The Peace Arch
The Peace Arch
A Monument to US - Canada Friendship and Peace
Anyone crossing the border between the US and Canada on I-5 near Blaine, Washington and Surrey, British Columbia will no doubt notice the beautiful grounds of Peace Arch Park. Surrounded by a lush green lawn and colorful beds of flowers, the centerpiece of the park is the white, 67 foot (20.5 meters) tall Peace Arch.
With flags flying from both countries at the top, the arch straddles the boundary between the two nations and has stood as a monument to the peaceful relationship between the US and Canada since 1921.
Maybe you have never heard of the Peace Arch or perhaps you've driven past, but don't know why, when, or by whom it was built. On this page you will find information about this unique monument and its history.
All photos by the author, Vicki Green, unless credited otherwise.
Where is the Peace Arch?
The Peace Arch is located on the 49th parallel at the border between the United States and Canada near Blaine, Washington. It is one of the most heavily used border crossings between the two countries. The highway is I-5 in Washington State and Canadian BC Highway 99.
A Map Showing the Peace Arch
The Peace Arch straddles the border between the United States and Canada at the border crossing near Blaine, Washington.
The Blaine Border Crossing
Peace Arch Border Crossing
The Peace Arch border crossing is the third busiest one between the US and Canada. Approximately 4000 vehicles per day cross this border.
Take Part in a Poll About the Peace Arch
Have you ever crossed the US-Canada border at the Peace Arch Crossing?
"Children of a Common Mother"
The Peace Arch on the United States Side
Surrounded by beautiful grounds, the top of the US side of the Peace Arch has the inscription "Children of a Common Mother".
International Boundary Marker at Peace Arch Park - US-Canada Border Marker at the Peace Arch
The 49th Parallel
The Peace Arch is sited directly on the border between the US and Canada as can be see from the photo of this marker on the boundary in line with the Peace Arch.
"Brethren Dwelling Together in Unity"
The Peace Arch on the Canadian Side
The inscription on the Canadian side of the Peace arch is "Brethren Dwelling Together in Unity"
Gates and Inscriptions Inside the Peace Arch
Peace Arch Gates and Inscriptions
Under the arch on the inside of the Peace Arch are two open gates, one on each side. On one side the inscription says:
"1814 Open One Hundred Years 1914"
and on the other
"May These Gates Never Be Closed"
Who Built the Peace Arch?
The Peace Arch was not a monument built by any government. It was a project conceived by Samuel Hill, a wealthy Pacific Northwest businessman. Sam Hill also built the Maryhill Museum and the Maryhill Stonehenge replica in southwest Washington State. In 1915 Samuel Hill attended a 100th anniversary celebration of the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent at the US - Canada border near the current site of the Peace Arch. The Treaty of Ghent ended the war of 1812 between the US and Great Britain. After attending the ceremony, and perhaps in part because of his Quaker roots, Sam Hill was inspired to build a monument at the border to commemorate the Treaty of Ghent and the peace and friendship between Canada and the US. Hill began a fundraising effort to raise money for the monument and architect Harvey Corbett donated his services. Construction began in 1920 and the Peace Arch was completed in 1921 with the dedication on September 6th.
Samuel Hill 1857-1931
Sam Hill's Peace Arch: Remembrance of Dreams Past - By Richard Clark
Richard Clark, a resident of Blaine Washington, researched for 14 years to compile this fascinating book about how the Peace Arch came to be built and many of the events that have occurred at Peace Arch Park since it was completed.
The Peace Arch Memorial to Samuel Hill
A Plaque Honoring Samuel Hill
The plaque honoring Samuel Hill on the US side of the Peace Arch says:
" In Commemoration of the Life and Works of
1857 - Samuel Hill - 1931
Eminent Road Builder
A True Quaker - Foremost in Peace
Always Promoting Worldwide Unity
And Goodwill - Whoever Sought
To Build Up But Never Tear Down
This Tablet Erected By
Washington Good Road Association
Peace Arch Trivia
Dedicated September 6, 1921
Built on the 49th parallel
Built through the efforts of Samuel Hill
Architect Harvey W. Corbett donated his services
Building materials: Concrete and Reinforced Steel
Commemorates the Treaty of Ghent
Celebrates US-Canada Peace and Friendship
On the US Register of Historic Places
On the Canadian Register of Historic Places
Both a state and provincial park
Over 500,000 annual visitors
One of North America's first earthquake resistant structures
Building the Peace Arch
The Construction of the Peace Arch
Every time I cross the border at the Peace Arch crossing and see the Peace Arch, it has a special personal significance for me. Like the Peace Arch, my ancestors for several generations have straddled the border between the US and Canada, with births, deaths and other life events occurring on both sides of the line. In this photo above taken while the Peace Arch was under construction, the man standing at the top is my great-grandfather, Watson Monroe Hazen who was one of the construction workers. The photo is tattered and torn because my mother, who passed away in 2012, often carried it with her to show people. She was so proud that her maternal grandfather helped to build the monument.
Symbols of Friendship Between the United States and Canada
Through 2010 for many years there was a celebration called "Hands Across the Border" every June at the Peace Arch International Park. It was a favorite event for youth groups like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to meet their counterparts from the other side of the border to exchange flags, patches, badges and other symbols of friendship.
Washington's Peace Arch State Park
Peace Arch State Park
The Peace Arch Park is an international park maintained by both the United States and Canada. The United States side of Peace Arch State Park is a day use park that is part of the Washington State Parks system.
The United States Flag in Blooming Flowers
The Grounds of the Peace Arch Park
The grounds at the Peace Arch are beautiful with a large lawn area surrounded by shrubs, trees and flower beds. One of the flower beds on the United States side of the park features a flower bed with flowers blooming in red, white and blue colors to create a US flag.
Peace Arch BC Provincial Park
British Columbia's Peace Arch Provincial Park
As is indicated on the sign in this photo, the Canadian side of the Peace Arch is designated as the British Columbia Peace Arch Provincial Park.
The Canadian Flag in Blooming Flowers
Flower Bed of the Flag of Canada
As you might expect, on the Canadian side there is a beautiful flower bed in the red and white maple leaf design of the Canadian Flag.
Crossing the Peace Arch Border Between the US and Canada - Check the Traffic and Get Information About Crossing the US-Canada Border at the Peace Arch
- Washington State DOT Peace Arch Traffic Conditions
Washington State Department of Transportation Live Traffic Camera and Traffic Conditions at the Peace Arch Border Crossing
- B.C. Highway Camera - Peace Arch Crossing
B.C. Ministry of Transportation Live Traffic Camera at the Peace Arch Border Crossing
- Travel often? Apply for NEXUS - Official Web site
NEXUS is a joint customs and immigration program for frequent travellers that both the Canadian and American governments have implemented. The NEXUS program is designed to simplify border crossings for pre-approved, low-risk travellers.
- US State Department
Information and requirements for US Citizens to enter Canada and return to the United States.
- International Peace Arch History & Timeline
The United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association
© 2013 Vicki Green