Situated in the Turtle Mountains on the international border between Canada and the United States, in the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba is The International Peace Garden. It was established on July 14, 1932 and it is a tribute and a promise to peace and friendship between the people of both nations.
A cairn was the only boundary marker when the Garden was dedicated in July of 1932. The cairn was built of stones gathered by children from North Dakota and Manitoba and its inscription is a “promise”.
The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the Interpretive Center is a new acquisition. The six-foot-tall, polished stainless steel sculpture depicts a set of hands releasing a dove. Art Norby, a New London artist in his 70s, was commissioned to sculpt this piece. It is amazing and it is so fitting for it to be in this place. Norby also sculpted the Korean War Memorial in St. Paul.
The year-round Interpretive Center houses a restaurant, gift shop and a small horticulture library. The big surprise within the center is a 3,000 square foot conservatory that has over 6,000 specimens of succulents and cacti. The 40 year old collection was donated by Don Vitko of Minot ND and it is spectacular.
The high point of the park is the Peace Tower. It straddles the international border with two towers in Canada and two towers in the United States. The Tower can be seen from every vantage point in the park. Standing 120 feet high the Peace Tower symbolizes “the soaring ambitions of the early immigrants arriving from the four corners of the world to Canada and the United States in the 1800s and 1900s.”
Unfortunately the Peace Tower is deteriorating and is slated to come down very soon and replaced with another monument. It appears they have not decided what they type of sculpture will replace it.
The Cairn, the Peace Tower and the hand releasing the dove sculpture tug at your heart strings when you think about the symbolism. You hope that one day we will have peace among all nations. But it is the Peace Chapel that gives you pause and makes you wonder what you can do to promote world peace. The Peace Chapel is the only building in the garden that sits on both sides of the border. It is very simple with benches where you can sit and rest, say a prayer and reflect on the your life and world we live in.
The unique feature of this chapel and what makes it so meaningful are the 100+ “Peace” quotes that are etched into the fossil embellished limestone walls.
You won’t want to miss seeing the Carillon Bell Tower and the 9/11 monument. Every fifteen minutes and on the hour, 14 bells ring out from the Carillon Bell Tower. The bells ere a gift from the Central United Church of Brandon, Manitoba and the tower was given by the North Dakota Veterans. The 9/11 Monument was designed with twisted steel from the World Trade Center.
The North American Game Warden Museum in the Garden was temporarily located in the International Peace Garden in the 1990s and in 2005 it was decided that would be its permanent placement. Sponsored by the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers it not only is a monument paying tribute to conservationists and Game Wardens in Canada and the United States, but it is a wonderful education center.
Approximately 2500 flowers make up this 13 foot working clock! It’s pretty amazing and certainly very beautiful.
The International Peace Garden is so much more than beautiful flowers. It is a peaceful garden and it is about friendship, it is about peace and it is about a promise between two nations. How wonderful it would be if the friendship that exists between the United States and Canada, the second and fourth largest countries in the world, could exist between all countries.
A walk through the International Peace Garden!
TRAVEL SAFE AND MAY PEACE BE WITH YOU!