The International Peace Garden – Canada and the USA – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The International Peace Garden – Canada and the USA – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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On the border of Canada and the United States is a 2300-acre garden where visitors can cross between Canada and the USA with no restrictions. No documentation is needed to enter the garden, but one must pass through customs to re-enter either nation. A passport isn’t necessary to re-enter, birth certificates and proof of residency are also accepted.

The garden, built in 1932, sits in the Turtle Mountains on the border of North Dakota and Manitoba. It was constructed as a symbol of peace between the two nations. A cairn built of local stone welcomes visitors with a promise of peace where the two nations declare, “… as long as men shall live, we will not take up arms against one another.”

The park is brimming with gardens, lakes, trails and wildlife. A floral clock ticks away in a background of trickling water and quiet conversations. Bells gently chime from a clock tower dedicated to war veterans. Paths wind through many floral arrangements including the Canadian and United States flags made completely out of flowers.

The government of Japan presented the garden with Peace Poles inscribed with the phrase “May Peace Prevail” in 28 languages. One garden displays fragments of the World Trade Centers as a stark reminder of this need for peace.

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The only building that sits on both sides of the border is a peace chapel. Every inch of the limestone walls are etched with famous quotes about peace, making visible the efforts of people throughout history who tried to bring peace to the world. A small cafe serves soups, fruits, and sandwiches but the best treat is the refreshing purple Juneberry ice cream. The International Peace Gardens are an incredibly tranquil escape and a beautiful reminder of the peaceful relations between two nations.

Sources: ndtourism.com; peacegardens.com

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Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

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17 Comments

Filed under Jennifer Battcher, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

17 responses to “The International Peace Garden – Canada and the USA – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

  1. Thank you for this beautiful article Jennifer. I had no idea this garden even existed. It seems like such a wonderful idea. Do you know if a lot of people know about it? How was it received? I also noticed you said Japan played a role. How did that come to be, were other countries involved?

  2. Abigail DeLisle

    I appreciate your article on the Peace Garden. I live on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota so this has always been a destination many people travel to and talk about, including myself. But I think the significance of the International Peace Garden gets lost, unappreciated, and overlooked because of the touristy aesthetic attraction, and for me, the familiarity. When I was younger, I had no idea what the Peace Garden meant and nobody took the time to explain it. Knowing what I know now, I would like to go back and really appreciate the significance of the attraction, especially since it has been around with very minimal security clearances since 1932. Our world could use more examples of peaceful international relations and the International Peace Garden is great place to build from.

  3. Dylan Brovick

    That is a huge garden! This garden seems really cool and beautiful which makes me mad I didn’t know about it when I lived in North Dakota. Also the fact that documentation isn’t needed so people can freely go and walk around the garden says a lot about the peacefulness between the United States and Canada. Another thing I like is how everything in the garden is focused around peace like the limestone has quotes about peace, the only building in the garden is the peace chapel and the peace poles with “May peace prevail” in 28 different languages. Lastly they have a part with pieces of the world trade center which I think is so smart to have to represent why peace between other countries is needed. This garden is a great example and reminder of the good that peace can bring between nations.

  4. Your description of this garden is very visually stimulating. I felt as if I was in the garden while I read through your article! I am glad you shared this, like Eleni, I did not know this garden existed. I find it interesting that the International Peace Garden would be located between the U.S. and Canada. I wonder who decided it’s location? I also find it interesting that pieces of rubble from 9/11 are displayed there, especially since the war between the U.S. and the Middle East is still being waged today.

  5. What a beautiful description of such a tranquil well-kept area. I think it is especially important to have places that are not only committed to injustices, but also to celebrate peaceful relations between countries. It seems as though this garden supplies that balance. The significance of having it be a space for either country to enjoy further confirms that this is a reconciliatory space meant to honor the peace. Furthermore, I think it is interesting that it is dedicated to the peace between two nations, but also seems to bring in elements from other countries (a gift from Japan, a monument of the Twin Towers indicating conflict with other countries). Has the garden expanded to include other countries as well since it’s origin?

  6. McKenna Holman

    This was a great read, I was not even aware such garden existed. I love the idea that a simple garden can represent so much to two countries. I really like how both nations made that promise that as long as man lives they will not take up arms against one another. I think the fragments of the World Trade Center is a really powerful reminder and the poles given by Japan really represent something wonderful. How did you find out about this garden?

