July 6, 2015
City of Toronto representative Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee, was joined by several Japanese dignitaries at an event today honouring the Friendship City agreement between Toronto and the City of Sagamihara, Japan. The Deputy Mayor of Sagamihara, Hiroaki Koike; Sagamihara's Council Chair, Yoshihiro Abe; the Consul-General of Japan in Toronto, Yasunori Nakayama; and Councillor Thompson celebrated a Sakura (cherry blossom) tree-planting project in Toronto.
"Sakura trees provide a living and growing symbol of the friendship between the citizens of Sagamihara and Toronto," said Councillor Thompson. "We are delighted to continue this important tradition with our partner city of Sagamihara in recognition of our Friendship City anniversary."
“Next year, we will be celebrating a milestone with the 25th anniversary of the Friendship City agreement between Toronto and Sagamihara," said Deputy Mayor Koike. "With the Sakura planting initiative as a catalyst, the City of Sagamihara would like to continue to make efforts to promote activities, initiatives and friendship between our two cities.”
Today's event acknowledges the two cities' collaboration on the planting of 45 Sakura trees to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their Friendship City agreement in 2016. This spring, 25 of the trees were planted. The remaining 20 trees are to be planted in 2016.
This project will create a small-scale Sakura-namiki (Sakura tree path) in the Birkdale Ravine in Scarborough. This idea was proposed by the founding Japanese community leaders of the project, Shinichiro Matsumoto and Hisako Setoyama, with the support of Councillor Thompson.
This Sakura tree project is a continuation of the Consulate-General of Japan in Toronto's past initiatives, which have resulted in the planting of more than 3,000 trees at locations throughout Ontario. The City of Toronto has collaborated with the Consulate-General and other partners to plant Sakura trees at numerous locations throughout the city.
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