Canadian and U.S. residents are still meeting at Peace Arch Park and it’s all because of a 200-year-old loophole.
The location of the Canada-U.S. border entry is also the home to a national park, while acting as a meeting place for loved ones separated by the border.
The border has been closed since March, but after seeing a spike in visitors, the government ordered Peace Arch Park to close as well. However, the U.S. side of the park never closed.
“Anybody can access on the American side the Peace Arch Park and Canadians can access the American side on 0 Avenue,” U.S. immigration lawyer, Len Saunders, told Global News. “As long as the Canadian citizens don’t go farther south than the grassed area, they can meet with relatives, they can walk their dogs, they can enjoy the park, there’s absolutely no restrictions.”
This loophole comes from the Treaty of Ghent, signed in 1814 in modern-day Belgium. The law basically said neither the Canadian or U.S. side can put up any barriers within 10 feet of the border.
“So Canadians, even if they wanted to stop Canadians from entering the U.S. side of the Peace Arch Park on 0 Avenue, they’re legally unable to,” said Saunders. “So (the B.C. government’s) hands are tied.”
While many places are opening back up for travel, the Canada-U.S. border remains closed until at least July 21st.
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