Canada & The United States (Bizarre Borders Part 2)


Canada and the United States share the longest,
straightest, possibly boringest border in the world. But, look closer, and there’s plenty
of bizarreness to be found. While these sister nations get along fairly
well, they both want to make it really clear whose side of the continent is whose. And
they’ve done this by carving a 20-foot wide space along the border. All five and a half
thousand miles of it. With the exception of the rare New England
town that predates national borders or the odd airport that needed extending, this space
is the no-touching-zone between the countries and they’re super serious about keeping it
clear. It matters not if the no-touching-zone runs through hundreds of miles of virtually
uninhabited Alaskan / Yukon wilderness. Those border trees, will not stand. Which might make you think this must be the
longest, straightest deforested place in the world, but it isn’t. Deforested: yes, but
straight? Not at all. Sure it looks straight and on a map, and the
treaties establishing the line *say* it’s straight… but in the real world the official
border is 900 lines that zig-zags from the horizontal by as much as several hundred feet. How did this happen? Well, imagine you’re
back in North America in the 1800s — The 49th parallel (one of those horizontal lines
you see on a globe) has just been set as the national boundary and it’s your job to make
it real. You’re handed a compass and a ball of string and told to carefully mark off the
next 2/3rds of a continent. Don’t mind that uncharted wilderness in the way: just keep
the line straight. Yeah. Good luck. With that. The men who surveyed the land did the best
they could and built over 900 monuments. They’re in about as straight as you could expect a
pre-GPS civilization to make, but it’s not the kind of spherical / planar intersection
that would bring a mathematician joy. Nonetheless these monuments define the border
and the no-touching-zone plays connect-the-dots with them. Oh, and while there are about 900 markers
along this section of the border, there are about 8,000 in total that define the shape
of the nations. Despite this massive project Canada and the
United States still have disputed territory. There is a series of islands in the Atlantic
that the United States claims are part of Maine and Canada claims are part of New Brunswick.
Canada, assuming the islands are hers built a lighthouse on one of them, and the United
States, assuming the islands are hers pretends the lighthouse doesn’t exist. It’s not a huge problem as the argument is
mostly over tourists who want to see puffins and fishermen who want to catch lobsters,
but let’s hope the disagreement gets resolved before someone finds oil under that lighthouse. Even the non-disputed territory has a few
notably weird spots: such as this tick of the border upward into Canada. Zoom in and
it gets stranger as the border isn’t over solid land but runs through a lake to cut
off a bit of Canada before diving back down to the US. This spot is home to about 100 Americans and
is a perfect example of how border irregularities are born: Back in 1783 when the victorious Americans
were negotiating with the British who controlled what would one day be Canada, they needed
a map, and this map was the best available at the time. While the East Coast looks pretty
good, the wester it goes the sparser it gets. Under negotiation was the edge of what would
one day be Minnesota and Manitoba. But unfortunately, that area was hidden underneath an inset on
the map, so the Americans and British were bordering blind. Seriously. They guessed that the border should start
from the northwestern part of this lake and go in a horizontal line until it crossed the
Mississippi… somewhere. But somewhere, turned out to be nowhere as
the mighty Mississippi stops short of that line, which left the border vague until 35
years later when a second round of negotiations established the aforementioned 49th parallel. But there was still a problem as the lake
mentioned earlier was both higher, and less circular than first though, putting its northwesterly
point here so the existing border had to jump up to meet it and then drop straight down
to the 49th, awkwardly cutting off a bit of Canada, before heading west across the remainder
of the continent. Turns out you just can’t draw a straight(-ish)
line for hundreds of miles without causing a few more problems. One of which was luckily spotted in advance:
Vancouver Island, which the 49th would have sliced through, but both sides agreed that
would be dumb so the border swoops around the island. However, next door to Vancouver Island is
Point Roberts which went unnoticed as so today the border blithey cuts across. It’s a nice
little town, home to over 1,000 Americans, but has only a primary school so its older
kids have to cross international borders four times a day to go to school in their own state. In a pleasing symetry, the East cost has the
exact opposite situation with a Canadian Island whose only land route is a bridge to the United
States. And these two aren’t the only places where
each country contains a bit of the other: there are several more, easily spotted in
sattelite photos by the no-touching zone. Regardless of if the land in question is just
an uninhabited strip, in the middle of a lake, in the middle of nowhere, the border between
these sister nations must remain clearly marked.

100 thoughts on “Canada & The United States (Bizarre Borders Part 2)

  1. Machias Seal Island is 11 Miles to Maine and 12 miles to Grand Manan Canada therefore it should be the USA cause it's a mile closer!

  2. This is lone when you share you’re room with you’re younger or older sibling and they put a line of duct tape and claim the side with the bed in it

  3. America: Where is the lighthouse again? I can’t see it?
    Canada: AMERICA I TOLD YOU ITS OVE….
    oil has entered your island
    America: UH CANADA I SEE IT NOW I WAS JOKING THE WHOLE TIME IM JUST GONNA TAKE THIS I WAS TOTALLY JOKING THE WHOLE TIME SERIOUSLY.

    and that is the best I could do. Like if u like

  4. "Let's hope this disagreement gets resolved before someone finds oil under that light house"

    LOL. Just imagine if that happened.

