Thousands gathered in Sault Ste. Marie today for an opportunity that only comes once a year: the chance to walk across the International Bridge.

The 2019 International Bridge Walk allows people from both sides of the border to walk across one of the most well-known landmarks in Northern Ontario, the bridge that connects Sault, Ontario with Sault, Michigan.

“It’s just heartwarming to see people come into the communities and come here specifically for the bridge walk and to celebrate this weekend and this day with us,” Peter Petainen, International Bridge Manager, tells CTV News.

The three mile walk, which always takes place on the last weekend in June, started in Sault, Michigan and ended on the Ontario side. The event allows people the opportunity to see a different side.

Nearly 10,000 people drive across the bridge every day. For the walk, some people came as far away as Florida.  

“We saw the bridge walk, we’ve done the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa and we’re doing the Mackinac Bridge in Labour Day and the bridge runs and walks are now part of our routine,” one walker told CTV News.

In a time that is often known for political differences, participants said they were enjoying just embracing the fact that they are neighbours.

“It celebrates the fact that there’s international friendship and there’s a joint community between both sides of the border,” Petainen said. “We don’t really see that there’s a border’s one community.”

The walk has been taking place every year since 1987.