Princess Ayako of Takamado visits Lethbridge’s Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden to celebrate milestone

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WATCH: With dignitaries and a member of the imperial family on hand, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden celebrated their 50th birthday in style on Friday. A number of performances were held, and the gardens were designated a municipal and provincial historical site – Jul 14, 2017

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday, highlighted by royalty visiting the grounds.

Just like the inaugural celebration and 25th anniversary, a representative of the Japanese imperial family came to the event.

This time it was Princess Ayako of Takamado, following in her fathers foot-steps who made trips to Lethbridge before her.

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“He always said that it was in Canada that he learned the true meaning of living together in harmony and importance of respecting different cultural traditions and values,” the princess said.

The event featured a number of performances, including a dance not seen in the area for 25 years.

“We had the maple leaf in our right hand and the cherry blossoms in our left to symbolize Canada and Japan and the friendship between the two countries,” dance instructor Hisae Pirce said.

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“The connections between Japan and Canadian Japanese immigrants… is just tremendous,” said Charles McCleary, the president of the Lethbridge and District Japanese Garden Society.

The legacy of Nikka Yuko grew even more Friday when it was announced that the Japanese gardens is now a municipal and provincial historical site.

“The Nikka Yuko Japanses Garden today is a living monument to the strong friendship between our two nations,” the princess said.