About > History:1977-1990 > History:1990-2000 > History:2000-2011 > History:Overview


A number of Ikeda people have traveled to Penticton on multiple occasions. Among them, Yoichiro Takamori-6 visits; Yasuko Ushirode 5 visits; Akira Ishii & Kazuya Oishi 4 visits; Katsumaru Katsui, Toshio Kurokawa & Masanori Kawaguchi 3 visits, Shuji Hirose, Seiji Makino, Toshihiko Kimishima & Noboru Sasaki 2 visits.

Ikeda features unique landmarks such as the Tokachi wine castle overlooking the town, the railway station with a “wine glass” fountain and “corkscrew”. There are a number of small meeting places in Ikeda, with typical northern Japanese names such as Horigai, Torisei and Longchamps, where friendships are formed and sustained. These unique places have a special place in the in memory of many Canadian visitors.

During the period 1976 to 2010 a significant number of Japanese people have visited Penticton as a result of our relationship with Ikeda. In addition to the citizens of Ikeda many visitors from other parts of Japan were people made aware of Penticton through our well known Sister City relationship with Ikeda.

Welcoming party in Ikeda, JapanDuring various visits in Canada and in Japan informal exchange presentations have been made between Canadian and Japanese members of organizations such as Soroptomist, Lions and Rotary clubs. The Soroptomist Club of Penticton made a substantial donation in May of 1997 towards the construction of the Ikeda Japanese garden in Penticton.

One of our most satisfying projects was the”AET”-Assistant English Teacher two-year term position in Ikeda between 1992 and 2004. Our society cooperated with Ikeda by selecting suitable Penticton candidates. This person taught English, joined in activities in the community and acted as an ambassador for Penticton. Basic requirements for the position were a university degree, in any discipline and residence in Penticton for a significant portion of there life. Six persons held that position: Carol Hayhurst, Jeannie Eykelenboom, Dawn Lank, Sue Dodd, Lynn Porteous and Jody McIvor.

Since 1979 groups of students from Ikeda and Penticton have exchanged short term visits each year. The students have the opportunity to stay in the homes of their exchange student counterpart. Penticton Secondary School and Ikeda High School signed a Sister school agreement in Penticton in 1991. Principal Dave Stigant and Vice principal Len Cox led the Secondary School delegation that traveled in conjunction with the City delegation in 1992. An additional agreement between Princess Margaret Secondary School and Ikeda high School was signed in January of 2003 during an Ikeda High delegation visit to Penticton. Summerland High School students are also involved in the exchange program.

A number of Ikeda and Penticton Senior Secondary students have exchanged schools for a school year term. Hideto Murasaki was the first Ikeda student to attend Penticton Secondary school full time, graduating in 1981 and going on to university in Canada. Yohei Hori was another notable Pen High graduate in 1992 followed by graduation from the University of Victoria in 1997. Yohei‟s father Eiji was an active member of the Ikeda Penticton Society.

During our 1992 visit to Japan, the idea of establishing an Ikeda Japanese Garden in Penticton was initiated. During the Ikeda delegation's visit in 1993, newly elected Mayor Kazuo Oishi presented us with a set of high quality conceptual plans. The site proposed was the parcel of land just north of the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan. In 1995 the Ikeda Sister City Society made the first garden fund donation of about $500. This was followed by a major contribution of close to $6,000 by the Ikeda delegation in 1997. Since that time generous donations have been and continue to be received from individuals, companies and organizations, such as the Soroptomist club. Mayor Beth Campbell and Ikeda Deputy Mayor Koichi Saito took part in the sod turning ceremony signifying the actual start of construction during the 1997 Ikeda delegation visit.

Another ceremony took place when Mayor Oishi visited in 1999. Significant progress was made during the years 1999 to 2003. Construction of the major components of the garden commenced in February 2003. The Ikeda Garden Committee initially led by Bonnie Ross, then by Joanne Grimaldi and now by Lorna & Al Dawkins has enjoyed the volunteer assistance of many citizens in planning and weekly Wednesday morning work parties. Many individuals and firms have contributed generously in their field of expertise. Ikeda initiated a program of sending black Obsidian rocks that are native to the Ikeda, area with each person heading to Penticton and each returning Canadian. These rocks have a special home in the garden. The Ikeda Penticton Japanese Garden is complete. There will, however, continually be additions and improvements. Our Ikeda friends designed and constructed a traditional sign out of old growth walnut wood. It arrived just in time to be installed for September 10, 2005 dedication ceremony.

Larry Lund and Nick Iannone, former owners of Okanagan Hockey School have visited Ikeda while in Japan. They have assisted with hockey programs in Hokkaido. Students from that area have come to Penticton to attend the summer hockey school.

Learning calligraphy in Ikeda, JapanIkeda is probably the earliest and certainly the most enthusiastic center for the sport of curling in Japan. Penticton people, along with Canadian Embassy personal and other Canadians assisted the Ikeda people in getting established in the sport. Ikeda rinks have won national honours in Japan on several occasions. Ikeda now has an outdoor, artificial ice, curling rink. Akimachi Yamazoe of the Ikeda Curling club visited the Penticton and other Canadian Curling rinks while they were planning the construction of the ice rink. Seiji Makino, long time President of the Ikeda Curling association visited Penticton on two occasions. Several bonspiels are organized each year in Ikeda.

Descendants of Pygmy goats that were imported from the Okanagan Game Farm, as arranged by late Ed and his son the late Howard Lacey, are happily grazing in Ikeda's Makiba-No-Ie park. The early Ikeda delegations loved this facility that is, sadly enough, departed from the Penticton area.

This summary, although not a complete list of all the activities between Ikeda and Penticton, hopefully provides some insight in to the depth that our relationship as attained. These various programs and projects provide a “once in a lifetime” experience for those that participate. The contrasting cultures and demonstrations of friendship leave a lasting impression. Dramatic differences in life style as well as some surprising similarities become apparent. A better understanding of another country and its people is gained. The Sister City relationship between Ikeda and Penticton has provided cultural, educational and economic stimulus to both cities and their citizens.

The Sister City Society encourages annual memberships, which are available to all interested people. Please join us in furthering the various projects between our two cities and countries. Our members regularly host our Ikeda visitors on a volunteer basis and membership and any other general funds we raise go almost exclusively to this cause.

This history was originally compiled and regularly updated by Ross Axworthy, Past President, Penticton Ikeda Sister City Society. The latest update of this history was compiled on March 3, 2011.

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