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Signs of Buffalo in Crystal Beach, as WNYers cross into Canada

For some, the easing of border restrictions is life-altering. For others, they are finally able to check on property they haven't visited in nearly two years.

CRYSTAL BEACH, Fort Erie — We're hearing some of the stories of Western New Yorkers crossing our northern border and settling in Canada for the first time in nearly two years. 

All of this, of course, has been made possible now that fully vaccinated Americans who meet certain requirements can now cross. 

At Crystal Beach, a vacation hotspot for many people in Western New York, we have seen a lot of New York State license plates and we're also seeing some people from Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida -- people from across the country coming to Southern Ontario. 

For Kristin Miller of Niagara Falls, NY and her fiance Andrew McCombs, who's Canadian the easing of border restrictions is life-altering.

They will now be able to spend more time together.

"It's easier, because I can come over with work and don't have to call off of work for so many months or four weeks at a time to come and see him I don't have to go so many months without seeing him, I can just when I have a free couple days in a row I can come over for a couple days," Miller said.

Kristin says she crossed Monday over the Peace Bridge, following all the requirements, with no problems. 

"This is my first time not having to quarantine when I came over," Miller said. 

And now, they can focus more on their weddings - yes plural.

"We're planning a wedding in Canada here in 2022 and a big wedding again in 2023 in America, so we're getting like two weddings at one time," Miller said.

This is also the first time many Western New Yorkers are checking out property they own in Southern Ontario. 

Ann Caltagirone of Holland and her mom crossed Monday as well and have a lot of work to do. 

"I was a little worried about that maybe there could be something inside there but no everything fine a lot of cleaning a lot of cleaning everything musty because its been closed up for two years," she said.

Buffalo's known as the City of Good Neighbors, but that spirit seems to have crossed Lake Erie. 

"We love them, they're our friends for a long time and everything we've ever needed they would come in and go in our place they have the keys they go in they check it out they FaceTime us show us what's going on," Caltagirone said.

As for what they missed most...

"The beach we went there yesterday and it felt just like we never left it the beach is beautiful and our friends," Caltagirone said.

The border wait times have not been a big issue Tuesday, we're not seeing those multi-hour long delays like we were seeing Monday, particularly at the Rainbow Bridge. 

As a reminder, in order to cross, you have to be fully vaccinated and present a negative COVID-19 test and upload your travel information on Canada's ARRIVECan app or portal. 

From the people we have talked to, they're really not having any issues with the process, the only issue over the past 24 hours or so has been those border wait times in some spots.  

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