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Op-Ed: Impressions of Thunder Bay

The Chinese ambassador to Canada reflects on his visit to Thunder Bay last month

The serene Lake Superior offers beautiful views in June. More than a month ago, I paid a visit to Thunder Bay, which sits at the end of Lake Superior, and the good memories are still lingering in my mind.

During my stay in Thunder Bay, I was attracted by the breathtaking landscape. Located at the end of the shipping route through the Great Lakes in Canada, Thunder Bay is known for its picturesque scenery and friendly people. In the morning, the rising sun, the tranquil lake and the reflection of the sleeping giant constitute a stunning view. In the dusk, the setting sun, the shimmering water, the cruise ships in the port and the summer breeze bring people coolness and tranquillity. When I walked to the downtown, I was greeted by lush parks.

During my stay in Thunder Bay, I learned about the robust and diversified local economy. I had extensive exchanges with people from many sectors, including those from the government, business, academia, and media. They introduced me the prosperous trade history of Thunder Bay, and the substantial progress in cultural diversity and economic diversification in recent years.

As one of the largest cities in northwestern Ontario, it is rich in mineral resources, and enjoys robust development in many industries such as transportation, medical care and services. Thunder Bay has been participating in the development of wind energy and other renewable energy projects, developing and improving telemedicine services, encouraging and supporting aboriginal entrepreneurs' efforts to start businesses. I was impressed by the city's innovative spirit and commitment to multiculturalism. I'm confident that the coordinated development of traditional and innovative economies will surely be realized in a place where nature and urban life coexist harmoniously.

I also saw the diverse people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Canada in Thunder Bay. Before I came to Thunder Bay, I already knew that it is a Taiji-loving city with the largest proportion of Taiji participants in North America. My day in the city started with an early morning visit to an international Taiji park, where local citizens practice Taiji. I was moved by the scene of cultural integration. Because of Taiji, Thunder Bay and Jiaozuo city of central China's Henan Province established a sister city relationship years ago, and both cities have maintained close interactions. In addition, Nanning, the capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, signed with Thunder Bay the letter of intent regarding establishing a sister city relationship. I also had exchanges with teachers and students of Lakehead University, who shared with me the vitality of the city and the good progress of academic and educational exchanges between China and Thunder Bay.

As a Chinese saying goes: "Nothing, not even mountains or oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision."

Though China and Thunder Bay are miles apart, we are close at heart. China is ready to work with all countries to make sure that its new accomplishments in modernization will be new opportunities for global development. I hope local institutions and friends from all walks of life will continue to support and facilitate exchanges at local levels between China and Canada, conducting via Taiji, etc., people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, to deepen friendship and gain more achievements.

H.E. Cong Peiwu is the Chinese Ambassador to Canada.

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