Members of an organization dedicated to the heritage and preservation of the Peace Arch and its parks are fundraising to celebrate the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border with a new ‘Winter Lights’ program.
Christina Winkler, with the Blaine-based International Peace Arch Association, said Tuesday (Dec. 7) that the initial goal is raise enough money – US$4,500 – to light up all of the “gigantic” hedges around the arch with commercial LED lights through the rest of December and January, and then continue to work towards expanding the program’s scope.
“Hopefully in the years to come, we can do more,” Winkler said, citing a broader hope to eventually wrap the parks’ trees with lights, as well as install LED flags for each country.
“It would be fabulous to see the trees wrapped. It would be truly amazing and a beautiful sight for all of us to see.
“And as far as the park’s history goes, considering the treaty (of Ghent) was signed on Christmas Eve, for some people, that may even make it more special.”
The monument turned 100 in September, following its dedication as the world’s first such cross-border structure on Sept. 6, 1921.
Winkler said work to launch an annual Winter Lights program got underway a month ago – although the idea itself started to twinkle several years back, as part of plans to create a centennial experience – but was put on the back burner in the wake of flooding events that wreaked havoc on both sides of the border.
The past year, she noted, “certainly has been an interesting time.”
“I never would have imagined that the border would have closed, and I don’t think anybody did,” Winkler said. “This (Winter Lights initiative) is a great way for us to come together and celebrate it.”
She is hopeful that the first glow of the lights will be seen early next week, and said that approvals have been given by both American and Canadian parks officials.
With the Canadian side of Peace Arch Park closed since June 2020 – although B.C. government officials have said options for re-opening the park “at the earliest opportunity” are being considered – Winkler said taking the lights in will be more a “drive-by experience, much like the Peace Arch itself.”
She noted that donations collected by midnight Thursday (Dec. 9) will be matched, up to US$1,200.
To donate or for more information, visit peacearchpark.org
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