Metro Vancouver Parks Series: Peace Arch Park

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Photo: John Bollwitt on Flickr

For about two years my husband was unable to travel back and forth between his home country and Canada due to his immigration processing. At one point however, we took a drive down to South Surrey and ended up at Peace Arch Park. He walked across the “neutral” lawn and when nature called he decided to hit up the restrooms that were on the American side of the park. I swear I heard someone whistling the Star Spangled Banner…

Recently Dan posted about Peach Arch Park and took some excellent photos so I’ll continue the Park Series with his suggestion.

Metrics: 9 hectares on the Canadian Side [Google Map]

How to Get There: The park is about 40 km south of Vancouver and is situated on the International Boundary at the Douglas Border crossing. This is at the junction of Highway 99 in British Columbia and Interstate 5 in Washington State. [BC Parks]

Photo credit: Dan Lilly on Flickr

History: From “The Peace Arch stands on the international boundary between Blaine, Washington, and Douglas, British Columbia. The Arch was constructed to commemorate the centennial (1814-1914) of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814.”

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

The American side of the Arch is inscribed with the words “Children of a Common Mother;” the Canadian side, with the words “Brethren Dwelling together in Unity.” Within the portal of the Arch on the west side are the words “1814 Open One Hundred Years 1914” and on the east side, “May These Gates Never Be Closed.”

Notes: From Dan’s Post: “Each picnic area on either side of the border has a large open space allowing for a variety of lawn games and clubhouse that can be reserved for large group gatherings. They’re equipped with full kitchens. (stove, fridge, microwave) as well as tables and chairs. The Canadian clubhouse has a fireplace with wood provided. If you’re on the Canadian side headed toward the park, turn right before the duty free to access the parking lot.”

Photo credit: Dan Lilly on Flickr

Dan also gives this tip, “You can cross back and forth across the border with ease as long as you don’t leave the confines of the park. If you do that, you have entered either Canada or the U.S. illegally.”

9 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Tyler IngramFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 9:11am PDT

    Is that last photo 1st Ave? isn’t that near where the tunnel was constructed for smuggling between the borders? lol

  2. RaulFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 11:31am PDT

    Wow, so the park actually covers ground from both countries?

  3. Mom604Friday, June 6th, 2008 — 12:14pm PDT

    This is where we would always bring our German visitors for picture taking. One old aunt of mine (about 85 years old) visited us a few years ago and told us that ever since she was a little girl (in Hanover)it had been a dream of hers to set foot in America. She was thrilled to be able to walk through the arch. She passed away not long afterwards, but we were all happy to help make one of her dreams come true.

  4. CiavarroFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 1:34pm PDT

    That ditch…

    I jumped over it late at night once carrying a box of Olde English.

    God Bless America and gas stations being open late and carrying beer.

  5. Barbara DodukFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 1:53pm PDT

    Raul – The Canadian side is called the Peace Arch Provincial Park and there is a hall there on the west side you can rent out. One of the first few dates I went on with Paul was at that Hall for a Halloween party he was DJ-ing.

    The actual Arch is in the middle swatch of land between the roadways.

    Then the east side of the park stretches down toward to the border and connects to the American Peace Arch Park south of Zero Avenue which is located along the 49th parallel.

  6. zonaFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 7:06pm PDT

    LOL @ Chad.

    Yes Raul. The actual border runs through the park and is clearly marked. The street in the photo is 0 Avenue.

    The tunnel you’re thinking about Tyler is/was out east by the Linden Port of Entry. The police were onto that tunnel before it was even finished because alert neighbors noticed that large loads of lumber were going into the large building and large loads of dirt were coming out.

    True story

  7. RaulSaturday, June 7th, 2008 — 2:07pm PDT

    Ok, then –

    @ Rebecca – We should totally make this one of our “Day Tripping” detours! I would like to tip-toe through both borders (one foot in Canada, one foot in the US). Hehehehe.

    @ Zona – Thanks for the info 🙂

    @ Chad – LOL

  8. JodiMonday, June 9th, 2008 — 11:26pm PDT

    That is my state now, in the middle of immigration process and unable to go down to the states to see my family. Or Target. Or Nordstrom. sadness.

  9. Po ChenWednesday, February 25th, 2009 — 11:24pm PST

    I went to White Rock today for business and afterward decided to bring my friend (an international student) to Peace Arch Park for some sightseeing. We parked at the parking lot behind the Duty Free shop and walked around and took some pictures. On our way back to the parking lot, about 100 feet away from the car we got stopped by a customs officer and he told us to go into their office to identify ourselves.

    I’ve been there over ten times in the past and never once did this happen to me. I thought it was quite strange, but what could I do? We went inside and saw a line up. I was confused and went up to another officer and asked him why we were there. He asked us to produce our passports. I said we didn’t have them, but I had my drivers license. He said that doesn’t prove anything. What the?

    He told us (not in a very nice way) that we should know better than to come to this park without our passports. But I didn’t know that. Does anyone know that? If it were so important why didn’t they put up signs everywhere saying “WARNING, PASSPORTS REQUIRED!”. I explained to him that we were in the area and decided to drop by, and I didn’t know we had to have passports at a provincial park.

    He kept on stressing that this is a border, we need passports. I was like, well, I didn’t know, and I wasn’t crossing the border, I was at the park. Then he basically told us we were in deep sh*t, and this could be reason for my friend losing his status here in Canada. I just thought that was totally unreasonable. He wouldn’t even listen to my explanation. It was like talking to a brick wall. I told him I didn’t know about needing passports, but now I know, and he said “So why didn’t you bring it?”…I was like…dude, I said NOW I know!

    So after all that he took our IDs, names, and told us to wait in the room with a bunch of other people, which scared the heck out of my friend. After a while the guy told us we could leave.

    That was the worst experience for doing nothing. My friend was really shaken up. I just thought that was really bad. I even check the park’s website, it only said we may need to produce IDs, no one said anything about passports. Even that “Important Notice” on the website didn’t look so important.

    So if you guys are thinking about going there again, maybe you should bring your passports just in case. Make sure all your friends and families have passports, and your pets too. Oh, why not bring your birth certificates, SIN cards, and citizenship cards as well.

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