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Celebrating over 40 years with Sister City Katano Representatives

VIDEO: In a world troubled by increased tensions for many reasons, an exercise in peace and true friendship was on full display in Collingwood on Friday September 15th.

A celebration was underway to highlight the twin city relationship between Collingwood and Katano Japan that began in 1981 and continues to grow. Members of the original Sister City Committee were in attendance including Gord Norris, Cathy deRuiter and former Collingwood Mayor Ron Emo.

In November 2019, a Collingwood delegation of about 20 people that included Mayor Brian Saunderson, visited Katano and other towns and cities in Japan.

On this special day, a delegation of 27 people made the return visit to Collingwood. Saunderson, the former Mayor and now Simcoe-Grey MPP, said it had been unfortunate COVID-19 delayed their return visit. “It has been too long and it is great to see you all again” Saunderson said in extending greetings from the Province and residents of Simcoe-Grey to the Katano visitors that included Mayor Yamamoto at the 40th anniversary luncheon celebrating the Collingwood – Collingwood-Katano Sister City relationship.

When MPP Saunderson visited Katano as Mayor in 2019, he presented city officials with an original painting of the Nottawasaga Lighthouse on behalf of the citizens of Collingwood.

“This relationship is a lighthouse for us, and one of the striking memories I have of being in your country was on Remembrance Day, being in Hiroshima, and being in the park, and really understanding where this relationship comes from” he said. “There is so much more that unites us in this world, regardless of our race, our creed, and our religion, than divides us. To me, that really is what this relationship is all about. It’s about building international community. It’s about bringing our communities together and sharing the spirit and camaraderie that allows us to make lasting relationships.”

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson presented Katano City Officials with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Province of Ontario and residents of Simcoe-Grey
Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson presented the long-time Sister Cities committee members with a certificate of appreciation
Collingwood Mayor Hamlin – Katano Mayor Yamamoto
Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson speaking to the group at the Katano – Collingwood Sister Cities luncheon

Following the luncheon at the Collingwood Curling Club, the entire group made its way to Friendship Gardens for a flag raising ceremony and an incredible group photo.