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I Drove Through Canada With U.S. Licence Plates. It Didn’t Go Well.

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A man walking his dog eyed the U.S. plates on our car. “You people shouldn’t be here,” he sneered.

My husband, children and I were in the midst of a socially distanced reunion with my father outside the AirBnB we were quarantined in, blocks away from where I was born in North Toronto. We had travelled from Montclair, N.J. to visit my family, who we hadn’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

Wait … I’m one of you, I thought. I may live in America, but I am Canadian. If I don’t belong here, then I don’t belong anywhere. 



The writer, right, and her husband.

Under the Quarantine Act, my children and I were allowed to enter Canada under the right of re-entry for all Canadian citizens. My American husband, as an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen, was also permitted entry under an exemption to the Act. We were prohibited from leaving the AirBnB property during our 14-day quarantine.

Before the passerby’s comment, I imagined that my temporary Canadian neighbours would instantly recognize me as one of their own. But instead I felt hurt and unfairly shamed.

The festive mood of the reunion was soured. My dad sped away, leaving me to wonder if I should have told the man he had the wrong person.

The border crossing between Buffalo, N.Y. and Fort Erie, Ont.



The border crossing between Buffalo, N.Y. and Fort Erie, Ont.

The decision to journey to Canada was not entered into lightly. We were not looking for an end-of-summer vacation spot. I had recently finished treatment for breast cancer, and my brother and sister-in-law had lost a baby. Our family had been through a lot in the past year (even pre-pandemic). I needed to see them again.

In the weeks leading up to our trip, we doubled down on precautions even though I tested positive for antibodies against COVID-19. We avoided grocery stores, play dates, unnecessary doctor’s appointments and other risks.  

We drove for 10 hours, winding through picturesque Upstate New York until we hit Buffalo. Through our windows, we saw how the nation had responded to the pandemic: Joe Biden campaign signs littering the side of a highway, maskless folks in coffee shops, take-out eateries that had seen better economic times.

The lines at the U.S.-Canada border were much shorter than I remembered. Most of the traffic appeared to be semi-trucks exporting goods. The Canadian border patrol officer was friendly, but clearly took his responsibilities seriously. He asked about our plans for quarantine, the purpose of our trip and whether we were experiencing any symptoms. We swore an oath that we’d self-isolate.

Finally, the officer signalled that we were free to enter. We sped off before he changed his mind.

The drive took 10 hours.



The drive took 10 hours.

I had previously dismissed accounts of increased hostility between Canadians and American visitors. This summer, out-of-towners in Muskoka Lakes, Ont., had been targeted, confronted and had their cars keyed. Mayor Phil Harding had to remind Ontario cottagers that “just because somebody is driving a U.S. vehicle doesn’t make them a bad person or carrier of the virus.” 

But after the “incident” in our driveway, I spent the rest of my quarantine overwhelmed with paranoia. I anxiously peered at every passing car that appeared to slow down in front of my house, trying to determine if they were examining my plates. I feared being reported to Public Health if one of my toddlers dared take a step off the property.

When I recounted my experience to Canadian friends, I expected sympathy. Instead, they stared awkwardly at their feet. Finally, one friend broke the silence. “You understand why there is so much hatred against Americans right now, don’t you?”

She described how another friend, a Canadian expat, had recently visited from the U.S. She defied the 14-day self-isolation order and stayed at her mom’s, although the Quarantine Act prohibits contact with people over 65 during the isolation period. 

I can’t really blame my friend for her view of American visitors as potentially harmful to Canadians.

My friend viewed this as yet another example of Americans’ dangerous arrogance and defiance during this pandemic. There’s the Alaskan who vacationed in Banff, Alta., with a woman he had met online, the Kentucky man who was arrested sightseeing in Alberta, and the American family that told border officers they were going to Alaska (when they were really visiting Vancouver).

U.S. infection and death rates are soaring; there is minimal regulation, and even less enforcement; and too many doubt the pandemic’s very existence. In short, I can’t really blame my friend for her view of American visitors as potentially harmful to Canadians.

The writer's family was obligated to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Canada from the U.S.



The writer’s family was obligated to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Canada from the U.S.

I didn’t always think of Americans this way.

When I moved to New York in 2009, Barack Obama had just been elected president. Like many Canadians I know, I thought that America was headed in the right direction. The country was the cool next-door neighbour, the exciting international mover and shaker to Canada’s shrinking violet.

