground in the Milk River to get as close as possible to Coutt’s border crossing ahead of what will inevitably be a hectic battle to cross into the United States.

“It was quiet a few weeks ago,” said Helen Runka, campsite operator at Eight Flags. “Every five or ten minutes, I got phone calls to reserve a seat. It started at 8:30, and my last phone call came that night at 6:30.”

“I have people from Saskatchewan here, I also have people from Ontario here, one from Calgary and everywhere.”

A LITTLE CRAZY

Next weekend is when things get a little crazy at the campground as some people will be staying in temporary parking bays to keep up with demand.

“Some people will leave at three in the morning on Monday when the border reopens,” Runka said.

“The line-up will be really bad at the border. I have at least 80 people traveling from this campsite.”

People are already flocking to 8 Flags Campground in the Milk River to get as close as possible to Coutt’s border crossing ahead of what will inevitably be a hectic battle to cross into the United States.

SNOWBIRD BORDER BUZZ

When the weather is cooling off, there is a real buzz among those who have made fleeing Canadian winters a tradition.

Their campers are not used to icicles and having their windows frosted over, but soon it will all melt away as snowbirds return to the road to seek refuge in the United States instead of Canada’s west coast, where many flocked last winter to ride out of the pandemic.

And while moist rainforests in the northwestern Pacific can bring an Instagram page to life, they can’t warm a snowbird’s hearts like a desert city in the southwestern United States can.

“We’re in our 70s and we’ve done it all with snow,” said Andre Call, who was on his way to Arizona.

“We’ve been doing this for seven years, but last year we had to spend the winter on the coast of BC. It was awful. It rained 72 days in a row. Hated it.”

It has been a long wait for Canadians with friends, family or investment properties south of the border, but that wait is almost over.

“We miss our American friends. We’ve always had a great time down there. I’ve met some really amazing people, they’re all amazing,” said Anne Bennett, who is also ready to head down to Arizona.

All Canadians wishing to cross the border must show proof of full vaccination before entering the United States.

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