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.
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.
A stainless steel statue of hands holding a dove is among the more recent additions to the peace garden. The dove symbolizes peace.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
A chapel behind the Peace Towers offers visitors an opportunity for self-reflection. The walls inside contain peaceful quotes from leaders of all backgrounds.
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.
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.
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…
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.