Celebrating Spring and Friendship
Annual Sakura Festival honors the ties between Vancouver and Japan
As he introduced the opening ceremonies of this year’s Sakura Festival, Clark College President Robert K. Knight called the 100 shirofugen trees whose blossoming the festival celebrates “a gift rich with symbolism.” As dignitaries from both Japan and Vancouver rose to speak, it became clear how rich that symbolism is.
Vancouver Mayor and Clark College alumnus Tim Leavitt said that here, as in Japan, the annual blossoming of the cherry trees has come to mark the beginning of spring, as well as of the historic bonds between Vancouver and Japan. “The City of Vancouver has long had an affinity with Japan,” he said. “We’ve hosted cultural exchanges, art exhibits, and have business relationships with firms headquartered here, including Kyocera and SEH America. We’ve also enjoyed our formal sister city relationship with Joyo for 18 years. For me, the annual Sakura Festival serves as a poignant reminder of our longstanding friendship and the meaningful opportunities that it provides.”
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