International Peace Garden unites allies along North Dakota and Manitoba borders

International Peace Garden
The International Peace Garden is a joint project between Canada and the United States along the 49th Parallel.

If peace could be defined by a picture, I believe it would resemble the International Peace Garden along the United States and Canada border at the 49th Parallel. The garden was designed as a symbol of peace and cooperation between the allies.

The park was constructed during the Great Depression, opening in 1932. The work was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of the works project to help Americans with jobs and rebuild the nation’s economy and infrastructure. The CCC worked in conjunction with the National Park Service.

The first building completed still stands. The Lodge – built from North Dakota stone and logs from Manitoba. Since then, the 2,300-acre garden has incorporated the flower and plant gardens, peace towers and lakes. Picnic areas, as well as additional attractions.

International Peace Garden
The Lodge was the first building constructed at the garden by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

You get a glimpse of the beauty of the area with the sun dial just inside the garden. The time is accurate on the sun dial.

International Peace Garden
The sun dial keeps accurate time.

A stainless steel statue of hands holding a dove is among the more recent additions to the peace garden. The dove symbolizes peace.

International Peace Garden
The dove symbolizes peace. It’s the perfect addition at the International Peace Garden.

The garden is the most popular attraction. It’s a mile round-trip path featuring flowers and plants on both sides of the border. Visitors can cross over into each country without issue inside the park. The International Peace Garden is open year-round, but flowers are at their peak during August.

International Peace Garden
Flowers were still in boom during out visit.

Perennials were the flowers of the day during our visit in late September. Flowers still showed their colors, plants were still standing tall. We had a slight nip in the air during our visit, but we wouldn’t have expected anything less that far north. It was a great visit, though. We enjoyed ourselves.

International Peace Garden
These flowers were my favorite. I love the colors.

Lisa and I had fun any chance we had to stand with our feet in each country. It’s hokey, perhaps, but how many people do it when they have the chance?

International Peace Garden
Right foot in Canada. Left foot in the United States.

The walk along the path to the Peace Towers was impressive. In the background stand trees of different shapes and sizes. I liked the patches of yellow or red mixed with the green of fir trees and others.

International Peace Garden
We enjoyed the changing colors on trees around the garden.

The garden has a Carillon bell tower, which chimes every 15 minutes. It’s maintained by GPS, so it’s accurate for time. The design of the bell tower fits in with the flow of the garden.

International Peace Garden
The bell tower chimes every 15 minutes.

The Peace Towers are the end of the path. The four towers, two on each side of the border, have connected North Dakota and Manitoba for three decades, since being built in the 1980s as part of the garden’s 50th anniversary. The 120-foot tall monument will be demolished due to erosion. Parts of the towers have chipped and fallen to the ground. A fence surrounds them now. They will be replaced by a new tower.

International Peace Garden
The peace towers are nearing the end of their run. They will be replaced with a new tower.

A chapel behind the Peace Towers offers visitors an opportunity for self-reflection. The walls inside contain peaceful quotes from leaders of all backgrounds.

International Peace Garden
Peaceful quotes line the walls of the chapel.

The International Peace Garden has a memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Steel beams from New York’s World Trade Center are positioned as part of the memorial. Visitors can read about the events and actions take afterward as part of the exhibit.

International Peace Garden
Remnants from the World Trade Center – destroyed during a 2001 terrorist attack – are the centerpiece of a memorial.

Since winter will not allow flowers and plants to bloom year-round, visitors can take in cactus and other plants at a conservatory. The attraction is located at the interpretive center, which also houses a restaurant and gift shop.

International Peace Garden
The garden’s conservatory offers visitors views of cactus from North and South America.

The International Peace Garden needs to be a destination visit for travelers. It’s located about 14 miles north of Dunseth and 45 miles north of Rugby, so you must plan a trip there. It’s not a place you decide to go to on a whim if you’re in Grand Forks, Fargo or Bismarck. But, the International Peace Garden should be on every traveler’s bucket list. It’s beautiful regardless of when you visit.

When you do plan your visit, passports are not required, but are strongly encouraged. Visitors actually leave the United States and Canada when they visit the International Peace Garden. A driver’s license or some other form of government ID is acceptable, but passports allow for a more efficient process. The border security officer who handled our re-entry to the United States was cordial and professional. Regardless, a fear that I may say the wrong thing or make a wrong move would result in my detention. You never know…

International Peace Garden
Friendly reminders for visitors as they depart the International Peace Garden.

All went well for us with our visit and re-entry to the United States. We had a great time visiting the International Peace Garden. We strongly recommend making a trip there.

For more information on the International Peace Garden, please visit, or