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Whistler hosts Japanese sister-city delegation

Maple tree planted to mark occasion



Whistler hosted the mayor of its sister city in Japan, Karuizawa, over the weekend.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and Mayor Susumu Fujimaki visited the Cheakamus Community Forest, the Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic Park, the village area and the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. They also had a chance to see community forest logging in action, as well as observe what a clear-cut area looks like.

A maple tree was planted at Meadow Park Sports Centre to mark the visit.

"It is 13 years since Whistler and Karuizawa became sister cities," said Fujimaki after helping to plant the maple tree.

"It is a great honour to have the opportunity to plant this tree and celebrate our deepening friendship."

This is Fujimaki's first visit to Whistler having been just elected as mayor in Karuizawa.

"As the tree grows just so our friendship will grow and deepen," he said adding that he hopes to persuade Wilhelm-Morden to visit his city next year.

Both cities boast year-round tourism and a multitude of outdoor recreational activities including a link to the Olympic Games. Karuizawa is close the host city of the 1998 Games, Nagano.

The delegation from Japan will be leaving Whistler on Sunday.

"It was 1998 when we formed the relationship and I actually was on council then and there are many similarities between out two towns - they were close to the Nagano site, they have a true appreciation of nature and beauty - and of course over the years our students have gone on student exchanges," said Wilhelm-Morden.

For many years students from Whistler Secondary School (WSS) and students from Karuizawa have enjoyed an exchange program. The Japanese students usually come to Whistler in the spring, while WSS students leave for Karuizawa this week.

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