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Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – May 8, 2023 – Burlington Has Twin-City Agreements — What Are Those?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Monday Mailbag, an initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office launched to share weekly answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – May 8, 2023


“Burlington has twin-city agreements with international cities — what are those?”


The City of Burlington has two twin-city agreements — one with Itabashi, Japan and one with Apeldoorn, The Netherlands:

  • On May 12, 1989, Mayor Roly Bird signed a twinning agreement with Mayor Keizo Kurihara of Itabashi, Japan; and
  • On May 6, 2005, Mayor Rob MacIsaac signed a twinning agreement with Mayor Godefridus Jan “Fred” de Graaf of Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

This Saturday (May 13), the City of Burlington will be holding two free twin-city events at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre in recognition of Canada-Netherlands Friendship Day and the Sakura Festival. Please click/tap the link for more details on those events.

Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

Our nation’s special relationship with The Netherlands extends back to the liberation of The Netherlands by Canadian forces during the Second World War. We are grateful for the service of our local veterans — including those who are with us and those we have lost.

Since the end of WWII, our connection has grown into so much more over more than 7 decades. The City of Burlington and Apeldoorn, The Netherlands communities are tied together in an important twin-city mundialization relationship that officially began in 2005.

Itabashi, Japan

The Sakura trees at Spencer Smith Park were generously donated by Kan Naka-Zawa, a resident of Itabashi, Japan who considers Burlington his second home, and are a treasured tradition for our community to enjoy as we welcome spring and the season of renewal.

The cities of Burlington, Ontario and Itabashi, Japan are tied together in an important twin-city mundialization relationship that officially began more than 30 years ago, in 1989.

Our annual celebration of the gift of these Sakura trees and our ability to enjoy them year after year is a reminder of our ongoing connection and our shared appreciation for nature, our planet, and each other.

On-going International Friendships

Members of the cities of Burlington and Apeldoorn, and Burlington and Itabashi have visited one another over the years, we have stayed in touch throughout changing leaders and world events like the pandemic, and we fully embrace what mundialization is all about: the belief that learning about people of different nations, races, cultures and governments encourages connections that foster world peace and global understanding.

World events that are going on right now are a great reminder of how important it is to build strong relationships that create connections with each other all over the world. Events like the ones on May 13 help us all focus on what binds us together and what we have in common.

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