Tucked away on a sparsely populated prairie along the world’s longest undefended border, the International Peace Garden has been quietly celebrating 90 years of friendship between Canada and the United States.
Here the openness between the two countries becomes clear.
A small stream marks the boundary and people freely cross it and back again while strolling among gardens, ponds and monuments. It’s quiet enough to hear the gentle hum of bees among the flowers, some laid out in the shape of maple leaves or stars and stripes.
It is a pastoral framework largely aimed at thoughtful reflection.
“Peace is something we should always strive for, and what better way to contemplate and share it with people than in a garden,” says Tim Chapman, the garden’s executive director.
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The garden, founded in 1932, was founded by Dr. Henry Moore of Islington, Ontario and was widely expected to be located in that province. But the National Association of Gardeners decided it should be near the geographic center of North America – Rugby, ND
It is located in the Turtle Mountains, a lush area of rolling hills a 20-minute drive from the nearest small communities on either side of the border. Surrounded by forests and lakes, there are 80,000 flowering annuals and perennials, many of which can be seen in a sweeping view from a platform above a fountain.
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A cairn at the entrance, erected between the world wars, obliges the two countries not to take up arms against each other. It is flanked by Canadian and US flags.
There is a “Friendship Rock” originally from England that is right on the 49th parallel. There is a bell tower that chimes every 15 minutes, momentarily interrupting the silence. And there’s a small conference center with inspirational quotes written on limestone walls.
A more recent exhibit shows damaged beams from the World Trade Center, which was the target of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. The straps are partly a tribute to Canada-US cooperation in the wake of the attack.
“Being here in the garden helps people think. You know, unfortunately, in the absence of greater dialogue and thoughts of cooperation and peace, some really bad things can happen in the world,” Chapman said.
The 90th anniversary celebrations include a weekend of historical exhibitions and cultural performances on July 30th and 31st, as well as a 1930s-style dinner.
Leaving the gardens is a reminder of contemporary reality. Canadians and Americans do not need to officially enter the other country to visit the gardens, but must return through their respective border checkpoints located nearby on either side of the exit.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/9008503/international-peace-garden-manitoba-north-dakota/ International Peace Garden celebrates 90 years of green, calm and reflection – Winnipeg