Mayors SHigemitsu Hosoe and Keith Hobbs stand at city hall Saturday morning.
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The city was part of a commemoration this weekend that will ring all over the world.
Gifu City in Japan has been sister cities with Thunder Bay for five years now. Every year, the centrally located city of more than 400,000 rings its more than 100 temple, shrine and church bells to mark a dark day in its history. During the Second World War, Gifu was a major industrial centre. On July 9, 1945 it has heavily bombed by the United States, killing more than 800 people. Its six sister cities, which includes Thunder Bay, also ring a bell to honour the day and try to ring in an era of peace.
“They want to promote peace and that’s part of what our sister cities program does,” mayor Keith Hobbs said Saturday morning after the commemoration.
This year was special because the Thunder Bay ceremony had a delegation from Gifu, including mayor Shigemitsu Hosoe. Hosoe said he’s so pleased to be welcomed by Thunder Bay with such open arms. The other sister cities will ring their bells in synchronization with Gifu on July 9.
“This kind of event strengthens the bonds beyond the borderline of a country,” he said.
The two cities are also using the trip to discuss trade opportunities. Officials from Gifu toured the solar farm at Fort William First Nation earlier in the day. Hobbs said biomass has also been discussed as cities like Gifu are looking to move away from nuclear power.
“They’re very interested in the energy piece,” he said.
Hobbs and Hosoe were also on stage at the Thunder Bay Blues Fest. Hosoe wished Hobbs a happy early birthday, which is also July 9. He’ll be 60.
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