About Us Activities News and Media Documents Contact Us Links History
“Planet Earth is our home. Humanity is our family”

- Oscar Rogers.

  News & Media
Archive of events
The dinner on Feb. 12th, 2004 in the Hamilton Convention Center. It was hosted by Mayor Di Ianni in honour of the delegation from Maanshan, China.
Chinese New Year Banquet on Feb. 7, 2004
Hamilton's Diversity in Hamilton City Hall November 20, 2003
Committee meeting Sep 17, 2003
Annual General Meeting May 21, 2003
Celebrating Hamilton's Diversity Nov 20, 2003 (pdf 10Kb)
11th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Peace Festival
Oct 4, 2003 (pdf 52Kb)

Hamilton CULTURE OF PEACE Network Oct 22, 2003
Reaching for peace on earth, Aug 7, 2003
Peace work earns award, Nov 20, 2002
Residents applaud participation in mundialization,
Nov 20, 2002

Hamilton-Sarasota lunch, Jul 12, 2002
Mayor Ding Hal Zhong meeting guest from Canada, Aug 2, 2001

Reaching for peace on earth

By Carmela Fragomeni "The Hamilton Spectator" August 7, 2003

Twins come in twos, except in Hamilton. The city has nine twins. Hamilton is twinned with nine cities from Japan to Italy to India. It's 10, if you count Kaga, Japan, sister city of Dundas before amalgamation.

Hamilton, like other twinned cities, wants to foster friendships, sharing and understanding. Twinning is aimed at promoting peace.

Hamilton and Burlington have embraced this movement that followed the Second World War. Over the years, many twinning relationships have waned. But, twinnings with Japanese cities continue to thrive - mainly due to that country's commitment to sister city relationships.

The movement was born in Hiroshima in 1945 after the city was devastated by the world's first atomic bomb. Survivors resolved to make sure it can't happen again anywhere.

Twinnings are tied up with the mouth-numbing concept "mundialization," derived from the Latin word mundus, meaning world. The idea is that cities declare themselves world communities and form twins as concrete expressions of a desire to foster understanding among people of different cultures and ideologies.

In 1968, Hamilton declared itself a world city (mundialized), and its people true citizens of the world. Burlington took that step in 1984.

Hamilton's first official tie to another city came earlier, in 1958 when it twinned with Shawinigan, Que., just as native son Jean Chrétien, then 24, was being called to the bar. Burlington signed a twin city relationship with Itabashi, Japan, in 1989.

Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac said the Japanese see twinnings as their responsibility for promoting international peace. "They take a very serious and philosophical approach to twinning."

Hamilton has since twinned with Mangalore, India; Fukuyama, Japan; Racalmuto, Italy; Flint, Mich.; Ma'anshan, China; Abruzzo Region, Italy; Sarasota, Fla.; Monterrey, Mexico.

For those who have visited twin cities, the pious words about international understanding have become real.

Just ask Jennifer Evans, 15, of Dundas. She is one of hundreds of Hamiltonians who have travelled to sister cities and been welcomed with astounding hospitality. Her trip to Kaga, Japan, last summer showed her a different world, and more importantly, gave her another family. She cherishes it so much, she calls them mom, dad, sister and grandmother, just as she does her family here. "They took me in and treated me like their own."

Her eyes light up at the mere mention of Japan. The trip gave her a new understanding of respect, of a foreign culture, of the elderly, the preciousness of family. And of the devastation of war and how it threatens all of that.

The Second World War held little relevance for her but now she takes it personally - after visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

Bob Charko, president of Kids for Kaga, which runs the longstanding exchanges, calls them "life-changing experiences."

Former Hamilton mayor Bob Morrow says "you can't put a price tag" on these experiences and friendships. "The goal is world peace, of course, and breaking down barriers."

Solomon Ngan, Hamilton Mundialization committee president, says, "We learn to build bridges, to accept and appreciate the different cultures."

The city spends little on twinning relationships, mostly on gifts to sister cities during visits.

Committee member Margaret Firth said she rejoined the committee after going to Shawinigan to help it celebrate its centennial. "I was never there before and I was very impressed." She said the hospitality was amazing and she still keeps in touch with her host. But there have been fewer trips each year, and no delegations here this year because of SARS.

One problem is that Hamilton's twin city relationships are disorganized. City staff and mundialization committee members can offer little in the way of information on the cities and how they were twinned. Tidbits have to be sought out from members and former members here and there.

Only Morrow could shed much light.

City community relations manager Raffaela Candiato says twinning records were handled by the mayor's office when Morrow was at the helm, but virtually no files could be found after Mayor Bob Wade took over.

The city's Web site even mistakenly lists a city in Brazil as a twin. Officials have no idea where this came from. And records on Shawinigan give three different years for twinning with Hamilton - 1957, 1958, and 1967. The word from city hall staff is '58.

Exchange visits still go on with some twin cities. Last year's visits included people from Ma'anshan, Sarasota and Mangalore. Gift exchanges are common. Fukuyama's Lion's Club, for example, last year sent Hamilton $1,200 to buy roses to be planted around the city.

In Burlington, twinships with Myrtle Beach and Longueuil, Que., have also waned. A delegation is travelling to each city this year to determine if the relationships should be renewed.

Hanna Newcombe of the Peace Research Institute of Dundas was instrumental in developing mundialization in Canada and has been a member of Hamilton's committee since 1967. She says mundialization in other cities has also become less active. "I think the movement has kind of stalled."

