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July 4 St. Mary's Georgia Peace Garden Dedication Extends Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail to Southern U.S.

July 4 St. Mary's Georgia Peace Garden Dedication Extends Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail to Southern U.S.

Courtesy of Alex Kearns, St. Mary's Peace Garden

Buffalo/Niagara/Georgia -- On Wednesday, July 4, dignitaries from Canada and the U.S. joined community leaders in St. Mary's Georgia to dedicate their 1812 Binational Heritage Peace Garden. St. Mary's Garden will be the 10th of 23 Canadian and U.S. Peace Gardens that make up the new Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail: a special initiative to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and 200 years of peace between Canada and the U.S.

St. Mary's is Georgia's southernmost coastal city, and is the first Binational Peace Garden to be located beyond the Southern Great Lakes. This community has many binational stories to share, from its Acadian history to the War of 1812 Battle of Point Peter that took place between January 11 and 15, 1815.

The garden, originally the St. Mary's EarthKeepers Memory Garden, is situated next to historic Oak Grove Cemetery. It was dedicated at 1 p.m. with a number of guests including Binational Alliance Executive Director Arlene White from Niagara, Canada, Robert Pengelly, Consul from the Canadian Consulate General in Atlanta, State Representative Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, Civic, Business and Tourism Leaders, and a Navy Color Guard. Both countries' national anthems will be sung, and permanent signage for the garden will be unveiled.

According to Alex Kearns, Chair of the St. Mary's EarthKeepers and coordinator of the St. Mary's Peace Garden project "This effort represents a wonderful economic and tourism opportunity for all of the communities involved. St. Mary's has a deep connection to Canada through our history and our tourists and we celebrate this chance to further strengthen those ties by celebrating 200 years of mutual peace and cooperation between nations."

Beyond the Binational Peace Garden Trail, St. Mary's Peace Garden is also paired with one in Fort Erie, Ontario, located along the Niagara River, at the mouth of Lake Erie, and the site of some of the most significant battles of the War of 1812. Old Fort Erie, one of Canada's historic sites operated by the Niagara Parks Commission, dedicated their Peace Garden on June 29 at the launch of the 26th Annual Binational Friendship Festival, with recognition of the special sister city relationship that has come about as a result of the Peace Garden initiative.

"The 1812 Bicentennial was definitely the catalyst for this project. When we began in 2008, we had no idea how many communities would be interested in creating peace gardens or if we would have enough gardens to make a trail. But by 2010 the initiative had grown beyond the binational Niagara Region to communities across the Southern Great Lakes. With the inclusion of St. Mary's, we have far exceeded our initial vision, and now anticipate more peace gardens along the Eastern seaboard and new opportunities to demonstrate our shared history and the many trade and tourism connections we have binationally throughout the U.S. and Canada", advises Arlene White, Executive Director of the Binational Alliance, and Project Lead for this initiative. "We expect more than 60 bicentennial themed gardens will be launched by 2014, and we will continue to work with binational communities to create new peace gardens with a variety of binational peace themes in 2015 and beyond."

Other Peace Gardens being dedicated on the trail this year include:

May 27 Victor, NY

June 1 Burt, NY

June 15 Leamington, ON

June 16 Grimsby, ON, Sacket's Harbor, NY

June 21 Tecumseh, ON

June 29 Fort Erie, ON

June 29 Youngstown, NY

July 19 Windsor, ON

July 20 Colchester, ON

July 22 Lancaster, NY

Aug 9 Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Aug (tbd) Lewiston, NY

Aug 26 Black Rock, Buffalo, NY

Sept 1 Winery, Colchester, ON

Sept 8 Olde Sandwich Towne, Windsor, ON

Sept 15 Kingsville, ON

Sept 22 Botanical Gardens, Buffalo NY

Sept (tbd) Niagara University, NY

Sept (tbd) Thamesville, ON

Oct 13 Amherstburg, ON -- 2 sites

Go to www.binationalheritagepeacegardentrail.com to learn more about this legacy project.

For More Information:

Buffalo/Niagara Falls, Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail

Arlene White Executive Director Binational Alliance

Tel: 905-401-4450

Email: arlene.white@btapartners.com

St. Mary's Peace Garden

Alex Kearns, Project Lead, St. Mary's EarthKeepers

Tel: 912-322-7367

Email: alexkearns1@msn.com


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