Whistler's Sister City
Whistler and Karuizawa became the 67th pair of Canadian/Japanese Sister Cities in 1999. Both cities boast year-round tourism, a multitude of outdoor recreational activities and both have hosted the Olympic Games.
Karuizawa hosted the Summer Games in 1964 and Winter Games in 1998, and Whistler hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.
The relationship strengthens economic and cultural ties and promotes tourism between the Town of Karuizawa and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW). Click here to visit the Town of Karuizawa’s website.
Sister City Exchange Program
As part of the Sister City Program, the RMOW in conjunction with the Town of Karuizawa has established an exchange for youth. High school students from Whistler and junior high school students from Karuizawa have been enjoying this cross-cultural relationship since the Sister City Exchange Program was first established in 1999.
Whistler students visiting Karuizawa in October 2012.
In March of 2012, Karuizawa students immersed themselves in the Whistler living experience and spent time with several Whistler Secondary youth ambassadors. Whistler students had the same opportunity to experience Japanese culture in October, when they visited Karuizawa.
The annual exchange provides a cross-culture experience that explores the traditions, history, language and present day geography of both countries. It also has formed a closer bond between the Canadian and Japanese communities as both have rich histories and diverse backgrounds.
How to apply?
The RMOW funds 50 percent of the cost of the flight for the Whistler exchange to Karuizawa. The RMOW also organizes various fundraising activities, and the students taking part in the program and their families cover the remaining travel costs. Whistler families also receive an honorarium for hosting students from Karuizawa in their homes.
The application process begins in February of each year. All interested students are required to submit an application form and participate in interviews. Selections are based on participation at Whistler Secondary School, community involvement, an eagerness to represent Whistler and personal independence. Students and parents are also required to adhere to a formal contract.
For more information on the Sister City Exchange Program and application process, please contact 604-935-8378.