When The Donald was elected, I watched New Yorkers literally sob in the streets for the country they loved. People went from joking that I was marrying my husband for a green card to kidding that perhaps the reverse was true.

Trump’s inauguration coincided with our wedding weekend. By the time we returned from our honeymoon, I feared that I would not be able to re-enter the country due to Trump’s immigration ban: his first act as president, and a sign of things to come. America’s image is now at an all-time low among Canadians and the rest of the world. 

While many Canadians have deplored the effect the U.S. political situation has had on Canada, I can assure you that those of us who are living here feel even worse. The vast majority of people I know in America — admittedly, mostly northeastern liberals — are also angry with Americans. We wear our masks, we social distance and we’re rightfully scared, in contrast to the anti-maskers we read about in the news, many people in red states and, of course, Trump and the other Rose Garden attendees.

“He is not my president,” I find myself reminding my husband. “He’s your president.”

It is a crisp, late September day in Toronto that reminds me of my childhood. Our quarantine period was over. As I push my children on the swings in the park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario, a mother appears to shoo her child away from us when I mention living in New Jersey. But maybe I’m just being paranoid.

When it’s time to leave, we retrieve the car from my mom’s garage where we had hidden it from streetside scrutiny. I feel sad and a little scared. It is frightening to leave your family when you don’t know when or how you will see them again, and not least to say goodbye to Canada’s relative stability.

After hours of backcountry roads, we arrive at the Peace Bridge. The U.S. border officer asks us if we have anything to declare. He doesn’t ask if we’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Upon my return to New Jersey, I realized that I had always assumed Canada would be my safe haven. I thought I had an escape plan if things went further awry in the States. But perhaps Americans have gone too far this time, and even Canada the Good has had enough.

Have a personal story you’d like to share on HuffPost Canada? You can find more information here on how to pitch and contact us.





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Anderson Cooper Made ‘Amazing’ Discovery In His Mom’s Possessions After She Died

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper said he found a pile of love letter telegrams that legendary crooner Frank Sinatra had sent to his fashion icon mother Gloria Vanderbilt while sorting through his late mom’s possessions.

The “amazing” discovery was among “boxes of stuff” from “her epic life” that Cooper went through following Vanderbilt’s death in 2019 because she “never threw anything away,” the news anchor told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday’s “Late Show.”

Many of the messages that Sinatra sent during his short-lived romance with Vanderbilt were dictated from airports or airplanes, Cooper revealed during a discussion about his new podcast about grief, titled “All There Is.”

One of the missives from Sinatra read: “Star. Coming to town. Your fella on the white horse. Ring-a-ding-ding.”

Another was along the lines of: “I’m in Melbourne. On my way to you star. I think of you more than I should. Call me. Crestview 475.”

They were “exactly what you would want a love telegram” from Sinatra to be like.

“I’m sitting there, like, ‘This is kind of amazing and what do I do with these things?’” Cooper admitted to Colbert.

Watch the interview here:





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‘Barney’ Docuseries Details Drug Rumors, Violent Backlash Over Beloved Children’s Show

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Peacock just released a trailer for its “Barney & Friends” documentary series, “I Love You, You Hate Me” — and it’s brutal.

“Barney & Friends,” a children’s television phenomenon that aired for 14 seasons, from 1992 to 2010, drew the attention of countless children who turned to the lovable purple dinosaur for such life lessons as forgiveness and sharing.

But now the darker side of the amiable Tyrannosaurus rex’s image, including death threats surrounding the show and how the character became a catalyst for hate, is being exposed.

“Why does the world love to hate?” the trailer asks before firing off examples of the visceral backlash against the costumed character over the years.

“Some of the rumors I heard: Barney hides drugs in his tail,” says one man in the promo.

Bob West, a performer who starred as Barney, revealed just how serious the rumors became, eventually leading to wildly unsettling death threats against his family.

“They were violent and explicit, death and dismemberment of my family,” he recalled. “They were going to come and find me, and they were going to kill me.”

The series was directed by Tommy Avallone of “The Bill Murray Stories,” who recently told People about the personal connection he has to the long-running TV dinosaur who captured the hearts of millions of children.

“Barney came out on television when I was just 10 years old, and I admittedly didn’t understand him. As a teenager, for one of my birthdays I asked my aunt to make me a Barney costume, so my friends and I could beat him up on camera,” he told People.

