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Sister & Friendship Cities

Sister city arrangements are rooted in the philosophy that twinning has intrinsic, long-term benefits to the community. It is viewed by both parties as a tool to promote education, economic and cultural awareness. Communities also benefit under the arrangement from the exchange of ideas on matters of mutual concern.

The City of Burnaby has a strong tradition and history associated with international sister city or friendship city relationships.  Burnaby was one of the first communities in Canada to recognize the economic and cultural opportunities of “friendships” with Asian cities and has supported a very active sister city relationship with Kushiro, Japan since 1965. 2015 commemorated the Golden Jubilee Anniversary between Burnaby and Kushiro.

Burnaby also shares a sister city relationship with Mesa, Arizona and more recently, Hwaseong, Korea (2010) and Zhongshan City, P.R. China (2011). 

Loughborough, England (birthplace of Robert Burnaby) shares an inactive “twinning” relationship with the City of Burnaby 

Kushiro, Japan

Kushiro City

The sister city relationship with Kushiro, Japan was initiated by then Reeve Alan Emmott. Kushiro was chosen because it is on the same latitude as the City of Burnaby and the two cities resemble each other in size and structure. In 1965, delegates from the City of Kushiro visited Burnaby and an Exchange Affiliation agreement was signed.

In 1990 the Exchange Affiliation agreement was renewed in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the relationship. Since that time there have been numerous exchanges, celebrating each five-year anniversary. The City of Burnaby celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the Exchange Affiliation agreement with Kushiro in 2015.

Mesa, Arizona

Mesa City

The Sister City relationship between Mesa, Arizona and Burnaby began in 1998 through a relationship between Rotary Clubs in both communities.

Mesa is the second largest City in a broad metropolitan area centered around Phoenix and is the third largest city in Arizona.  There is a fundamental commonality between the two communities given Burnaby is also part of a large metropolitan area and is the third largest city in B.C. Both communities are fast growing, have a significant retail component, support the development of clean industry and are concerned about their respective environments.

The two communities share common services and issues including victim assistance programs, affordable housing, historic preservation, regional transportation, traffic management and crime prevention.

Since 1998 there have been several exchanges between Burnaby and Mesa. These exchanges have proven very successful in terms of sharing extensive information and have resulted in the implementation of an economic development/cross border trade initiative. This initiative has brought both the Burnaby Board of Trade and Mesa’s Office of Economic Development to the table.

Hwaseong, Korea


Then-Mayor Derek Corrigan first visited Hwaseong in 2007 at which time a mutual understanding was developed that the two cities would enter into a future formal relationship. During a visit to Hwaseong City in September 2010, the City of Burnaby signed a Sister City agreement with Hwaseong City, Korea. 

Located in the western area of the Korean Peninsula, Hwaseong City has a population of just over half a million and enjoys the largest area of farmland of any city or county in Gyeonggi province. As an aside, Gyeonggi province shares a twinning relationship with the Province of B.C.

The sister city relationship with Hwaseong is new but it has already opened friendly city-to-city communication channels and the City of Burnaby looks forward to strengthening cultural, educational and economic opportunities between the two cities.

Zhongshan City, P.R. China

Zhongshan City

In December, 2007 Mayor Li Qihong of Zhongshan City sent a letter to Mayor Derek Corrigan introducing Zhongshan and expressing a desire to promote friendship and cooperation between the two cities. Since that time, several visits have taken place between Burnaby and Zhongshan, culminating in the signing of a Friendship Agreement in May, 2009 and a Sister City Agreement in September, 2011.

Zhongshan City, the hometown of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, is situated south of the Pearl River Delta with Hong Kong to the to the east and Zhuhai and Macao to the south. Zhongshan is endowed with a favourable geographic location and weather conditions. Covering an area of 1,679 Square kilometres, Zhongshan has a population of over 2 million people and a history of 800 years.

Friendship Agreements

In early 2007, the provincial government released its Asia Pacific Initiative, a plan designed to help develop the strategies necessary to better integrate British Columbia with Asia Pacific. The Province’s goal called for B.C. to be recognized internationally as North America’s capital for Asia Pacific commerce and culture.

Under the Asia Pacific program, the City of Burnaby was selected to receive one-time funding in support of friendship city initiatives with Asia-Pacific cities. The City matched these funds and, over a two year period, confirmed Friendship Agreements with the following cities:

Find Out More

The International Relations and Friendship Cities Committee has been appointed by Council to advise and assist with matters relating to Sister and Friendship Cities. For more information on this committee please go to the International Relations and Friendship Cities Committee web page or contact the Office of the City Clerk at 604-294-7290 or clerks@burnaby.ca.

  • Kushiro, Japan

    Kushiro CityMore Burnaby's Sister City since 1965, with a population of 172,014.
  • Mesa, Arizona

    Mesa CityMore Burnaby's Sister City since 1998, with a population of 501,137.
  • Hwaseong, Korea

    HwaseongMoreBurnaby's Sister City since 2010, with a population of 696,587.
  • Zhongshan City, P.R. China

    Zhongshan CityMoreBurnaby's Sister City since 2011, with a population of 1,423,000.
  • Friendship Agreements

    Friendship AgreementsMoreView Burnaby's friendship agreements with Asia-Pacific cities.