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Lengthy pandemic closure finally over for B.C. park straddling Washington border

Peace Arch Provincial Park rare spot where Americans and Canadians can meet without crossing border

One of British Columbia’s last remaining COVID-19 closures has finally been lifted.

Peace Arch Provincial Park, the nine-hectare park that straddles the B.C.-Washington state border south of Vancouver, reopened Monday after being closed more than two years ago amid pandemic-related border closures.

A statement posted by BC Parks says it has been working with the local First Nation, Canadian Border Services Agency, RCMP and other agencies “to ensure the reopening of the park occurs in a safe and respectful manner.”

The Environment Ministry, which is responsible for BC Parks, had said reopening the Canadian side of Peace Arch Park was a priority, but that the park’s “open nature” was making it difficult to ensure visitors were honouring border regulations.

The park is unique in North America as the only one where people from Canada and the United States can meet without crossing a border.

U.S. officials kept the Washington side of the park open throughout the pandemic, and it became a hugely popular gathering spot for families and loved ones separated by the border closure, raising concerns in B.C. about large gatherings of unvaccinated people.

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Tourists, including many wearing protective face masks, walk from a tour bus to Peace Arch Provincial Park at the Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, March 16, 2020. One of British Columbia’s last remaining COVID-19 closures has finally been lifted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck