Hyder, Alaska: The Only U.S. City That’s Secretly Canadian

This is a bizarre story in Bloomberg on the small town of Hyder, Alaska which is, in secret, effectively Canadian. The town takes Canadian dollars in stores, gets electricity sourced from Canada, and even uses a Canadian area code:

• Hyder, population 87, is Alaska’s easternmost town, a tiny town surrounded by lofty, glacier-covered peaks at the corner of the Alaska Panhandle. The town boomed in the early 20th century when gold and silver were discovered nearby, but is now so small that residents bill it as “Alaska’s friendliest ghost town.” The ferry to Ketchikan, the nearest Alaskan city, stopped running more than a decade ago.

• What’s interesting about the residents of Hyder is that their only neighbors for miles and miles in any direction are the good people of Stewart, just ten minutes away—but across the border into British Columbia. Stewart, as if you didn’t know, is internationally famous as “Canada’s most northerly ice-free port!” (Remember, the vast majority of Canada is a frigid, uninhabitable wasteland of no interest to anyone, even Canadians.)

• As a result of its geographic isolation, Hyder functions as America’s only de facto outpost of Canada. All businesses (except the post office) price stuff in Canadian dollars, and take “Victoria Day” and “Boxing Day” off every year. Clocks are set to British Columbia time, the electricity comes from a B.C. utility, and the nearest police are Mounties. It’s the only place in Alaska not to use the state’s 907 area code—even Hyder’s phone numbers have joined in the open treason, and begin with a Canadian code, 250. Kids can be taught at home or bundled off to boarding school in Ketchikan, but many parents choose the dubious indoctrination of the Canadian public school system instead, especially up to the sixth grade.

There’s no way to prove that this is the only store in America that takes Canadian dollars, but is this the only city in America with a Canadian area code? If you know, sound off in the comments!

One thought on “Hyder, Alaska: The Only U.S. City That’s Secretly Canadian

  1. Nonetheless, Hyder’s pretty cool. At The Seafood Express – an old school bus painted in marine scenes and converted into a kitchen, you can get the best friend fish we’ve ever had – halibut, shrimp, salmon and more fresh and cooked to perfection. There’s an eclectic little shop that sell great homemade fudge and beautifully crafted dulcimers. In late July, an especially large strain of chum salmon run up the local river, making for excellent brown bear viewing opportunities. We’ve passed through twice and recommend it to anyone traveling the Cassiar Highway in Western British Columbia.
    The funniest thing about Hyder is not that they are synched up with Canada: it only makes sense that they are on Canadian time and accept Canadian currency. It’s that the moment one crosses the smooth, paved highways from Steward, B.C. into Hyder, it feels like you’re in some forgotten colony of the United States. The roads are chockfull of potholes and most of the stores on the main drag are closed up. But the people who live there are, indeed, friendly.

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