city Hall - council

Sister City


City Sister

The City of Abbotsford currently has one official Sister City Relationship with the City of Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan (“Fukagawa”); this relationship was formalized in 1998.  The opportunity to increase the City of Abbotsford’s Sister

City relationships is continually considered and investigated.

For more information, please email cityclerk@abbotsford.ca

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Fukagawa

Fukagawa (Fukagawa-shi) is a city located in Sorachi, Hokkaidō, Japan. As of 2008, the city has an estimated population of 24,448 and the density of 50.36 persons per km². The total area is 529.12 km². The city was founded on May 1, 1963.

Hokkaido was the last refuge of the Ainu people. Most place names are of Ainu origin, but few people speak the old Ainu language. After World War I, the Japanese Government encouraged farmers to settle in Hokkaido. Most of those early settlements failed due in part to their isolation and reliance on outmoded wet-rice cultivation practices. Abandoned farmhouses can still be seen in the uncultivated areas of the countryside.

Hokkaido’s climate can be compared to most of Canada. July and August are generally mild with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the mid to high 20s. September and October are the autumn months; however; leaves start to turn colour in late August at the higher elevations. November and December are early winter with temperatures around freezing levels and snow. January and February bring snow that stays on the ground until late March or early April when temperatures rise above zero. May and June is Spring: variable weather; windy; frequent rain; and the cherry blossom season.

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Fukagawa Delegations

Abbotsford-Fukagawa Timeline

Official Delegation from Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan – August 4 to 9, 2013

The delegation from Fukagawa, Japan, arrived in Abbotsford, late Sunday, August 4. 2013. On Monday, August 5th, the Delegation was greeted by Bill Flitton, Director, Legislative Services/City Clerk, and Sherry Davis, Manager, Legislative Services, and began their visit with a tour of Agrifair, followed by an informal dinner in the evening.

A tour of Abbotsford’s Community Garden occurred on Tuesday morning, followed by visits to the Animal Health Centre and Research Facility, Lally Farms and a Jointly Hosted Dinner at the Ramada.

The Delegates’ next two days were spent with visits to many facilities, including: the University of the Fraser Valley, Maan Farms, Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, Vanderpol Food Group, Historic Downtown Abbotsford, Rossdown Farms, and a tour of the new High Street Development.

The Delegation also had an opportunity to meet up with visiting students from Fukagawa at the International Friendship Garden, where the students performed for their visiting dignitaries and other guests. The Meet and Greet, along with other hosted lunches and dinners, gave the Delegation further opportunity to gather and exchange information with individuals from both the public and private sectors.

Official Delegation to Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan – August 18 to 22, 2010

The delegation from Abbotsford arrived in Fukagawa, Japan, late Wednesday, August 18, 2010, and was greeted by Mayor Yamashita at the Plaza Hotel Itakura. Thursday morning began with a visit to the Culture Centre, followed by hosted lunch. The delegation toured Fukagawa City Hall, and the Fukagawa Shrine. That evening, the delegation attended a Welcome Dinner, hosted by the City of Fukagawa.

On Friday morning, the delegation started their day with a visit to three levels of schooling: elementary; junior and high school, and enjoyed lunch in the classrooms with the students. Following the school visits, the delegation toured public facilities, agricultural facilities, a rice store house, and finally the Toakushoku University Hokkaido Junior College. A free evening was spent at the Fukagawa Shrine Fair, which gave delegates an opportunity to interact with the locals.

The delegates’ next two days were spent visiting the Asahiyama Zoo; Yukara Textile; and Otokoyama Sake Museum; Totoro Pass and Highway Station; as well as a Memorial Tree planting at Rose Garden; and Buckwheat Noodle cooking.

