Mayor Rob Kirkham and Coun. Ron Sander were treated as honoured guests last week during 50th anniversary celebrations for Shimizu Town, Squamish's sister city in Japan.
Shimizu, population 32,000, is situated about an hour south of Tokyo. Sander, who returned from the journey on Monday (Nov. 11), wrote in an email to The Chief that in addition to the formal reception of business and community leaders to mark the , the pair attended a temple tea ceremony and a dinner at the private home of the owner of Kameya Food Corp.
Shimizu officials paid for the two Squamish leaders to visit Japan, while Sander said he paid for his partner's visit. During the 50th anniversary ceremony, Mayor Kirkham delivered a speech highlighting Squamish, Sander said.
Kirkham invited Shimuzu officials to visit Squamish in 2014 when the community is set to mark 50 years since the incorporation of the District of Squamish and 100 years since the name Squamish replaced the previous name, Newport.
Sander said the trip was a “great opportunity to discuss business, tourism, educational exchange and cultural opportunities.” In addition to meeting with government officials, they visited with those involved in international exchange programs and business leaders, and visited Mount Fuji and the Kakita River, which are both U.N. World Heritage Sites.
“Many many people I met are well acquainted with Squamish,” Sander wrote. “They truly value the relationship, the ones (well over 100) that have?come here really speak highly of our community and how they have been treated.
“I can't say enough how graciously we were treated while in Japan,” he added.