Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Heads or Tails - Peace

The Peace Arch on the Canadian side is located in SurreyImage via Wikipedia

Barb over at Skittles Place started a meme called Heads of Tails some time ago - This week it is about Peace or Piece

Peace Arch is not a typical BC Provincial Park, instead it is a testament to peace between Canada and the United States. The main attraction here is the imposing white monument called Peace Arch, a unique symbol of peace and friendship between Canada and the US.

The monument was constructed in 1921 commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, which ended the War of 1812 between the US and Britain. Sam Hill, a prominent American businessman, conceived the idea of the arch. Mr. Hill laid a hollow cornerstone within which he placed a hammered steel box made from the steel of a captured slave ship. Inside the box, he placed a piece of the Beaver and the Mayflower.

The arch was the first of its kind in the world, and today remains an open gate between Canada and the US, bearing the inscription May These Gates Never Close. The historical Peace Arch has engravings: Children of a Common Mother, on the Washington side, and Brethren Dwelling Together in Unity on the British Columbia side.

School children from the United States and Canada donated money for the purchase of the land surrounding the Peace Arch, and on November 7, 1939, the Canadian portion of the Peace Arch Park was officially dedicated. The park encompasses 16 hectares, of which 9 hectares are located on the Canadian side. Management of the park is a joint effort between BC Parks and Washington State Parks.

The park’s landscape consists of beautifully maintained grass lawns, a lily pond, and flower gardens in the shape of the Canadian flag. At sunny times of the year, Peace Arch Provincial Park attracts almost as many photographers as it does motorists who must wait patiently for their turn to cross the border. The floral landscaping in the park is another reason that visitors come here with cameras in hand. On sunny days, particularly when the long afternoon sun begins to drop towards Vancouver Island, Semiahmoo Bay dazzles with its powerful reflection of light. This a good location for big sky shots of the fiery variety.

There are picnic tables scattered throughout the park and a children’s playground near the north end. The park also has an indoor picnic shelter that was built in 1948, making it the oldest of its kind in the provincial park system. The shelter's natural wood finish and picturesque setting have made it a very popular picnicking site. The facility can seat 150 people and has a maximum capacity of 800. The kitchen has five double hotplates and four sinks with hot and cold water. All groups are expected to be considerate and share the facility, and no group has exclusive use of the shelter.

The park is located about 40 km south of Vancouver, straddling the 49th parallel on the International Boundary between Canada and the USA at the Douglas Border crossing. This is at the junction of Highway 99 in British Columbia and Interstate 5 in Washington State.

BC Parks - Peace Arch Provincial Park, Surrey, British Columbia


Skittles said...

I love when you do posts like these. I learn so much and it's a lot more fun and interesting than back when I was in school. :)

I think it would be awesome to stand where the cornerstone is containing such historical artifacts.

Have you been there?

Tina said...

thanks for that little piece of history. i love stuff like that.

By way 61? wow you look fab!

Sue said...

Terrific as both a historical lesson, and entry for the peace theme :)

Being in Ontario this is the first I had heard about it :)

Shannon H. said...

Cool! I learned about something new today! Thanks!

Inspiration Alley said...

Really informative. Loved reading and learning.

Jeni said...

Just going to echo pretty much what everyone else said -you keep on educating us and making it interesting in the process too. Don't stop.

andrée said...

I hope that Washington paranoia doesn't imperil this park. It's such a lovely story of cooperation.

Karen said...

That was so interesting. I am sure I have been there. I will have to ask my mom. We lived in Washington state for a long time.

Abbey said...

I love to hear this stuff...examples of communities, countrys...coming together...brilliant post...x

Mike said...

This sounds like a neat park. It may have to be included on our list of places to visit on one of our trips. Good post.