A re-dedication ceremony of the stone Toro Lantern was held at the Summerland Health Centre on Thursday.
Among those attending the celebration were members of the Japanese Canadian community of Summerland and the delegation visiting from our Sister City, Toyokoro, Japan.
The Toro Lantern has graced the grounds of the Health Centre (former Hospital) since 1967. It was gifted to the District of Summerland by the Japanese Canadian community living here at that time. Not only was it given to help celebrate Canada’s Centennial but it was also a way for them to say thank you. During WWII Summerland stood behind their Japanese Canadian citizens and did not send them to the internment camps.
“No matter how many years later, it is always important to remember what happened during WWII and give thanks for the blessings we have today” Mayor Janice Perrino told those gathered. “Taking care of our citizens was basic for Summerland and their thanks to this community in return was extraordinary.”
Thanking those in attendance for coming Carla McGregor, Administrative Support Services Coordinator of the Summerland Health Centre said,
“Thank you also for helping us Canadian citizens to become a country who values the cultures of other nations.”
Inviting everyone to hold hands during the re-dedication ceremony, Lori Motluk, from Interior Health said that, “today our community is a global one.”
“The story behind the lantern is one of community and of people caring and coming together during difficult times,” she said.
Mayor Perrino and Mayor Miyaguchi of Toyokoro together planted a tree near the lantern. In doing so they symbolized the importance of recognizing the value and the rights of all members in the community.
Following the ceremony, the visiting delegates from Toyokoro had the opportunity to meet the Japanese Canadian residents of Summerland, at a tea that was hosted by Interior Health.