Coronavirus: Couples separated by U.S.-Canada border finally embrace at Peace Arch Park

Samantha Balenzano and Ian Foster at Peace Arch Park on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

Couples who live on opposite sides of the Canada/U.S. border are finally able to embrace at Peace Arch Park.

The park, which stretches across the border, in South Surrey on the Canadian side, has been a popular meeting spot now that provincial and state parks have reopened.

Samantha Balenzano lives in Maple Ridge, B.C., while her boyfriend Ian Forster lives in Tumwater, Wash.

Forster, who hasn’t been able to hug his girlfriend since the borders closed in March, called the park magical.

“I have just been running through scenarios of meeting up with her and hugging her in my mind for the past 11 weeks, so to actually be able to do it has been a dream come true.”

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Balenzano said it’s been well worth the wait.

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“To actually physically hug each other — it feels like it’s our first date again,” she said.

Rob Nicoll lives in B.C. and his wife, Wendy, is from Washington state. Sitting on a blanket at the park Saturday, Wendy expressed how grateful she is to have Peace Arch park.

“We’ve been married for 33 years, and we’ve never been apart for this long,” she told Global News.

With no end in sight to the border being closed to non-essential travel, the couples are calling it their special spot.

Forster said he’ll be coming here often to meet up with Balenzano.

“I immediately bought an annual pass right when I got here, so I’m stoked about it,” he said.

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