The Mayor has announced that she will be delivering a full report on her trip to Japan - it might be done as a slide show.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 4th, 2019



Sometime later in the month, we assume, the Mayor is going to give a full report on her trip to Japan. So far all the public has seen is what the Mayor put up on her web site – where you can influence outcomes for a Better Burlington.

The link to that collection of pictures is informative.

The reason for the trip was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the twinning relationship Burlington has with Itabashi, a city that is a special ward located in Tokyo Metropolis

Here is what the Mayor adds on her web site

“After a full day of official meetings and ceremonies, some of the highlights from our first day in Itabashi included a visit to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo (about a 20-minute car ride from Itabashi) and a meeting with JETRO — Japan’s External Trade Organization — to talk economic exchange.”

Not a word on what might have come out of those talks.

“We then toured Tokyo starting with a visit to the Sensoji Temple where you can read your fortune and incense is burned outside for people to wave good fortune. We next headed to Ueno urban park that features many stones and historic markers, a shrine, and a giant lake with massive water lilies.

“We also toured famous commercial streets in Tokyo, including the largest intersection in the world — Shibuya Crossing — where approximately 2,500 people cross at a time.”

MMW in costume - Japan

A cultural deep dive.

“To start off Day 2 of our official visit, we headed to Itabashi City Hall where our hosts literally rolled out the red carpet to welcome us.

“There is a subway stop right in City Hall — the rail lines are privately owned, earning revenue from development around stations.

“Itabashi City Hall was filled with displays commemorating the 30-year anniversary of our twinning relationship. There was even a paper “maple tree” where people could write messages to Burlington and our citizens. One million people are served at Itabashi City Hall each year and the city has a population of about 550,000 citizens.

“I was honoured to bring greetings from Burlington and on behalf of our Official Delegation that included Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, who is Council’s representative on the Mundialization Committee (the committee that maintains our twin city relationships).

“Children at the on-site day care made us paper frogs. The frog is considered a Japanese lucky animal, seen as good fortune in things returning.

Meed Ward and Itabashi mayor

Mayor Meed Ward in the Itabashi Assembly Hall with Mayor Sakamoto.

“We also had a tour of the Assembly Hall where I had an opportunity to sit Mayor Sakamoto’s chair and the large elevated chair reserved for the Chairman, who presides over the meetings. There are 46 Assembly Members, seated by parties or affiliations, similar to a parliament.”

The Mayor brought back a box of cookies that were shaped in a crest – wasn’t clear just what the crest was – but they were shared with people taking part in the Committee of the Whole.

We learned as well that the Mayor brought back some sake and some sake glasses.

MMW on a lunch break

Mayor Meed Ward took every advantage to immerse herself into Japanese culture.

“We then had a spectacular traditional lunch of sushi, soup, rice and sweets, served in a traditional-style Bento Box. These lunch boxes were used by Samarais when they would visit the Sakura trees in the spring.

“After lunch, we toured City Hall and got a glimpse into the City’s disaster operations room. They have two high-altitude cameras in Itabashi that are used to detect fires or floods. They also have 7 rivers through the city with rain gauges. In one rainfall, more than 3 metres fell in 30 minutes.

“Itabashi aims to be very environmentally sustainable. The tiny tiles on a street they named “wine block” is made with recycled wine glass bottles. Silver seats for seniors and the disabled are also made with recycled wine bottle glass. Itabashi aims to be “green” with planted medians on their streets.”

“This was a day to learn about and immerse ourselves in Japanese culture.”



“This day was one to learn more of the history of Japan and visit sites of historical significance.

“Our first stop was a bullet train ride to Sendai (about a two-hour train ride from Itabashi) to visit the Yuriage Port Market Cooperative in nearby city Natori. The market there was hit by a devastating tsunami in 2011 that caused by an earthquake under the sea.

two ships ashore

The tsunami that struck the city of xx was devastating – close to the worst this world has experienced.

“It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that may have reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 foot) and that travelled, in the Sendai area, at 700 km/h for up to 10 km inland. Residents of Sendai had only eight to ten minutes warning, and more than 19,000 were killed, many at the evacuation sites — more than 100 of which were washed away.”

Of note – when that tsunami hit that city Burlington didn’t offer a dime in the way of financial support. Sendai was not the city we were twinned with however there is a citizen in Itabashi who send Burlington a reasonable sum of money every year. He is the gentlemen who sent us the cherry trees in Spencer Smith Park many years ago.

Today, we learned that during the trip Lisa Palermo, the Mundialization Committee clerk was searched at some point and got left on a train platform.

Palermo is a very effective, efficient member of city hall staff; no reason was given as to why she was searched or quite how she got left on a train station platform.  Her role appears to have been the person who set things up for the Burlington visitors. Her effective efficiency would have been put to good use.

This trip belongs in that “nice to have” category the mayor used effectively in her three Burlington election campaigns.

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3 comments to The Mayor has announced that she will be delivering a full report on her trip to Japan – it might be done as a slide show.

  • Elan

    There should be no limit to dream big. Especially in the venue of affordable housing in an ultra-urban environment. We all await a meaningful perspective from our cross-cultural partners.

  • David

    Mundialization! I learn something every day reading the Gazette. Not only the word itself, but that we have a committee for this that reports to council. Just one question though, would it not have been cheaper to Mundalize Burlington with a city that was closer?

  • Bob

    The pics remind, look like and are telling photo-ops. Nothing more or nothing less than vanity in full show. Who else do we know who likes to put on costumes.