Canadian "Sister Cities"...

Maybe it should be British Columbia “Sister Cities”.

I’ve lived in two towns in BC (Salmon Arm and Kamloops) and both towns have a “Sister City”, and they are both in Japan.

I was driving around the lower mainland last week and I noticed a city down there (I can’t recall, it might have been Surrey or Delta) had a sign naming their “Sister City” and it was in Japan.

Why is this?

A even better question is, just what the hell does “Sister City” mean? I assume it’s similarities between gegraphical size, layout and population?

Please help…


In the late 80s/early 90s, I seem to remember lots of publicity about this sort of thing in Texas. We in Austin had sister cities in Mexico, Australia, Japan, China, and probably a few other places too. I think it was some sort of program to promote cultural awareness, but since I was in my preteens at the time, I don’t know how the cities were matched up or exactly what went into it.

I don’t hear much about it anymore. Just the occasional peice of public art that says “Donated by our sister city such-and-such in 1992”. One small town on the way to Dallas from here used to have a sign indicating who their sister city was, but I think they’ve taken it down in the last couple of years.

This sounds like the “twin town” concept we have over here. The idea is as aktep says – to establish and maintain commercial and cultural links between your town and one or more in other parts of the world.

There’s no single reason why a twin would be chosen, although existing historical connections, population size and similar local industry all seem to be prime considerations. Lots of towns in Britain were twinned with towns in Germany to mend fences after WWII, for example. Most European countries have a similar scheme. A google search on “twin town” will show plenty of examples if you’re interested.

As everton says, it’s got nothing to do with size and population, but it’s all about the commercial/ touristic links. I was in Munich two years ago, and their city hall has a display of the 8 or 9 ‘sister cities’ Munich is paired with.

The previous city I lived in, Mississauga, Ontario, had a sister city in Japan… Kariya.

I think Kariya got screwed.

When I was growing up in my home town, Grande Prairie Alberta, “our” sister city was Grand Prairie, Texas.

I haven’t heard a thing about it for the past 15 years, so I think G.P. Texas disowned us.

Victoria has four.

Napier, New Zealand
Suzhou, China
Morioka, Japan
Khabarovsk, Russia

Looks like we still have 10. Never hear about them anymore though:

Washington DC was “sistered” with Beijing, China. Both the mayors of DC and of Beijing ended up in jail. If you go to the DC arch in Chinatown you can see their names there but no mention of how crooked they were. Ah, Marion Barry. Quite a character.

I live in Prince George, and we don’t have a sister city, though I could have sworn at one time that we did.

If their city is anything like ours, they have m my deepest sympathies.

Based on our local Sister City program, it’s just an excuse for the mayor to get a free trip every year. There are a couple of plaques in the city hall and that’s the sum of it.

I guess I all I had to go is look at my cities website: