The Consul-General of Japan Takako Ito visited Collingwood for the first time today, making stops in town as part of her tour in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Japanese-Canadian diplomatic relations.
“Having a friend is very important,” said Consul-General Ito, who was posted to Ottawa 30 years ago. “Japan is an island, surrounded by ocean and big countries like China and Russia … we are glad to have friends on both sides of the Pacific.”
Consul-General Ito was in Collingwood on Friday, May 25. She visited town hall, Collingwood Collegiate Institute, Pilkington Glass of Canada, and Collingwood Brewery.
She and Mayor Sandra Cooper made an afternoon stop at the Friendship Gardens located on Minnesota Street and dedicated to Collingwood’s sister city in Katano, Japan.
Consul-General Ito said that was her favourite spot in town.
She thought the Japanese cherry trees beside the Canadian Maple trees were a good tribute to Japanese-Canadian relations. She also admired the stone lanterns and the bridge in the park.
“It’s so peaceful,” she said, closing her eyes to feel the breeze off Georgian Bay.
The Consul-General’s office opened in Ottawa on July 20, 1928, this July 20 will be the 90th anniversary of that occasion, and many decades of friendship between Canada and Japan.
“Japan is one of the few countries in Asia that shares values with Canada, such as democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, a free market and rule of law,” she said. “Through our diplomatic relations we’ve been able to live prosperously and peacefully.”
Following her stop in the garden, Consul-General Ito was going to visit a local Rotary Club and then meet with Simcoe-Grey MP Kellie Leitch.
She spoke highly of the people she met in Collingwood.
“The people have been warm, and they are so nice,” said Consul-General Ito.
For more on the Consul-General and her role in Japanese-Canadian Diplomatic Relations, click here.