A BBQ, hosted by the Fukagawa International Friendship Society, and a Farewell Dinner, hosted by the City of Abbotsford, gave delegates an opportunity to meet with key individuals of Fukagawa’s agricultural, commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

Official Delegation from Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan – August 3-9, 2008

The delegation from Fukagawa, Japan, arrived in Abbotsford, the morning of Sunday, August 3. On Monday, August 4th, the delegation was greeted by Mayor George Ferguson and Bill Flitton, Acting Director of Administration and Corporate Planning at Abbotsford City Hall. Monday began with a visit to Agrifair, followed by a welcoming dinner at the Ramada Inn. A City facilities tour of Abbotsford City Hall occurred on Tuesday, which included a trip to the International Friendship Garden, Cultural Centre and the new Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre.

The next three days were filled with visits to many facilities, including: the Fraser Valley Japanese School, University of the Fraser Valley campus, Howard Wong Farms, Lotusland Vineyards, and Abbotsford International Airshow. At each of these stops, the delegates met with numerous citizens and students, and exchanged information regarding cultural differences. A dinner hosted by the City of Abbotsford and the Sister City Committee gave delegates an opportunity to meet with key individuals of Abbotsford’s agricultural, commercial, industrial, educational and public sectors.

Official Delegation from Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan – July 14 to 19, 2004

The delegation from Fukagawa, Japan, arrived in Abbotsford, the morning of Thursday, July 14, and was greeted by Mayor Mary Reeves and Toireasa Strong, Director of Administration and Corporate Planning at Abbotsford City Hall. Thursday began with City facilities tour of Abbotsford City Hall, and a visit to Fort Langley, BC followed. The delegates attended a welcome meal with BC Summer Games athletes, followed by the Opening Ceremonies and a Provincial Government Reception held at Rotary Stadium.

The next three days were filled with visits to many agricultural facilities, including a winery tour, a poultry industry presentation, Abbotsford Farm and Country Market, sporting events, the BC Summer Games. At each of these stops, the delegates met with numerous citizens and students and exchanged information regarding cultural differences. A dinner hosted by the City of Abbotsford, Sister City Committee, University College of the Fraser Valley, and Abbotsford School District #34 gave delegates an opportunity to meet with key individuals of Abbotsford’s agricultural, commercial, industrial, educational and public sectors.

Official Delegation to Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan – August 30 to September 8, 2006.

The delegation from Abbotsford arrived in Fukagawa, Japan, late Thursday, August 30, and was greeted by Mayor Kawano, Chairperson Kawanaka and Vice Mayor Nohara at Plaza Hotel Itakura.

Friday morning began with a visit to Fukagawa City Hall for a City facilities tour, followed by lunch with Mayor Kawano. The delegation toured Takushoku University, as well as, Elementary, Junior High and High Schools and met with students interested in exchange opportunities.

The delegates’ days were filled with visits to Mt. Otoe, the new General Hospital, General Sport Center, Fukagawa Highway Station, Hokkaido Youth House, Coop harvesting, and Fire Station. At each of these stops, the delegates met with numerous citizens and students and exchanged information regarding cultural differences. Members attended a lecture, given by Chief of the City of Sapporo, regarding the issue of homelessness.

A BBQ hosted by the Fukagawa International Friendship Society and a farewell dinner hosted by the City of Abbotsford, gave delegates an opportunity to meet with key individuals of Fukagawa’s agricultural, commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

Chor Memu Delegation - November 21 - 24, 2003

The Valley Festival Singers hosted an exchange with Chor Memu, a 30-member choir from Abbotsford's Sister City, Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan. Founded in 1967, Chor Memu is the only amateur mixed chorus in Fukagawa. A common love for chorale music unites this diverse group which included homemakers, farmers, teachers, merchants, businessmen, and retirees between the ages of 20 and 70.

Members of the Valley Festival Singers provided homestay for Chor Memu, which experienced Canadian culture. While in Abbotsford, members of Chor Memu attended a welcome luncheon hosted by the city of Abbotsford, and performed concerts at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, Dormick Park Elementary School, and Maplewood House.

