Canada is which way from here?

Point Robert - A nice place to visit but tough to get there.



11/13/20232 min read

There is a small town (OK, technically a census designated place) in Washington state called Point Roberts. There are three reasons why I would like to visit there someday. The first and simplest reason is the name, Robert, is also my name. (You didn’t think Bert was short for Robert, did you?)

The second reason is that if you are in Point Roberts and head due south, you will reach Canada. Yup. In that location, the US’s neighbor to the north is also our neighbor to the south. There are several other places where this occurs. Niagara Falls and several surrounding towns are one. Another is most of the city of Detroit and a good chunk of Michigan’s “thumb”. (So in Journey’s song Don’t Stop Believing, was the city boy raised in South Detroit actually raised in Windsor, Ontario?)

The third reason is the coolest reason. The only way you can drive to Point Roberts, which is in the US, is by going through Canada. It is on the southern tip of a peninsula south of Vancouver, so you take a boat there if you like. There are several other similar peninsulas, including one in Vermont that goes into Lake Champlain. However, there are bridges that can reach that one and it isn’t due north of Canada. The technical term is pene-exclave because it is non-contiguous and is surrounded by water and one other territory. Yes, Alaska is also a pene-exclave but you already knew that.

A final short story about my desire to go to Point Roberts. Years ago, I mentioned it to a colleague from Vancouver and he said I didn’t really want to go there because it was a suburban strip mall hell or something like that. With no reason to doubt him, I took his word for it. Years later, intrigued by what it actually looked like because one could arguably describe my hometown in the same way, I checked it out on Google maps. While I would not describe it as paradise, it looks quite nice. More of a resort town like you might find along any shoreline. A marina, a golf course, lots of water-front, and a good number of houses but still a decent amount of undeveloped green space. Next time I am in Seattle to visit my brother and sister, a drive up there is in order.