By: Elliott Smith
Peace Arch Park is a great location for cross-border business meetings. The park is actually two parks, joined together in the spirit of friendship and international cooperation. A Washington State Park forms the southern portion, while a British Columbia Provincial Park forms the northern portion.
Each portion of the park has a separate entrance and parking facility, but the combined international park is a unique free-travel zone. Visitors may enter from either country and visit the entirety of both parks without the need to clear customs or check in with border authorities, as long as they return to the side of the park and country from which they entered at the beginning of their visit.
This makes Peace Arch Park an outstanding location for joint US/Canadian business meetings. For those who lack proper border-crossing documents or want to avoid delays at the border, hosting a business meeting at Peace Arch Park can be an ideal solution. BC residents can enter the park from the BC side, Washington residents can enter the park from the Washington side, and a meeting can be held together at one of the indoor facilities in the park.
There are reservable indoor meeting spaces at Peace Arch Park. Among them is The American Kitchen, on the US side. It can be reserved by contacting Washington State Parks at (888) 226-7688 or through their online reservation system by selecting “Day Use Facilities” and then “Northwest Washington Parks” and choosing “Peace Arch Park – American Kitchen” from the results . The American Kitchen has an indoor capacity of 100, and can accommodate up to 400 when combined with outdoor grounds rental. 2013 reservation rates are $131 plus tax Sunday-Thursday, $294 plus tax Friday, Saturday and Holidays. A number of local caterers can provide food and refreshments for meetings at the American Kitchen, including Blue Tuesday Couture Catering and Fools Onion Catering.
The American Kitchen has electricity, but those planning business meetings at the facility should be prepared to bring their own laptop, projector and screen as tech support and rental of these items is not provided by the park. Visitors are also advised to bring and carry identification, as border authorities will on occasion ask park visitors to present their ID. Those entering from the US side should also be aware that a Washington State Parks Discover Pass is required to park in the US parking lot. A one day pass is $10, a yearly pass is $30. There is no fee for parking on the BC side of the park.
There is also a picnic shelter on the BC side.
According to the BC Parks website it can be reserved through their reservation system, however it is not presently listed among the reservable sites within that system, and a call by Trade Tips staff to the reservation customer service center confirmed it is not listed in the available facilities for reservation in BC Parks in 2013. A call to BC Parks management was not immediately returned, but Trade Tips will update this post if further information about the BC shelter is received from park management.
UPDATE: Trade Tips staff was able to confirm with Peace Arch Park management that the picnic shelter is available for rent on the BC side. It can be reserved only by phoning 604-541-1217 at a cost of $200 per day, with a $100 refundable damage deposit. The facility is available from April 1-October 31. Candle Light Cuisine Catering is one of several local caterers on the BC side that can provide food and beverages for meetings taking place in the BC Parks rental facility.
For business meetings that bring together people from BC and Washington, Peace Arch Park is a location that can’t be beat. Located, literally, on the border it’s a wonderful half-way point and a convenient option for getting together without worrying about border delays.
Trade Tips Blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc.
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