He added, “Several years later, creating this docuseries, it feels good to be on the other side and no longer a Barney hater. Now having children of my own, I understand all the love that went into making the purple dinosaur.”

“I Love You, You Hate Me” will premiere Oct. 12 on Peacock.





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‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper Coolio Dead At 59

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Rapper Coolio died on Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to reports. He was 59.

The Grammy winner was found dead in the bathroom of a friend’s house, TMZ reported.

According to TMZ, the rapper, record producer and actor, whose legal name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., was visiting a friend Wednesday afternoon and went to the bathroom. After staying inside for an extended period, the friend went inside and found him on the floor.

Coolio’s manager, Jarez Posey, confirmed the rapper’s death to Rolling Stone but did not provide further details.

The friend reportedly called EMTs, who arrived and pronounced the musician dead on the scene from what they suspected was cardiac arrest. An official cause of death has not been stated.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said Wednesday evening that the department was conducting a death investigation at an address in the West Adams neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles but could not disclose the identity of the deceased.

The death did not appear suspicious, and the case was handed over to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, the spokesperson said.

Coolio, a Los Angeles area native, is best known for his 1995 Grammy-winning hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which topped the U.S. charts that year and remains one of the bestselling singles of all time. (Listen below).

The song was featured in the 1995 film “Dangerous Minds” but was not eligible for an Oscar nomination because of its use of sampling and reworked material. It won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Notable Deaths In 2022





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Chloë Grace Moretz Became A ‘Recluse’ After Viral Body-Shaming ‘Family Guy’ Meme

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Few young actors have been as consistently booked and busy as Chloë Grace Moretz, who’s appeared in more than 50 films since her breakout role in the “Kick Ass” franchise.

But growing up in the public eye came with a major cost for the 25-year-old star, who said that a “horrific” viral meme comparing an edited paparazzi shot to a “Family Guy” character drove her to become a “recluse.”

“I’ve actually never really talked about this, but there was one meme that really affected me, of me walking into a hotel with a pizza box in my hand,” Moretz shared in a recent Hunger magazine profile. “And this photo got manipulated into a character from ‘Family Guy’ with the long legs and the short torso, and it was one of the most widespread memes at the time.”

Moretz, who’s opened up about being body-shamed throughout her career, said her pain was entirely dismissed by someone who told her to “shut the fuck up” when the meme first surfaced.

Chloë Grace Moretz attends a Louis Vuitton fashion show in 2022.

Emma McIntyre via Getty Images

“I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it’s something that I can’t change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram,” she continued. “To this day, when I see that meme, it’s something very hard for me to overcome.”

The experience left her feeling “super self-conscious” and “kind of sad,” especially when it came to going out for public appearances and red carpets.

While Moretz has continued to appear on-screen in recent years in a handful of projects, including “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” the 2018 “Suspiria” remake and the LGBTQ drama “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” she “basically became a recluse” in her own life.

“It was great because I got away from the photographers and I was able to be myself, and to have so many experiences that people didn’t photograph, but at the same time it made me severely anxious when I was photographed,” she told the outlet. “My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate.”

With therapy and a much-needed career break, Moretz has begun to process her own “self-loathing” and the “jarring shift in my consciousness” about the attention her body has received.

Back in 2016, Moretz dropped out of all her future film roles, including a live-action reimagining of “The Little Mermaid,” to “reassess who I am and find myself within my roles again,” she said at the time.

But she’s back on-screen in a major way with Amazon’s upcoming sci-fi series “The Peripheral” from “Westworld” creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.

“To say that these past two years have been transformative is an understatement, to say the least,” Moretz said about her new perspective. “I’m a very different girl than I was. I feel like a woman now.”





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Sarah Jessica Parker Shows Off Her Twin Daughters In Rare Family Appearance

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Marion Broderick and Tabitha Broderick, 13, made a somewhat rare public appearance with their famous parents at the premiere of Parker’s new film “Hocus Pocus 2” in New York Tuesday.

They appear to have inherited their mom’s flair for fashion, wearing heels from her SJP Collection for the event, E! noted.

Here’s one with just Mom.

The last time the girls made a major public appearance with their parents was for Parker and Broderick’s premiere of “Plaza Suite” on Broadway back in March. That time they showed up with their 19-year-old brother James Wilkie Broderick.

