This is the third installment of the history of Quesnel/Shiraoi Twinning experience.
The citizens of Quesnel were ready for a change, with a 68 per cent voter turn-out for the Nov. 15, 1980 civic election.
Mike Pearce took top spot as Mayor along with four new councillors and incumbent councillors Wilma Hanson and Joe Morris.
Alec LeBrun, a new face to politics, came in with the highest number of votes. Other newly elected councillors were Amar Bagri, Gorden Murry and Pat Chubb.
On April 16, 1981, Quesnel City Council and Shiraoi Town Assembly, confirmed the agreement to formalize the twinning.
The new council for 1981 embraced the twinning concept, approving the trip to Shiraoi for Mayor Mike Pearce.
The new council members were much more generous towards Mayor Pearce than the previous council was for John Panagrot, approving the full $2,000 cost for the trip.
July 12, 1981 marked a three-day trip to Shiraoi to formalize the twinning with Mayor Yamate. Mayor Mike Pearce and his wife Sandy, along with Larry Ozero, the assistant deputy of finance for School District #28 and his wife Sylvia, were off to Japan.
The twinning was signed on July 13, 1981 by the cities’ mayors.
The twinning was televised both locally and on Japan’s national television.
The Japanese took the twinning very seriously; Quesnel’s delegation was received by the governor of Hokkaido on a trip to Sapporo.
Mayor Pearce and Larry Ozero visited Midorigaoka elementary school in Shiraoi and initiated an agreement to twin with Lakeview elementary school.
The major highlight for the men was meeting the school children of all seven grades.
Each grade put on a performance, and the entire school sang “O Canada” in English.
The delegation was especially impressed by the high degree of organization and efficiency the children displayed: they all stood attentively for an hour during the ceremony and their neatness and enthusiasm to perform for the occasion was notable.
The delegation spent three days in Shiraoi, along with seven days touring several cities including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
Eddy Yoshie of Daishowa Shiraoi was their tour guide and translator for the entire trip; he was sponsored by Daishowa International.
Larry Ozero covered his own expenses while Mike Pearce covered the seven days of his tour.
Much twinning activity proceeded: the twinning of the Lions Club, Rotary Club, proposed school twinnings, as well as the proposal by Shiraoi’s Chamber of Commerce to study cold weather housing.
This tiny twinning seedling was sprouting branches and was fast becoming a family tree.
So the question is: Who, Why and What is the Twinning?
– submitted by Phil Demers