  5. I got an ad to “apply to immigrate to Canada” but just why?
    Edit: and the website was called “its Canada time” lol

  6. And than there is Europe where you live in Luxemburg, work in Germany, went to school in Belgium, have a boyfriend in France and visit your parents every week in the Netherlands…

  7. Stupid question. But, could you just make a MAJOR detour and cross the "no touching zone" instead of the border without getting caught?

  8. Just went to Point Roberts, WA. Its a cute little town! The local economy there is extremely dependant on Canadians going down to buy gas, groceries and lately, lots of shipping stores have popped up so Canadians like myself can have things shipped to an American address.

  9. Noone tell trump, he'll wanna build a wall, you know how the moose are such a threat and over friendly Canadians might influence sarcastic Americans and they might do lunch in a town that crosses the border. Someone pass the Canadian bacon, oops trump put a tariff on it. Next he'll wanna limit polar bears from crossing the border north of the arctic circle, maybe he'd like to stand in the way of that bear, oops, there goes trump's head. The bear actually worked for the RCMP and didn't like trump's comments about them a couple yrs ago.

  10. There was a lot of mixing in America between whites and Indians. Most of the "white" people are actually bi-racial….like Barack Obama. Canada has some of these mutt Indians too who claim to be white. You have to be pure European to be considered white. One drop of anything else makes you non-white. The mutt Indians are the right-wingers. They want more wars, genetically-modified foods, and evil corporations. The southern part of America is filled with these mutt Indians for example. They're as different from Europeans as possible. They think mass transit is stupid. They like it when cops shoot people unnecessarily. They believe whatever Fox News and Rush Limbaugh tell them. They also weigh about 150 lbs. more than the average European:)

  11. Canada:Ah, found some tiny peices of land and now ill build a lighthouse on it it claim these peices of land for New Brunswick
    United states:Oh some land, this will be mine and I will claim it for Maine
    Canada:US do you see a lighthouse on that land
    United states:Ummmm no I don't see anything
    Greenland and Mexico: Why am I even here??

  12. Canada: MOM AMERICA IS CROSSING MY BORDER AGAIN!

    USA: No I'm not!

    This angered the UK, who punished him severely.

  13. It reminds me of two siblings on vacation who have to sleep in the same hotel bed so they bunch up towels between them

  14. how tf should anyone use the map file.. 5% of all laptop/desktop users use mac.. so HOW THE FUCK should we use it.

  15. Ah, 2013. When the concept of America making sure a border between it and a neighbor will be uniform and noticeable was a place for an anecdote about Canada and not.. Well, I've made my point I think

  16. I've rewatched this video several times over several years, and I can't believe it took me this long to notice the creeper at 1:23

  17. Shows what can be achieved without war, just by negotiation in good faith and then living with all the inconvenient consequences That is what makes good neighbours good neighbors.

  18. that lil corner that america takes from canada
    Canada: HE'S TOUCHING ME!!
    america:am not touching you its my border side
    canada:DAD HE'S TOUCHING ME!
    america:NOT!

  19. Yep point Robert's is rediculous. We have to either cross the border, take a boat or fly there and back.

  20. There's a island by Maine and Canada that is owned by both country's Born on it and you will be able to live in both countrys

  21. 2013: Nope
    2014: Nah
    2015: No not yet
    2016: Still No
    2017: Good luck with that
    2018: Nope, Never!
    2019: Let's put this in everyone's recommendations!

  22. Sister nations… And showing a British flag… Seriously Canada-America boarder was far from the 'peace' we see today just merely 150 years ago, or even 100 years ago (when the US was still having plans of wars against the British Empire). Just a visit to Ontario and you'll find out how hostile the boarder was. The now touristic Niagara Falls region was once almost the North America's 'Maginot Line'. (I know it's overexaggerated, but just look at the names, FORT Erie, the Navy Island, etc. And also, why do you think Canada's capital is Ottawa, which is NOT along the Toronto-Montreal line?)

  23. Maybe if Mexico was nicer and didn’t send lots of illegal immigrants and mean gangs to America it’d be a nicer boarder but nooooooooo they don’t have maple syrup and hockey they have cacti and scorpions

  24. Someone tell me if this is weird where I live there is a border form can to us but to get to the states you just take a road that goes around Canada customs then you drive 1,500 ft and then you hit the us customs where you get checked same thing but other way around for entering can

  25. I live in the USA (Texas)and I've never heard this except when I found out (I'm part Native American)where my ancestors lived on one of the Great Lakes

  26. Mmmmmmm
    Commit various wartime atrocities I did.
    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I have.
    Rid of this Depression with suicide I must.
    Use 9mm to end it all I must.
    yoda death sound

  27. What a mess. I wonder, who keeps clean the line? America or Canada?and do the works need passports to perform their job?

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