In 1996 Mayor Don Cameron of Summerland and Mayor Satoshi Nagase of Toyokoro, Japan signed the agreement between Summerland and Toyokoro for our two communities to become Sister Cities.
Twenty years later this relationship is continuing to grow and evolve with people retiring and people coming on board to support this wonderful relationship.
Since the signing of the agreement hundreds of people have done the cultural exchange between our communities.
Students and adults from Toyokoro have come to our community to meet our people to experience Canadian culture, Summerland businesses, products and to build relationships that have become the solid foundation that is our Sister City today.
Darlene Forsdick has been an integral part of this relationship ensuring that the Committee keep this relationship strong.
Forsdick and Lorrie Forde with the help of many hosted the delegation visits whether it be students or adults.
There are a great number of people who have participated in these visits from home stay families, to Sister City Committee members who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful visit.
They have also helped with the AET placement in Toyokoro where a Summerland resident has moved to Japan to be the Assistant English Teacher in their school system.
The other piece is the delegation visits to Toyokoro every three years.
A large group of approximately 20 people travel together and experience everything that our Sister City has to offer.
In that group are representatives from Council, our Summerland Royalty and others with connection to Summerland and our Sister City Committee.
In 2016 we were fortunate enough to have two exchanges within a couple of months.
In August we had nine students and two adults come to Summerland for five days.
Then in September our delegation of 21 visited Toyokoro to share in our 20-year anniversary.
We would like to thank Darlene Forsdick and Lorrie Forde for their years of dedication to the Sister City Committee and your new committee looks forward to growing this relationship for the next 20 years.
Leanne Sieben is chair of the Summerland Sister City Committee.