Hyder, Alaska, has a Canadian area code and a 14-hour car and ferry trip — or a one-hour flight — to the nearest American town.
This Alaskan community with a population of about 87 was once a mining boomtown for gold, silver and other resources, but its website now describes it as the "Friendliest Ghost Town in Alaska." It relies mostly on a local tourism industry.
But Hyder lies next door to British Columbia and Condé Nast Traveler has another way to describe its residents: secret Canadians. Hyder lies closer to the town of Stewart, B.C. than to the nearest American community, Ketchikan, Ak. It uses electricity from B.C., a Canadian area code and, according to writer Ken Jennings, the Mounties occasionally pop in to say hello. Most of the stores in Hyder also accept Canadian currency.
For Jennings, these details are enough to officially declare Hyder residents polite maple syrup guzzlers, or perhaps an example of how America would look if Canadians had taken over the U.S. during the war of 1812. Then again, he also describes the Canadian public school system as "dubious indoctrination."
Educational assessments aside, North America's wacky borders are well-documented, and Hyder is far from being the only strange border town on the continent. From Point Roberts, USA, at the tip of B.C., to Stanstead, QC and Derby Line, Vt., where a walk to the library can become an international adventure, border towns dot the map, connecting the countries on either side.
Informational videographer C.P.G. Grey recently gave a thorough explanations of the zigzagging lines the divide Canada and the US in a video that went viral this summer.