Peace Arch park closure hasn't stopped families from meeting
SURREY, B.C. -- Peace Arch Provincial Park is now closed – but that hasn't stopped families separated on either side of the Canada-U.S. border from using the park to meet face to face.
U.S. authorities have kept the American portion of the park open for U.S. citizens, and on Saturday a number of families were seen greeting each other across the ditch that separates the park and 0 Avenue on the Canadian side.
The border between the United States and Canada remains closed to non-essential travel as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Families were meeting at Peace Arch park, but overcrowding and parking problems prompted Canadian authorities to close the park starting at 8 p.m. Thursday night.
Mike Van Voorhis lives in Sunset Beach, California and flew into Seattle before driving the rest of the way to the park with his son. They came to meet Mike’s daughter, Dana who moved to Vancouver in February.
“I wanted to see her at the earliest convenience and Father’s Day seemed to have the right ring to it,” Van Voorhis said. “This is one of the best Father’s Days … we had to try so hard to get together.”
U.S. rangers were patrolling the park, one seen telling a group that any Canadians there could face fines and a 14-day quarantine if spotted by RCMP officers.
CTV News reached out to Surrey RCMP about possible fines, but were directed to speak to the Canadian Border Services Agency. In a statement, CBSA said “The Peace Arch Provincial Park is not a designated port of entry and as such, the CBSA is not responsible for oversight in the Park. Please refer to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who are responsible for monitoring any areas along the international border.”