Today I Took a Taxi Across the Border

I’m in Fort Frances, Ontario for a day’s consulting work tomorrow. I got there in a rather unusual fashion: Victoria to Seattle, Seattle to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to International Falls, Minnesota. From there I caught a cab across the border to Fort Frances (here’s a map showing their relative positions). I’m not sure why I’m so pleased by crossing a border in a taxi, but I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done it.

I was also amused by this sign at the International Falls Airport:

The Icebox of the Nation

According to Wikipedia, they make a rather fraught claim to be the coldest city in the US:

International Falls long promoted itself as the “Icebox of the Nation”, however the trademark for the slogan has been challenged on several occasions by the small town of Fraser, Colorado. Officials from Fraser claimed usage since 1956, International Falls since 1948. The two towns came to an agreement in 1986, when International Falls paid Fraser $2,000 to relinquish its “official” claim. However, in 1996, International Falls inadvertently failed to renew its federal trademark, although it had kept its state trademark up to date. Fraser then filed to gain the federal trademark. International Falls submitted photographic proof that its 1955 Pee Wee hockey team traveled to Boston, Massachusetts with the slogan. After several years of legal battles, the United States Patent and Trademark Office officially registered the slogan with International Falls on January 29, 2008, Registration Number 3375139. Only a few days after announcing its success in the trademark battle, International Falls had a record low temperature of −40°F (−40°C), beating a previous record of −37°F (−38.3°C) in 1967.

As I write this, it’s about midnight local time, and a balmy 11°C.


  1. I grew up in Fort. Hope it doesn’t bore you too much. There’s not much to see, all our tourist attractions were closed or destroyed some time ago, otherwise I’d suggest you see the sights.
    Who are you consulting with?

    1. Well, my hotel was at the ‘far end’ of town, so the whole trip cost US $25.

  2. John, I meant any old city or town in Alaska that regularly gets colder than International Falls. There are numerous candidates. There are places even here in B.C. that get to minus-40 (C or F, doesn’t matter), and most of Alaska is further north than that.

    It’s sort of like calling Mt. St. Helens the “volcanoiest place in America” and forgetting about Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands.

  3. So, how about this.

    Drive up to Campbell River. The sign says “Salmon Capital of the World.” Ok, fine, 3.5 hours and that’s what you get. Drive back down south, take a right. Arrive at Port Alberni. Their sign also claims “Salmon Capital of the World.” 2 cities that are not very far apart. Different sides of the island (kind of) – you’d think they’d come up with different slogans or titles. You’d think. But they didn’t, and it makes me sad inside.

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