B.C.’s Peace Arch Park finally reopens after more than 2 years

Click to play video: 'Peach Arch Park to remain closed despite end of border restrictions'
Peach Arch Park to remain closed despite end of border restrictions
WATCH: More than two and a half years after it was closed as part of B.C.'s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no timeline to reopen the Canadian side of Peace Arch Park. As Paul Johnson reports, parking and access issues with the Semiahmoo First Nation have not been resolved. – Sep 29, 2022

A unique, border-straddling park on the boundary between British Columbia and Washington state has finally reopened, more than two years after being closed due to COVID-19.

Peace Arch Park is the only place in North America where people from both Canada and the U.S. can gather without crossing the border.

Despite the words etched into the white arch that gives the park its name — “May these gates never be closed” — the Canadian portion of the park has been off limits since June 18, 2020.

While the American portion of the park has remained open through most of the pandemic, Canadian officials closed the B.C. side due to concerns about the virus amid a surge in visitors.

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But the lifting of virtually all COVID-19 border restriction since September prompted questions from experts and the public about why the park remained closed.

Click to play video: 'Cross-border visits cut off at Peace Arch Park'
Cross-border visits cut off at Peace Arch Park

That changed on Monday, when BC Parks reopened the park to visitors.

“BC Parks has been working in collaboration with Semiahmoo First Nation, the Canadian Border Services Agency and several other entities on reopening plans,” the Ministry of Environment said in a statement.

“The open nature of the Peace Arch Park made it challenging to ensure visitors were meeting border entry requirements, which is why the park remained closed for an extended length of time.”

The reopening of the park is expected to be good news for residents of nearby Zero Avenue.

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Those residents have complained about traffic and parking from people visiting the American side of the park, which is only accessible by hopping over a ditch next to the residential street.

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