This Sister City Agreement was presented to the City of Port Alberni by the Port Alberni Twinning Society on Nov. 22, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

This Sister City Agreement was presented to the City of Port Alberni by the Port Alberni Twinning Society on Nov. 22, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni and Abashiri, Japan mark 35 years of sisterhood

The sister city relationship began in February 1986

Port Alberni’s Twinning Society is celebrating 35 years of friendship with Port Alberni’s Sister City, Abashiri, Japan.

The sister city relationship began in February 1986 when a group from Port Alberni—including the late Gillian Trumper, who was mayor at the time—visited Abashiri and signed the Sister City Agreement. The first student delegation from Abashiri—a group of 77 students and teachers—visited Port Alberni for the first time in March of 1986.

Since then, said Dave Grant of the Twinning Society, there have been 19 student delegations from Abashiri (more than 400 students) and 11 from Port Alberni (more than 200 students).

Abashiri will be marking the 35th anniversary with “Port Alberni Week” in December, along with an exhibition at Abashiri’s Echo Centre, and Grant said he would like to see something similar in Port Alberni.

Grant and fellow Twinning Society member Laurie Money visited city council on Nov. 22 to ask for some kind of commemorative event in 2022. Grant also said he would like to see a Japanese garden built down at Harbour Quay, near the totem pole that acknowledges the sister city relationship. Abashiri currently has a “Port Alberni garden” that was established in 2010.

Grant and Money presented three historical documents to Mayor Sharie Minions: the original twinning accord from 1986 and two reaffirmation documents. These used to be on display at city hall, but were removed during a renovation a few years ago and placed into storage.

“We have been the custodians of these for many years,” said Grant. “I can’t think of a more appropriate time to return them to the City of Port Alberni than in commemoration of 35 years of sistership.”

Minions said city council is currently working on a letter to send to Abashiri.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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