The International Peace Garden with Charlie Thomsen

When was the last time you went to the International Peace Garden or even thought about the fact that this one-of-a-kind garden straddles the border between Canada and the United States near Boissevain? Today, current chair of the board, Dorothy Dobbie, and former Chair (and awardee of a Manitoba 150 medal) Charlie Thomsen, take you on a journey of discovery into how the garden came to be and how it looks now.

We learn of the 1928 dream of a creative horticulturist, Dr. Henry Moore, and how that dream became a reality under the leadership of far-seeing folks like himself and others such as Lady Eaton and Mrs. Henry Ford. The Garden was to be a lasting symbol of peace between two nations who share the world’s longest undefended border and to set an example for the world.

We hear how 50,000 people crossed the sparsely populated prairie by horse and buggy, on foot and in Model T’s to take part in this historic event. Imagine! There were ball tournaments, picnics and even a Canada-US tug of war to mark the occasion.

Charlie traces the development of the garden from history books but also from his 50 years of observation starting in the early 70’s when he first saw the garden and then to the time when he got involved in its planning and eventually came on the board and ultimately became president and chair until today when he and his wife Roine are co-chairing a fundraising campaign along with former chair Ty Lananger and his wife Rita from North Dakota.

 A lot has changed.

Today, our International Peace Garden is one of the five most prominent and beautiful gardens in Canada as commemorated on a stamp several years ago and which will be celebrated again this coming year, 2022, as the front cover of a new book on Canada’s public gardens produced to commemorate the Year of the Garden 2022 in Canada.

It is a fascinating story. Great for listening to as you make your way to the Peace Garden this coming spring to see its beauty and the new elements that have been added thanks to a recent joint gift from Manitoba and North Dakota.

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