A dramatic white arch rises from the green lawns and flowering gardens on the U.S.-Canada border at Blaine. Some may not realize that the international Peace Arch they pass on Interstate 5 is the principle feature in an iconic Washington state historical park devoted to peace and serenity.
Peace Arch is unique among parks because it consists of two parks in two countries. The southern half of the park and the monument itself is owned by Washington State Parks and the northern half, by British Columbia Provincial Parks. The 67-foot concrete arch, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed to honor the centennial of the treaties resulting from the War of 1812. These agreements between the U.S. and Britain established a peaceful, undefended border between the U.S. and Canada.
Take a stroll through the lush gardens. Stand on the lawn and take in the view of Point Roberts and Vancouver Island. Enjoy seasonal bursts of color from rhododendrons, azaleas, dahlias, hybrid tea roses and annual blooms. The sound of children’s laughter may drift from the playground to the gazebo, adding to the calm, happy feel of this manicured landscape.
Whether you’re headed north or south on I-5, this park is a worthy stop and a moving reminder that peace is possible.
Peace Arch Historical State Park is a unique 20-acre day-use park that lies on the boundary between the United States and Canada. The Peace Arch monument sits on the border at the 49th parallel.
Every June, Peace Arch State Park hosts the International Arts and Music Festival, where visitors can listen to bands, and shop for local crafts and sample food and beverages.
The park provides a rentable day-use facility, The American Kitchen. Surrounded by thousands of flowers, this building features views of the San Juan islands, Point Roberts, Vancouver Island, Semiahmoo Bay, and the historic Peace Arch on the United States and Canadian border. A scenic location for meetings, company picnics, weddings, receptions and reunions, the American Kitchen has an interior capacity of 100 people and a combined grounds rental capacity of 400.
Reservations can be made online or by calling 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688).
The 67-foot Peace Arch was the vision of Sam Hill, a prominent road builder, Quaker and humanitarian, who built many landmark structures in Oregon and Washington. Hill bought property in both countries for the construction of the arch. Peace Arch was the first arch in the U.S. to be dedicated to peace and is still one of very few in the world.
The arch design is widely believed to be the work of renowned architect Harvey Wiley Corbett. Construction was completed Sept. 6, 1921. The structure commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 and the Rush- Bagot Agreement in 1817. The treaties, signed by the king of England and President Monroe, provided for peaceful resolution of U.S. – British disputes and an unguarded U.S./Canadian border. The treaties resulted from the War of 1812 with Great Britain.
In 1931, the property on the Washington side became a Washington State Park. In 1939, British Columbia added Peace Arch Provincial Park to its park system.
The Pacific Highway, the precursor to Interstate 5, was diverted in 1932 to pass along either side of the arch. A much-expanded I-5 still runs north and southbound on each side of the arch.