U.S. borrows foreign landmark

WASHINGTON — Oh. Canada.

The Bush administration appears to have annexed a major Canadian landmark as part of a slick new campaign to promote U.S. tourism and welcome foreign visitors to America.

A Disney-produced promotional video recently released by the departments of State and Homeland Security highlights majestic American landscapes such as New England’s colorful fall foliage, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii’s pounding surf.

About four minutes into the seven-minute production, viewers are treated to the impressive sight and sound of water roaring over Niagara Falls before the screen shifts to the Lincoln Memorial.

In showing the natural wonder, Disney’s filmmakers, however, chose the Horseshoe Falls, the only one of Niagara’s three waterfalls to lie almost entirely on the Canadian side of the border separating western New York state from southern Ontario province.

Making matters worse, a visitor to the U.S. would not even be able to get the same view of the falls in the video because the scene was shot from a vantage point in Canada, according to Paul Gromosiak, a Niagara Falls, N.Y., historian and author.

Also, he said the video leaves out the two cascades that actually are on U.S. territory, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

Although brief, the appearance of the Horseshoe Falls in a U.S. tourism promotion effort is likely to vex Canadians, who long have fought to distinguish themselves from their larger and more powerful neighbor to the South.

The video, “Welcome: Portraits of America,” is to be played at select airports in the United States — starting at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston — and at U.S. embassies abroad.

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