Adult delegation from Japan visits Stony Plain
An 11-member adult delegation from Shikaoi, Japan will experience Canadian and Stony Plain culture this spring, as part of the two communities’ international twinning program. The delegation arrives in Stony Plain on Wed., May 29 and will be in town until Tues., June 4.
“On behalf of my colleagues on Council and the people of Stony Plain, we extend a warm welcome to our Japanese guests and are proud to host them here,” says William Choy, mayor of Stony Plain. “The genuine bond between our two communities is worth celebrating; the Shikaoi residents visiting are not just visitors - they are our friends.”
The delegation is comprised of His Worship, Hiroshi Yoshida, mayor of Shikaoi, as well as several staff from the Japanese municipality. While this is not Yoshida's first-time in Stony Plain, he has never been here during the Stony Plain Farmers' Day and Kinsmen Rodeo Exhibition. On Sat., June 1, Yoshida will join Mayor Choy, other members of Town Council and The Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services; Minister for the Status of Women; Minister Responsible for Western Economic Diversification, Shared Services Canada; and Vice-Chair of the Treasury Board, in serving the community at the annual pancake breakfast.
The group’s week-long visit will kick off with a Welcome Party, hosted by Town Council and members of Town Administration. The delegation will participate in several tours while in Alberta - the Univ. of Alta; the Legislature (hosted by Ken Lemka, MLA for Stony Plain); Memorial Composite High School; the Town Office; Forest Green Elementary School; the Multicultural Heritage Centre; Westview Health Centre; and Historic Main Street in Downtown Stony Plain. The group will also take an overnight trip to Jasper and enjoy informal site-seeing and activities with residents of Stony Plain.
A highlight for the delegation is its attendance at Farmers' Day and spend at least one night hosted with Stony Plain residents. The trip wraps up with a farewell dinner, again hosted by Council and members of Town Administration.
Stony Plain and Shikaoi have been sister towns since 1985. Throughout the past 27 years, more than 1,500 residents from both towns have traveled to each others’ communities. These visits have strengthened the camaraderie between Stony Plain and Shikaoi, nurturing the friendships that have blossomed throughout the past more-than-quarter-decade. The two communities share much in common: both are proud of their strong agricultural roots; both celebrate their culture and heritage through annual festivals and events; and both cherish their past while embracing their future. A local adult delegation traveled to Shikaoi in May; a seven-member youth delegation embarked on a two-week trip in July.
About the Town of Shikaoi
Shikaoi is a located on the island of Hokkaido in the Kato District of Japan. In 2008, the Town had an estimated population of 5,723 (Source: Town of Shikaoi).
About the Stony Plain-Shikaoi Twinning Program
Stony Plain and Shikaoi have been sister towns since 1985. The international exchange program, which was launched in 1996, not only provides a perspective on one’s own culture, it also gives one a more profound understanding of his or her important role in the global community. The participants’ character is enhanced and their confidence expanded. They impact the world around them by embracing tolerance, accepting diversity and promoting cultural understanding.
The Japanese Twinning Program demonstrates the Town of Stony Plain’s commitment to cultural vitality, by preserving the town’s culture and heritage while strengthening its sense of connectedness by fostering community support, hospitality and harmony. Cultural Vitality is one of the four core values of the Community Sustainability Plan, which, in part, helps direct the Town in its decisions and actions.