The Penticton-Ikeda Sister City Society is a volunteer organization which coordinates the exchange of visits between Penticton and the town of Ikeda located in the Nakagawa District of Tokachi in Hokkaido, Japan. This exchange between Penticton and Ikeda has been in operation since 1977 and it is one of the oldest and most successful sister city relationships in Canada. During its long relationship, Sister City delegations have exchanged visits almost every year with a Penticton delegation visiting Ikeda one year and an Ikeda delegation visiting Penticton the following year. In addition, the idea of building a Japanese garden in Penticton was first introduced in 1993 and early construction began in 1997. The Penticton-Ikeda Japanese Garden is a most beautiful and esthetically-pleasing garden, symbolizing the warm and enduring ties between the people of Penticton and Ikeda.
In early 1975 Penticton area business people, including Joe Rogers, toured Japan in search of trade opportunities. They met Mayor Kaneyasa Marutani, of Ikeda, a city in the Tokachi district of the northern island prefecture [province] of Hokkaido. He said that the Ikeda people desired to obtain a Canadian Sister City. Penticton was suggested to him as a suitable choice, because of such similarities as vineyard plantations, wine production, cattle industry and general features such as the countryside and geographic features. Mayor Marutani, now a retired Senator of the Japanese Diet [Parliament], still resides in Ikeda.
Mayor Marutani and three other delegates traveled to Penticton later in 1975. They met with Mayor Frank Laird, council members and other interested groups. An agreement was reached to proceed with planning towards a formal Sister City relationship. Mayor Marutani, his wife and daughter visited friends in Penticton in June of 1995, twenty years after his first trip to Penticton.
A volunteer Penticton-Ikeda Club, to coordinate the exchange programs, was formed in 1977. This organization was formalized into the Penticton-Ikeda Sister City Society in 1985. In Ikeda they responded by, in turn, by forming the Ikeda-Penticton Sister City Society. Their President was Toshio Kurokawa. The two Sister City Societies cooperate in organizing and optimizing the effectiveness of all activities and projects conducted between the two cities and ensure that they occur in an equitable manner.
A summary of some of the exchange programs that have taken place shows the breadth and diversity of interest between Ikeda and Penticton.More...