Sister Cities LogoAt the heart of all Sister City programs is a twinning agreement, signed by the Mayors of each Sister City, confirming the commitment of each community to the program.


These exchanges promote:

  • cross-cultural understanding,
  • municipal and technical cooperation, and most importantly
  • economic development opportunities.

Sister Cities agree to send and receive delegations of various types, including political and business leaders, arts and cultural representatives, educators and technical experts.

Thunder Bay City Council has established a Twinning Relationship Policy and a Sister Cities Advisory Committee for the purpose of developing mutually beneficial economic and cultural interaction between communities. As economic development is the focus of Thunder Bay's program, municipal twinning provides an opportunity for both parties.

The City of Thunder Bay currently has five Sister Cities outside of Canada.

Our Sister Cities

The City of Thunder Bay has a number of Sister City arrangements with communities outside of Canada which include:

  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Gifu City, Japan
  • Jiaozuo, China
  • Little Canada, Minnesota
  • Seinäjoki, Finland

The objectives of "Sister Cities" is to promote friendship, goodwill, education, economics and tourism between cities.

Duluth, Minnesota

In 1980, Thunder Bay linked with the port city of Duluth, population 85,000. Our common shipping heritage, cultural and geographical similarities, and close proximity made becoming Sister Cities natural. Thunder Bay and Duluth citizens regularly visit each other's communities for business or pleasure. A successful art exchange between the Tweed Museum of Art and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery was sponsored, in part, by the Sister City Committee.

Gifu, Japan

Our linkage with Gifu City, population 400,000, is a continuation of Thunder Bay's relationship with Yanaizu, Japan that began in 1998. Yanaizu merged into Gifu City in 2006. Gifu City has taken advantage of the surrounding natural resources to create both traditional industries including Mino washi and agriculture and tourism opportunities such as cormorant fishing. Gifu University for Education and Languages has been conducting annual student exchange programs with a focus on language and culture with Lakehead University in Thunder Bay since 1988. As well, high school students, citizens and dignitaries from both communities participate in regular exchanges.

Jiaozuo, China

In December 2015, a delegation from Thunder Bay and First Nation Communities visited Jiaozuo City, China, to further the intent of a sister cities agreement. On May 29, 2017, representatives from Jiaozuo City visited Thunder Bay. During this tour, a Sister City Agreement was signed. Located on the Yellow River and just south of the Taihang Mountain, Jiaozuo City has a population of 3,540,101 and is known as a centre for mining and education.

Watch the video documenting this cultural exchange in Jiaozuo:

Little Canada, Minnesota

In 1977, the City of Little Canada linked with Thunder Bay. Located north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the community was founded in 1844 by a French-Canadian farmer, voyageur and trader, Benjamin Gervais. The city hosts an annual celebration called Canadian Days with Thunder Bay. Little Canada has 10,000 residents who enjoy a picturesque rural landscape surrounded by metropolitan activity from the nearby Twin Cities.

Seinäjoki, Finland

In 1974, Thunder Bay linked with its first Sister City, Seinäjoki, population 30,000. Located in the Southern Ostrobothnia district of Finland, Seinäjoki is an important regional centre for the arts, commerce and transportation. Seinäjoki is recognized globally for the cultural and administrative buildings designed by Alvar Aalto, considered among the five foremost architects of the 20th century. A large number of people from Seinäjoki have relocated to Thunder Bay, making our city one of the largest Finnish communities (possibly the largest) outside Finland.

Sister Cities Advisory Committee

Thunder Bay's Sister Cities program is supported by a Committee of volunteers called the Sister Cities Advisory Committee, which serves the goals and objectives of the program. The Committee was formed in December 2006 with a mandate to develop, implement and coordinate the Thunder Bay Municipal Twinning Program. The Committee meets monthly and reports to City Council through the Office of the City Clerk. Members serve staggered terms to ensure an overlap of four-year terms and continuity of experience.

The Committee members represent several sectors of the community including municipal government, education, arts and culture, business and citizen volunteers.


Ms. Tina Larocque, Coordinator - Boards, Committees & Special Projects, Office of the City Clerk is the administrative support for the Committee.

For more information about the Sister Cities Program, please contact the Office of the City Clerk at 625-2230.

Twinning Criteria & Policy

City Council will consider Twinning relationships when the following criteria can be met:

  1. Identified similarities and shared characteristics or interests between Thunder Bay and the candidate community
  2. Identified community interest in a relationship from citizens, business community and cultural groups in Thunder Bay identified potential cultural, educational and economic exchanges and interaction between Thunder Bay and the candidate community
  3. Other factors that may affect a decision to twin will include:
  • location and regional proximity of existing twinned communities
  • the number of twinning relationships in place
  • ability, within existing resources, to maintain the relationships with exchange visits at least once in every five years
  • participation in sponsored programs from agencies such as CIDA, CUSO, etc.

The Sister Cities Advisory Committee will evaluate requests to establish twinning relationships, and present its recommendations on the number and selection of sister cities to City Council through an Administrative Corporate Report.

Contact Us