Official Delegation to Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan - May 8 to 15, 2002

The delegation from Abbotsford arrived in Fukagawa, Japan, late Thursday, May 9, 2002, and was greeted by Mayor Kawano and Vice-Mayor Esashi at Hotel Plaza Itakura. Friday morning began with a visit to Fukagawa City Hall for an information session on Japanese governance models, followed by the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Sister City relationship between Abbotsford and Fukagawa. The wording on the plaque is the same as that on the Sister City plaque unveiled in the Abbotsford Civic Plaza on August 8, 2002.

Following the unveiling of the plaque, the delegation toured the classrooms and facilities of Takushoku University and met with students interested in exchange opportunities. After lunch, the delegation visited the City's cultural and sport facilities during tours of the local museum, library, cultural centre, swimming pool, and Toshu Ogawa Calligraphy Art Museum.

During a visit to the new swimming pool, the delegates learned about the funding, construction, and operation of Fukagawa's newest facility A welcome dinner, hosted by the City of Fukagawa, gave delegates an opportunity to meet with key individuals of Fukagawa's agricultural, commercial, industrial, and public sectors.

The next three days were filled with visits to many civic and cultural facilities, including the Hokkaido Youth House, St. Margarete Church, Kohyoukann Art Gallery, Maruyama Temple, Ookuni Shrine, Fukagawa Elementary School, Fukagawa School Lunch Centre, and Ichian Junior High School. At each of these stops, the delegates met with numerous citizens and students and exchange information regarding cultural differences.

Fukagawa Delegation - August 7 to 12, 2000

The delegation from Fukagawa, Japan, arrived in Abbotsford, the morning of Monday, August 7, 2000, and was greeted by Mayor George Ferguson and Toireasa Strong, Director of Administration and Corporate Planning. Highlights from the delegation include: Lunch and tour of Agrifair with President Harry De Jong; Tree planting ceremony with Mayor & Council, Sister City Committee, Canada Japan Friendship Association in the Civic Plaza.

The delegation also enjoyed many Agriculture / Industry and Civic facility tours, with stops at: Fraser Valley Packers; Matsqui Recreation Centre; Abbotsford Agricultural Centre; Birchwood Dairy; Career Technical Centre; Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery; and, a flight over the Fraser Valley from the Abbotsford Airport.

The Fukagawa delegation enjoyed several receptions in their honor, including: Lunch at Agrifair in the VIP Hospitality Lounge with the Agrifair Board of Directors, Mayor and Council; Welcome dinner at Club Villa Restaurant with Mayor and Council; Reception with the Canada Japan Friendship Association and Sister City Committee; Lunch / Tour of University College of the Fraser Valley; and, Reception with Fukagawa exchange students and host families, including dinner, awards and performance by the students.

The Purpose of The Twinning of the City of Abbotsford and the City of Fukagawa is to effectively and continuously promote exchange in all areas of culture, education, and economics.

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Fukagawa History Report

The Memorandum for the Twinning of Fukagawa City, Hokkaido, Japan, and the City of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, was signed in Abbotsford, on May 13, 1998, by Deputy Mayor Ohnishi and Mayor Ferguson.

The purpose of the Memorandum was to agree to continue the relationship between the two cities, through deepened mutual understanding, exchange of friendship, and education in culture, economics, history, and other areas of mutual interest.

At the official ceremony, on September 14, 1998, in Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Japan, the Protocol of the Sister City Relationship between the City of Abbotsford and the City of Fukagawa was signed by Mayor G. Ferguson and Mayor J. Kawano, declaring that Fukagawa and Abbotsford are twinned as Sister Cities.

• Fukagawa

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International Friendship Gardens

Abbotsford Mayor George Peary and City Council, along with local MLA’s Mike de Jong and John van Dongen, officially opened the International Friendship Garden and Cultural Gateway behind the Clearbrook Library, on April 6, 2009.

The park is a partnership project with the Provincial Government’s BC Spirit Squares Program, which provided $500,000 for the project. This new cultural gateway in the City’s civic plaza highlights Abbotsford’s historical roots and ethnic diversity. Park elements reflect South Asian and cultural influences and include a water feature, a perimeter path, enlarged patio and open spaces with seating.

Location: Park Entrance off George Ferguson Way, on the east side of the Clearbrook Library

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