Updated: Jun 12, 2019
In 2018 the city of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and the city of Port of Spain, in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their successful sister-city Twinning relationship.
The Twinning concept was pioneered by Philip Atteck of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies as a result of a visit he paid to Canada on a promotional tour for Air Canada. (Philip’s grandfather, Chan a Tak, emigrated to Trinidad from China 155 years ago, in 1852.)
Since the official Twinning of Port of Spain and St. Catharines in 1968, literally over a thousand citizens of these cities have made the journey to visit their counterparts. Many firm friendships have ensued.
Each successive Mayor of St. Catharines, with one exception, has led a delegation to visit Port of Spain during their term in office.
The first president of the St. Catharines Twinning Association was Dr. John Mayer de Berncastle, Professor of Philosophy at Brock University. Brock University’s Biology and Geology Department conducted three field trips for their students to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Brock University, situated in St. Catharines, now offers an annual full-tuition Twinning scholarship to a Trinidadian student. This scholarship was established for the 40th anniversary of Twinning and is still being offered today.
To date, five Trinidadian students have graduated with Brock University Bachelor’s degrees, four more are presently on this scholarship, one in each year of study.
Several useful business connections have resulted from the Twinning of these two cities.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary, Philip Atteck, the founder of this Twinning, produced two large hard-cover scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, reports, photographs, and other memorabilia of the Twinning exercise.
During Civic Receptions in each city, one book was presented to the Mayor of St. Catharines, the other book was presented to the Mayor of Port of Spain.
Each of these books weighs eighteen pounds. In St. Catharines, the book is on permanent display situated on a custom-built table in the hallway outside the Mayor’s office on the 3rd floor of City Hall.
In the year 1993, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago issued a commemorative stamp to mark the 25th anniversary of this Twinning.
A picture of the iconic lighthouse in Port of Spain was featured on the stamp.
An application is being made to Canada Post Corporation asking that a Canadian stamp be issued to commemorate this historic 50th anniversary. We hope this will be possible.
Applications are now being accepted for folks to join a delegation from St. Catharines to Port of Spain in February, 2018, for the official 50th anniversary tour.
Please visit the website: Twinning.ca for further information.