On the furthest stretch of western coastline along the edge of the contiguous United States lie a series of three bays: Birch Bay, Semiahmoo Bay, and Boundary Bay, a scoop of calm, blue-green ocean that extends between the USA and Canada. Places like Drayton Harbor, Blaine, Semiahmoo First Nation Reserve, Surrey, White Rock, Crescent Beach and Ocean Park all skirt the coastline here.
I spent every other childhood summer here and in many ways it feels as home to me as the place I grew up, over a thousand miles away. Memories entwine with images and as I glance over the snapshots I took as a teenager, many of them center around this portion of coastline that connect my two countries: the USA and Canada.
This stretch of seashore reflects me and who I am. I am American and Canadian, among other things. Just like these bays. Throughout the summers of my childhood and adolescence, I dug for clams and collected driftwood at Birch Bay, built sand castles at White Rock Beach, photographed stunning sunsets at Drayton Harbor, hunted for sea treasures at Crescent Beach, played in the shadow of the Peace Arch, and crabbed off the pier in Semiahmoo Bay.
The connection for me here is as simple and as a part of me as breath and heartbeat. I truly was lucky, but for me it was normal. It was our typical summer break visiting Grandma and all our other relatives in the north. Looking back, it was a gift. One I’m willing to share with you.
Boundary bay is comprised of communities in the state of Washington and the province of British Columbia. A historically significant monument, the Peace Arch, calls this bay home. The Samish first peoples once had lands here and now own a luxury resort off Drayton Harbor.