  7. Ellery Bruns

    I loved this article! I have never heard of this garden before, but from the description, it sounds beautiful. I think it is a brilliant idea that the garden is entirely devoted to peace as demonstrated by the fact that you do not need identification to get in. I also think it is inspiring that “the government of Japan presented the garden with Peace Poles inscribed with the phrase “May Peace Prevail” in 28 languages.” I will definitely visit North Dakota to see this gorgeous place.

  8. It was refreshing to read an article that discussed a topic that was positive because as a society we are bombarded with negative and horrific news each day. I knew that there was a peace garden between the United States and Canada but I did not know that it was 23,000 acres of beautiful scenery. It’s a powerful example as to how two border nations can promise peace with one another and allow citizens to cross the broader and marvel at the beauty of nature. Peace is definitely something this world needs on a daily basis considering all the war torn and politically oppressed nations around the world. It’s a stark reality for the border the United States and Mexico share because it’s a metal fence that stretches for thousands of miles. There is definitely no peace between the United States and Mexico in regards to the border and there should be. In conclusion you wrote a beautiful and informative article on such a peaceful place to visit. Hopefully one day I will be able to visit the peace garden and have a profound experience as well.

  9. Thomas Landgren

    Wow thank you for sharing! I have never even heard about this garden and yet it seems like an important landmark that connects the US and Canada. I think that it is also really fascinating and wonderful that Japan donated those poles that help promote peace. Are there other countries that contributed to this garden other then Japan? This just shows that countries can get along and promote peace instead of hate. Is this garden opened all year or do they close in the winter? Its weird that the US has something like this on the Northern border but not on the Southern why do you think this is?

  10. Christopher Killian

    What a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. I wish I knew about this place while I was driving through North Dakota, the extra stop would have been worth it to see this place. I find it amazing how the Japan government presented the garden with Peace Poles. Also it is very interesting that there are Canadian and United States flags made completely out of flower. I wonder if have any big plans on adding onto the garden?

  11. Hannah Schaaf

    Nice article! Prior to reading this I didn’t even know that we had something like this. I think it’s really interesting that you can walk over to the other nation without having to completely cross the boarder. Many times the borders that we’ve created only divide us, but it’s wonderful to see that this is not the case here. I’ve always admired the relationship that the US has with Canada, I can only hope that one day we’ll have a similar relationship with Mexico. This is defiantly some place that I want to check out some point in my life, so thank you for bringing this to my attention! My question is, how did they get the land to build this?

  12. Meghan Lozinski

    In Montana/Alberta there is Wateron-Glacier International Peace Park as well, which is basically two national parks sharing the Rocky Mountains that both butt up to the border. The idea I thought was very cool though, even though I did need to pay an entrance fee to both parks which was a little upsetting. I don’t know how that garden works, but I know both of these national parks are independently managed and run and you do need a passport to go between the countries, but they renamed it so it would be the first international peace park. Much like the garden you mentioned, this represents the U.S. and Canada’s friendliness and pledge to not take up arms against one another and offers citizens of both countries a place to enjoy the natural beauty we share, because nature and animals don’t recognize the arbitrary national borders.

  13. Breena Alfredson

    I was so surprised to read about this, I had no idea this garden existed. This is such a wonderful symbol of unity and peace that the U.S. and Canada would share a portion of their boarder. The 2016 election drove a figurative wedge between the US and a lot of nations due to the other-ing that president elect Trump used. I wonder how many Americans know this boarder existed and if they would be in favor of a parallel garden on the boarder of Mexico.

  14. Amanda Greene

    I am so glad I read this article. It is nice to read something uplifting and inspiring like this. It made me think about how our our world might be different if we took this peaceful approach with more countries. With everything going on right now in politics, it seems as if something like this garden would be beneficial for the US and Mexico. I am really hoping that this idea spreads to places other than just the US and Canada. I would also love to visit the garden someday.

  15. Der Yang

    Hi Jennifer,
    I am amazed as I did not even know this beautiful location existed. I almost feel embarrassed as a Minnesotan! Anyway, this International Peace Garden seems to be an expression of unity and solidarity. This particular place allows everyone to come into one without having to go through the troubles of residency or citizenship. Especially with all of the hatred and political affairs taking place this year, it has been hard for many people to travel to their homes or even workplaces. However, this area again accepts and welcomes everyone. I am glad the US and Canada have provided this location for everyone. Great article!

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