Peace Arch Park is an international park consisting of Peace Arch Historical State Park in the United States and Peace Arch Provincial Park in Canada. The park straddles the international boundary between the two countries at the extreme western end of the main contiguous section of the two countries' land border, between Blaine, Washington, United States, and Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, where it reaches Semiahmoo Bay of the Salish Sea on the continent's Pacific Coast. The park's central feature is the Peace Arch.
|Peace Arch Park|
|Location||Canada and United States|
|Nearest city||Blaine, Washington/Surrey, British Columbia|
|Area||Canada: 9 hectares (22 acres)|
U.S.: 20 acres (8.1 ha)
|Established||November 7, 1939|
|Governing body||Canada: BC Parks|
U.S.: Washington State Parks
The park is located at the Peace Arch Border Crossing (also known as the Douglas Border Crossing), where Highway 99 in British Columbia and Interstate 5 in Washington State meet. The park's northern portion is about 9 hectares (22 acres) and is managed by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment. The southern portion is about 20 acres (8.1 ha) and is managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
The Peace Arch, dedicated in 1921, commemorates the Treaty of Ghent and the Rush-Bagot agreement ending the War of 1812, which "provided for peaceful resolution of U.S.—British disputes and an unguarded U.S./Canadian border." The United States side was established as a state park in 1931. The Canadian side was established as a provincial park on November 7, 1939.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada–United States border was shut down for non-essential travel on March 21, 2020. Initially, the parks on both sides of the border continued to open, allowing visitors from both sides of the border to gather at the park. However, as the number of park visitors continued to increase, the Canadian side of the park was ordered to close on June 18, 2020. On November 8, 2021, the border reopened to non-essential travel for Canadians who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the closure of the Canadian side of the park, and to get around mandatory Canadian public health and quarantine requirements, some visitors on the Canadian side continued to cross the border by directly accessing Peace Arch Historical State Park from 0 Avenue in Surrey. Although the U.S. Customs and Border Protection allowed Canadian visitors to enter the American side of the park and return to Canada, Canada Border Services Agency required anyone crossing the international border to report to CBSA to avoid potential penalties or charges. In an interview with CBC News, an immigration attorney from Washington state cited that the 1814 Treaty of Ghent prevents the erection of a barrier on the boundary, as it stipulates that such an action would cause the entire US-Canada boundary governed by the treaty to revert to its pre-treaty status.
Peace Arch Park is one of the most common locations reported to have served for 2020–21 border weddings. Unlike other border crossings where weddings were held, Peace Arch allowed both sides to meet in the same location with no separation.
Recreational activities include walking and picnicking as well as a playground for children. Visitors are allowed to explore both sides of the Canada–United States border inside the park, but are warned not to cross the boundary of the park to enter the adjacent country without being cleared to enter by the respective customs authority, as violators are subject to prosecution.[failed verification] Although no known cameras are in the park itself, United States Border Patrol agents in cars, on bikes, and on foot inside and steerable cameras on poles outside watch the park.
The International Peace Arch Association (IPAA) (formerly the United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association) is a nonprofit association dedicated to the heritage and preservation of the international monument. The association hosts park events and activities including the annual International Sculpture Exhibition, which highlights the work of American and Canadian artists.
- There is a detached section of the land border a few kilometers (miles) west on the Point Roberts peninsula.
- "Peace Arch Provincial Park". BC Parks. British Columbia Ministry of Environment. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
- "Peace Arch Historical State Park". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
- "Custom Entry Ports in Surrey". Retrieved 2014-12-06.
- "Order of the Executive Director" (PDF). Province of British Columbia. 1 June 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- Schmunk, Rhianna. "B.C. closing Peace Arch park at Canada-U.S. border due to 'significant' number of visitors". CBC.
- "Prime Minister announces temporary border agreement with the United States". Prime Minister of Canada. 2020-03-21. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
- Mackrael, Paul Vieira and Kim (2021-11-30). "U.S.-Canada Border Reopened on Nov. 8: What to Know About Travel". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
- Miljure, Ben. "People still taking advantage of cross-border B.C. park to skip quarantine". CTV News.
- Robinson, Matt. "Officials say border loophole hangout spot 'concerning,' warn of penalties". Vancouver Sun.
- Yvette Brend (July 2, 2020). "Cross-border mingling near Peace Arch still a walk in the park, says lawyer from Washington state". CBC News.
- Little, Simon (September 9, 2020). "Frequent weddings in cross-border Peace Arch Park spur COVID-19 concerns". Global News.
- Little, Simon (June 6, 2020). "Canada-U.S. couple ties the knot at B.C.'s border-straddling Peace Arch Park". Global News.
- "International Peace Arch Association (IPAA)". Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- "Chapter 6: Washington State". United Divide: A Linear Portrait of the USA/Canada Border. The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Winter 2015.