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Canada celebrates A Peace Bridge plaza opens in Fort Erie, U.S. plaza and a new bridge still to come

It's done. After years of effort, a new customs plaza is finally in place on the Peace Bridge. True, it's in Canada and it serves Canadian needs and ours remains a thing of fantasy, but let's not quibble. An achievement is an achievement, and this is one.

The new Canadian plaza opened last week, and it neatly merges the requirements of form and function, providing a grand and unique entrance into Canada while serving the important needs of border control. With the plaza's incorporation of limestone, boulders and water, and the canoe-shaped roof of the new customs building, the Peace Bridge Authority and Canada have produced something of which both can be proud.

The completion and dedication of the new Canadian plaza gives residents on this side of the bridge some reason to hope that they, too, may see a new plaza and even a new bridge before too many more years go by. The project has been on the drawing board for years and, while delay has served an important purpose -- designing a beautiful bridge instead of one that is merely functional -- it is time now to move it along.

That appears to be the goal of most players involved with this long-suffering project. With the unfortunate collapse of efforts to place American Customs on the Canadian side of the bridge, officials of the Peace Bridge Authority, Buffalo City Hall and in Congress are ready to move ahead with a new bridge and a new American plaza, which authority leaders promise will provide a grand entrance into Buffalo, a city whose remarkable history and architecture demand that tribute.

Canada has taken the first step in making this border crossing suitable for the needs of the 21st century. With the opening of its beautiful new customs plaza, it has also has set a fine standard for this country to follow.

Well done, friends. We'll be along soon.

We hope.

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