A COVID-19 love story for Valentine's Day: cross-border couple went on 'binocular dates'
Couple married during the pandemic lives 17 km apart, but in between is the U.S.-Canada border
For months after they got engaged, Brent Kohn and Caroline Brandow would only see each other on a screen. Or through binoculars.
They were one of many cross-border couples kept apart by COVID-19, but could still physically see each other across the St. Mary's River in Sault Ste. Marie.
Most Sundays during the first 10 months of the pandemic, Kohn would bring a coffee down to the river on the Michigan side and Brandow would have her coffee on the Ontario side.
Kohn said they would get "weird looks" from some passersby, but they also saw other Saulties holding up signs for "whoever they're talking to across the way."
"It definitely did help, because it did feel like things were back to normal," he said.
"It was hard, because it was so close and so far."
They met online in 2018, got engaged in November 2019 and after they got the proper paperwork, they got married during tight COVID-19 restrictions in February 2021.
They are still separated by the pandemic and the U.S.-Canada border, but Kohn has applied to immigrate to Canada, so they hope it won't be for much longer.
"We really had to learn to communicate and really learned a lot about each other," said Brandow.
"If we can make it through this we can make it through anything," Kohn said.