While staying in Brandon
we decided to make the trip down to the Canadian (Manitoba)/ U.S. (North
Dakota) border to the International Peace Garden. I think the
most fascinating thing about the Peace Garden is the fact that
two major countries were able to agree on a project such as this.
We went down Manitoba's Highway 10 to the border and found that
the Garden was actually a kind of "no-man's-land"
directly on the border itself. We went across the Canadian border
into the park but did not have to cross American customs since it
was actually on the other side of the park. The people coming
from the U.S. reach the park via Highway 281 in North Dakota.
They pass U.S. customs but are not required to go through
Canadian customs. We found out that the 23,000 acre park (1,451
acres in Canada and an adjoining 888 acres in the United States)
was built 65 years ago as a symbol of the lasting peace between
the two countries who presently host the longest unguarded
national border in the world.
Centers of attraction are; an interpretive center depicting the history and development of the park, the Peace Chapel which includes quotations etched in its limestone walls; more than 150,000 annual flowers in the formal gardens that line the boundary; and a floral clock.
Other facilities include campgrounds, hiking and bicycling trails, and picnic areas. Walking tours of the garden, nature hikes and arts and crafts classes are offered daily.
Self-guided walking and driving tours are available. Flowers are in full bloom mid-July to early September (weather permitting). The garden is open daily 24 hours. Vehicle permits (required mid-May to mid-Sept.) $20 per private vehicle for a season pass, $7 per private vehicle for day-use, $3 for a pedestrian pass.
Once inside the Park we took a wagon ride which gave us an overview of many of the gardens as well as a narrated tour. If you plan to visit the Park I recommend the Wagon ride because it will give you a quick overview and some background. Then you are free to visit the park on your own. It seems strange to be able to go back and forth across the border without having to cross any kind of customs post. This is because the border runs down the middle of the Park.
There is a understanding that no structure can be built across the border (which is the 49th parallel), so in all but one case there is a break in those structures that do exist on both sides. That one exception, which was granted legislative permission by both countries is the International Peace Chapel located in the park right smack on the line. The inside walls of the chapel are inscribed in marble with the great quotes and sayings of the worlds leaders past and present reflecting on the peace theme. In the center of the Chapel is a beautiful fountain.
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