City Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Twin City Relationship With Morioka, Japan

As Victoria Day draws near, the City is putting the final touches on activities to host delegates from Morioka, Japan as they arrive to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Twin City relationship with Victoria.

The City will host six official delegates from the City of Morioka, led by Mayor Hiroaki Tanifuji. Accompanying the official delegation are 50 citizens who have traveled to participate in the Twin City celebrations. Highlights of their four day stay include participation in the Victoria Day Parade, renewing of the twinning agreement on May 18, and installation of a Bell of Friendship on May 19 at Centennial Park. The bell is a gift from two Japanese patrons of the Morioka Victoria Friendship Society, to reflect the significant support and financial aid received from friends in Victoria at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011.

The original impetus to twinning of the cities developed after the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Nitobe, a widely respected Japanese diplomat and philosopher, who died in Victoria in 1933. Dr. Nitobe wished to serve as a bridge across the Pacific and it is in his spirit that the relationship is nurtured. He is highly revered in the town of his birth, Morioka, and throughout Japan. The Nitobe Garden, on the grounds of the Royal Jubilee Hospital, was created timed with the 20th anniversary, in 2005.

The signing of the twin city agreement with Morioka marked the beginning of a series of visits and exchanges, including numerous cultural and sporting exchanges, both official and private.

Twin City relations provide a vehicle for wide-ranging interactions between people at all levels of society, provide an environment through which communities creatively learn, work and solve problems, and create an atmosphere in which economic and community development is strengthened.

Victoria is Morioka’s only twin city and there are significant cultural and economic benefits associated with the relationship, including approximately three school visits to Victoria each year, school exchanges and homestay programs with School District 61, sports team exchanges such as hockey and curling, and promotion of tourism.

Everyone is invited to attend the unveiling ceremony for the Bell of Friendship at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19 at Centennial Park at Belleville and Pendray Streets (near the Victoria Clipper Terminal).