The “Sex and the City” star mostly keeps her family off her Instagram account, but remarked on her children and the passage of time last fall. In a personal, almost-poetic post, Parker shared backshots of her kids departing and wrote:

“In the span of 7 days. One crosses the threshold into his freshman year of college. The other 2 into 7th grade. The house is different. We are different. They need us more. And far less. So many know. Gutted at the time passed. Passing. Exhilarated by the possibilities that await them.
The love. The love. The love.”

Parker applied the same bittersweet perspective in 2019, with a shot of her son walking away from the camera as school began.

“11th grade,” she wrote. “No longer able to capture in the center of the frame. Because they are off. But always captures the center of my heart.”





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‘Chicago Med’ Star Marlyne Barrett Reveals Cancer After Football-Sized Tumor Removed

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Marlyne Barrett, who plays nurse Maggie Lockwood on the NBC drama “Chicago Med,” revealed she has cancer and is facing her third round of chemotherapy, People reported Tuesday.

The 44-year-old star said she’s determined to keep working and has had her costumes specially fitted to accommodate the mass in her abdomen.

“Work brings me a lot of joy right now,” Barrett told People. “It brings me a lot of reprieve to think about something other than, ‘When is my next chemo shift?’ and ‘How am I going to hug my children?’”

Marlyne Barrett (with Nick Gehlfuss) on “Chicago Med.”

Doctors in July found a football-sized tumor on Barrett’s uterus and left ovary. She underwent “aggressive” chemotherapy and a hysterectomy, the magazine noted.

The former “Wire” semi-regular, who’s married to the Rev. Gavin Barrett, said she preemptively shaved her head in front of her 11-month-old twins to strip the chemo of its negative power. (She posted an uncaptioned photo of herself without hair on Tuesday, along with a picture of the People article on Instagram.)

Marlyne Barrett attends the Monte Carlo TV Festival in June 2022.
Marlyne Barrett attends the Monte Carlo TV Festival in June 2022.

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis via Getty Images

Barrett has continued to work, telling People she starts an hour earlier, naps and takes days off when necessary.

Barrett, whose “Chicago Med” character faced breast cancer in the 2019 season, said her real-life illness has proved overwhelming at times.

“I have a wave of emotion that comes,” she said. “But it’s OK not to have it all together. You can’t tangibly hold onto fear. But I’m holding onto faith.”

HuffPost has reached out to “Chicago Med” and Barrett through the network’s publicity department for further comment.





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Ryan Reynolds Teases Hugh Jackman’s Return As Wolverine In ‘Deadpool 3’

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It’s official. Hugh Jackman is set to reprise his role as Wolverine in the upcoming “Deadpool 3” film.

In typical Ryan Reynolds fashion, the actor broke the internet with a snarky teaser video about the return of the rapid-healing mutant with a hot-tempered attitude in the third installment of the Deadpool franchise.

“Hey everyone, we’re extremely sad to have missed D23, but we’ve been working very hard on the next Deadpool film for a good long while now,” Reynolds says in the Instagram clip.

The 45-year-old then explains that, although they’ve been working on the film for a long time now, they’ve hit a snag and are completely out of ideas on how to invigorate the mercenary for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

“I’ve had to really search my soul on this one. His first appearance in the MCU obviously needs to feel special. We need to stay true to the character, find new depth, motivation, meaning. Every Deadpool needs to stand out and stand apart.”

Reynolds adds, “It’s been an incredible challenge that has forced me to reach down deep inside. And I … I have nothing. Yeah, just completely empty up here. And terrifying. But we did have one idea.”

Jackman then appears in the background of the frame, snacking on what seems to be an apple.

“Hey, Hugh, you want to play Wolverine one more time?” Reynolds asks as Jackman walks by.

Jackman, 53, allegedly retired the Wolverine role with 2017′s “Logan,” the final film in the Wolverine trilogy, after playing the no-nonsense character several times throughout the X-Men franchise.

“Yeah, sure, Ryan,” he replies, walking upstairs.

Reynolds first starred as Wade Wilson (Deadpool) in the 2009 Fox/Marvel movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” in which he squared off against Jackman’s Wolverine character.

“Deadpool” is one of several comic-book properties that Disney acquired when it bought 20th Century Fox in 2019.

“Deadpool 3” is set to hit theaters on Sept. 6, 2024.

The R-rated franchise has seen massive success among fans. Both “Deadpool” and “Deadpool 2″ scored big at the box office, with the films raking in more than $780 million each globally.





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