Despite international tensions between Canada and China, things on a municipal level are looking friendly.
In 2020 the City of Victoria will be celebrating its 40th anniversary as a twin city with Suzhou, China, a city in the lower Yangtze Valley known for its picturesque canals and old architecture, which earned it the nickname “Heaven on Earth.”
Victoria adopted Suzhou as a twin city on July 17, 1980, though the city has been involved in the Twin City Program with New Zealand since 1973. The idea behind the program is to promote international friendships, share ideas and strengthen economic ties.
“The Victoria-Suzhou sister city relationship is strong and long-standing with its 40th anniversary coming up in 2020,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement at the City of Victoria. “The relationship is supported primarily by our citizens participating in cultural, business and educational exchanges at the secondary and post-secondary levels.”
In December, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps met with the Consul General Tong Xiaoling from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China to discuss, among other things, plans for the 40th anniversary.
“It was a very positive meeting to discuss topics of mutual interest, including a potential of a future City-led trade mission to China to focus on business relations, education, tourism, and a lead up to the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship in 2020,” Eisenhauer said.
The City’s most recent trip to China was in 2018, which acted as a trade mission which included discussions between local businesses, the South Island Prosperity Project, Tourism Victoria (now Destination Greater Victoria), UVic and Camosun.
Victoria has three other twin cities: Napier, New Zealand which was adopted on March 18, 1973; Morioka, Japan, which was adopted in May 1985 and Khabarovsk, Russia adopted on May 25, 1988.
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