City of Prince Rupert officials got a bit of a look in the mirror last Tuesday when a delegation from Rupert’s sister city in China, Cangzhou, met with them.
A group of politicians and business leaders from the giant port city in China’s province of Hebei shook hands and learned about the ways of life from the quaint port town in northwest British Columbia.
“It was just a more of a ‘get to know each other’ kind of thing than anything,” said city councillor Barry Cunningham last week, who was part of the group that welcomed the Cangzhou visitors.
“They were only here for a day, but they were very impressed with our city from a potential point of view and all the land available and everything.”
The area of Cangzhou has a population of 7.6 million and has a strong industrial and agricultural presence. Fishing is another industry that takes place within the ‘Lion City’, while Chinese martial arts, acrobatics and the performing arts are a constant part of the area’s culture. Mandarin is spoken prevalently in the city and the climate ranges from hot and humid summers, to dry and cold winters.
“It’s a very impressive city. The delegation was very impressive. They liked our clean air and environment,” Cunningham added.
“They were very professional. They were impressed with the city and [Mayor] Lee [Brain] and I think they were quite surprised with how young our mayor was. I think that’s with a lot of people, but once you start getting into the topics, the ‘young-ness’ disappears quite quickly.”
Cangzhou is one of Prince Rupert’s three sister cities, also including Ketchikan, Alaska and Owase, Japan.
“The delegation consisted of two party secretaries from Cangzhou and the surrounding region, the director of foreign affairs for Cangzhou’s municipal government, a director and assistant from the local Economic Development Office, five business representatives from their industrial district, as well as an interpreter from their local Foreign Affairs office,” explained Veronika Stewart, City of Prince Rupert communications manager on Monday.
“Located to the nearby port city of Tianjin, the delegation from our Chinese sister city came to Prince Rupert as part of maintaining and improving our relationship. In 2011, Prince Rupert sent a similar delegation of councillors, city staff, Chamber of Commerce and port representatives to our sister city with a grant from the province to promote the Asia Pacific Trade Gateway.”