PORT HARDY—Port Hardy celebrated two decades of its twinning relationship with sister city Numata, Japan, this week, unveiling a torii gate at Carrot Park to the visiting Japanese delegation.
The gate towers over the entrance to the park, next to the Twinning Garden, and represents the traditional entrance to a Shinto shrine; the transition from the profane to the sacred.
Inclement weather Monday forced the move of a planned reception from Carrot Park to the Civic Centre, where the Numata delegation were welcomed by council, Twinning Society, RCMP and community members.
Speaking at the reception, Numata’s Astushi Oinuma said that the towns’ relationship was “very valuable,” particularly for the children who had the opportunity to travel and experience a different culture.
“We are very impressed with the torii,” he continued. “The torii is a very old symbol in Japan; one of the symbols of Japan and a sign of the bond between Port Hardy and Numata.”
Society member Pat Corbett-Labatt said the gate had been a vision of fellow Twinning Society member Leslie Driemel for some time. Councils had been supportive in principal, but funding for the project proved difficult to find until Western Forest Products stepped up to provide the timber for the project.
She thanked the “tireless volunteers” who helped guide the project to fruition, not least of which was Leslie’s husband, Rob Driemel, the project manager who constructed the gate.
To commemorate the occasion Corbett-Labatt presented the Numata group and Port Hardy council with photo albums containing pictures of delegations spanning the two decades.
Speaking on behalf of council, Deputy Mayor Deb Huddlestan said she was honoured to be part of the occasion and presented a Spirit Stone, or Suieskei, as a gift from the town.
Not to be outdone, Oinuma presented a Kamidana, a miniature Shinto Shrine traditionally found in the home.
After the speeches and refreshments, the group made its way to Carrot Park for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the torii.