BLAINE, Wash. — The border shutdown between the United States and Canda has stopped all travel that is "not essential" due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, what about love? Families on both sides of the border have had to find creative ways to, legally, see each other in person.
So, during a time of so much divide, the Peace Arch Park has served as a reminder there is so much keeping us together.
"You don’t all have to be in the most perfect place. You can make anything beautiful if it’s about the right things," said Ryan Hamilton.
The 19-acre park in Blaine, Wash. straddles the international border. The Canadian government closed the Peace Arch Park in mid-June due to an influx of visitors.
Currently, Americans cannot step onto the street to the north and Canadians cannot cross onto the parking lot to the south. It's a small patch of land where the seemingly indefinite closure of the border just doesn't matter.
It's a place where Ryan, of Bellingham, and Savannah, of Abbotsford, Britsh Columbia, fell deeper in love.
"Who would have ever imagined that our borders would be closed for such a long time," said Savannah Hamilton.
The border between the two countries first closed in March in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The closing has kept the newly engaged couple apart for more than three months.
"I texted Ryan and I said, 'the park’s open let’s make-out,'" Savannah said.
The young couple didn't want to wait for the world to reopen, so despite a global pandemic and a closed border, they found a way to get married in person.
The answer was a piece of private property offered up by a family friend that just so happened to straddle two countries.
"It’s hard to describe the emotion because we wanted to be so excited, and we were but I think there was an ounce in both of us where we were scared that something was going to go wrong," said Savannah.
During the ceremony, the Americans kept to the south and the Canadians to the north. Elderly relatives stayed home due to the coronavirus and the couple walked down an aisle of sorts.
"Our aisle was that borderline," Savannah said.
It all happened under the watchful eye of the U.S. Border Patrol.
"Just to be able to have both families together was so important to us," Savannah continued.
"It was quite strange but at the same time it was so fun because people got to come and to be there and see it," Ryan said.