The Panama Canal opened in 1914, so San Diego decided to throw a party and now Balboa Park is celebrating that party 100 years later.
France had made an initial attempt to build a sea level canal, but that attempt failed after a great amount of excavation was carried out. The United States completed the Canal in 1913 and it officially opened in 1914. Today the Panama Canal continues to be a viable commercial venture and a vital link in world shipping.
Because of the opening of the Panama Canal, the Panama California Exposition was held in Balboa Park in San Diego, CA from January 1, 1915 to January 1, 1917. The exposition was meant to tout San Diego as the first United States port of call for ships traveling north after passing westward through the Canal. Four million visitors went through the expo gates and showed San Diego to the world.