A city councillor believes Thunder Bay has a lot in common with one particular city in China.
Aldo Ruberto, who heads up the Sister Cities initiative, along with a group of local business and educational leaders, returned from Jiaozhou. The group headed to the Chinese city for a week-long trip that offered little in sleep but a lot in opportunity, Ruberto said.
"The future is unlimited (in terms of) the amount that can be invested from both countries," Ruberto said Wednesday afternoon.
The city of 3.6 million is one of China's mining centres, a hot issue in Northwestern Ontario.
"They're interested in what we're doing in mining and exploration and investment," Ruberto said.
It's also well known for Tai Chi, something Thunder Bay has claimed as being a North American leader in thanks to Peng You who also made the trip.
"He is a one-man tourism department," Ruberto said of You, who has brought Tai Chi enthusiasts from both countries across the ocean at times.
Representatives from Lakehead University and Confederation College were on the trip as well looking to create partnerships and exchanges with Chinese schools.
As for China's human rights record, Ruberto said he only saw clean streets, a highly developed modern city and educated, polite people during the trip.
"The government tries to work with the people," Ruberto said. "We criticize them but we don't give them the respect they deserve for running a country and cities of that magnitude."
The total cost of the trip was around $10,000 Ruberto said.