Mayor Susan Johnston opens a gift from Mayor Yutaka Kikuchi of Izu

Hope’s sister city visits

The mayor from Izu, Japan joined 19 students this week

Local families hosted 19 students from Hope’s sister city of Izu, Japan this week.

They spent their time here skating at Hope Arena, picnicking at Othello Tunnels and visiting Hell’s Gate. The trip marks the first time many of the students have been to Canada.

“Much effort and detail is put into ensuring our guests have the most memorable and meaningful Canadian experience with our wonderful host families that is not only culturally enriching, but also to enable friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Lori Izawa, sister city coordinator and cultural liaison.

Council, district staff and RCMP members welcomed the group during a special ceremony on Monday night. Mayor Yutaka Kikuchi and several other officials from Izu were also in attendance.

“We’re so privileged and honoured to have you in our community,” said Mayor Susan Johnston on Monday.

“I have no doubt that you’ll find the hospitality in this community exemplary and I’m sure that this will be a memorable time for you here. We’re delighted to have you as our sister city and anything that we can do to make that relationship better, just speak and we’ll listen.”

Hope has hosted hundreds of junior high school students from Izu since the exchange program started in 1995.

Kikuchi said the program has been and will continue to be a priority for his city.