Most of Hamilton's twinnings occurred when Morrow, a huge supporter, was in office. Newcombe remembers him arranging more than the committee could handle and they had to ask him to stop for a while.

Burlington's twin city, Itabashi, is so keen it has sometimes overwhelmed Burlington with visitors and gifts. One of the more famous is Itabashi's donation of a quarter-million dollars' worth of fireworks marking the twinning anniversary every five years during Burlington's Sound of Music Festival.

Burlington is preparing to twin with Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Burlington has many citizens with Dutch heritage. The push is also fuelled by the seemingly never-ending gratitude of the Dutch to Canada for liberating them from occupation in the war.

Both Hamilton and Burlington's city-mandated mundialization committees are revitalizing. Hamilton's has restructured and is planning better record-keeping and a dedicated Web site.

In Burlington, the committee is exploring business opportunities from twinnings and is weeding out relationships that aren't working.

The twinnings haven't led to any lasting business connections so far, but city officials on both sides are hoping this will evolve. or 905- 526-3392.

Hamilton's twins

Shawinigan, Quebec: 1958

Initiated: By then-mayor Lloyd Jackson and Shawinigan's mayor, after a Canadian municipalities conference, where such French-English twinnings were encouraged.

Description: Pulp and paper mill town north of Trois Rivières, on St. Maurice River, industrial, with a large hydro station. Also produces aluminum, abrasives, chemicals, cellulose and textiles. Mostly French-speaking. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's hometown. 1996 population: 18,678.

Mangalore, India: 1968

Initiated: Hamilton residents from Mangalore approached then-mayor Vic Copps.

Description: Hilly port city on southwest coast of Arabian Sea. Trades in spices, rice, fish, nuts. Manufactures roofing tiles, pottery, brick kilns and ships. Commercial centre. Tropical climate. 1991 population: 273,000.

Fukuyama, Japan: 1976

Initiated: Hamilton residents from Japan approached then-mayor Vic Copps.

Description: Most of it burned in a 1945 air attack and was rebuilt. Near Hiroshima. Commercial, industrial, and communications centre on inland sea. Produces machinery, Japanese harps (kotos), rubber products, electronics, textiles and processed foods. Noted for its roses and Rose Festival in May 1996. Population: 375,137.

Racalmuto, Italy: 1986

Initiated: By a large Hamilton population from Racalmuto.

Description: Ancient Sicilian town in hilly agricultural area. An international crossroads over the centuries. Has some of the best Greek ruins and artifacts outside of Greece. Population: 10,419.

Flint, Michigan: 1987

Initiated: By Hamilton's annual, friendly, 45-year-old CANUSA Games with Flint for young athletes from each city.

Description: Southeast Michigan. A chief automobile-manufacturing centre, before the industry faltered. Massive layoffs in 1980s devastated the local economy. Revitalization has had limited success. 1990 population: 140,761.

Ma'anshan, China: 1987

Initiated: When many Canadian cities were twinning with China. Some Hamilton business ties.

Description: Modern industrial city in northeast, west of Shanghai, on Yangtze River's south bank. Important steel and iron base. Rich in iron ore, ground phosphate. Abundant fish and rice. Population: 1.16 million.

Abruzzo Region, Italy: 1990

Initiated: By Hamilton residents from Abruzzo. First with town of Gagliano, now includes several nearby towns.

Description: In central Italy, mountainous and hilly, on the Adriatic sea. Tourism growing. Population 1.3 million.

Sarasota, Florida: 1991

Initiated: By Sarasota.

Description: On southwest Gulf coast, about 80 kilometres south of Tampa and a half-hour drive from St. Petersburg. Sub-tropical temperatures, averaging 361 days of sunshine a year. A cultural centre with many palatial homes, great beaches. 2000 population: 52,715.

Monterrey, Mexico: 1993

Initiated: Steel connections and promising business opportunities.

Description: Northeast Mexico, 240 kilometres south of Laredo, Texas. In a valley surrounded by mountains. Has Mexico's largest iron and steel foundries, and a diversified economy, including textiles and agricultural products and foreign-owned plants using low-wage labour for goods exported to U.S. It's a popular resort with a dry climate, cool mountains and hot springs and active cultural scene. Population: 3.5 million.

Kaga, Japan (twinned with Dundas): 1968

Description: On west side of Honshu, the main island of Japan and across the water from Tokyo. Population: 68,000.

Hamilton also has informal ties with Uzzghorod, Ukraine; Penza, Russia; Liepaji, Latvia; and Kaunas, Lithuania.

Burlington's twins

Itabashi, Japan: 1989

Initiated: By Itabashi.

Description: Tokyo suburb with printing and publishing industry. Name means wooden bridge, derived from a wooden bridge built 800 years ago over the Shakujii River. Population: 500,000.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: 1992

Description: In the centre of the Grand Strand, a 95-kilometre beach crescent on the South Carolina coast. In the last 25 years, Myrtle Beach has become the premier resort destination on the U.S. East Coast. Population: 25,000.

Longueuil, Quebec: 1995

Initiated: To foster ties, after the close-call Quebec Referendum.

Description: On the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River across from Montreal, of which it is a suburb. It was merged on January 1, 2002 with seven other communities to become a community of more than 375,000 people.

Burlington has informal business or sports ties it calls "resolutions of friendships" with Apledoorn, Netherlands; Burlington, Iowa; and Burlington, Vermont.
about us | activities | news | documents | contact | links | history | home
The Hamilton Mundialization Committee © 2003-2006
Web design and hosting by