Rio de Janeiro is on the list of 10 cities that are part of the City’s International Alliance Program, a program that seeks to strengthen economic, cultural and multicultural ties with the City of Toronto.
by Maya Gasparoto
The agreement was signed by the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, and by the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory. The ceremony in Toronto was attended by Pedro Paulo Carvalho Teixeira, the Executive Secretary of Government Management in Rio and representative of Mayor Eduardo Paes. Other attendees included the then Consul-General of Brazil in Toronto, Ambassador José Vicente de Sá Pimentel and Toronto City Councillors Ana Bailão, Michael Thompson and Cesar Palacio.
Councillor Ana Bailão was responsible for initiating the agreement between Toronto and Rio de Janeiro. In a post election 2012 interview with Wave, she stated that she realized there was a city missing from the list of 10 participating in the alliance with Toronto. Bailão said that the only other city in South America that was part of the list was Quito, Ecuador, and there were many reasons for a closer relationship between Toronto and Rio de Janeiro.
“I began to establish a relationship with some Brazilian cities because our federal and provincial governments were making major investments in the country. In addition, Brazil is the sixth largest investor in Canada. We also used to have very close relations in mining, as well as being the number one destination for Brazilian students who want to learn English.”
The Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the Pan American Games, also boosted the signing of the agreement. “Brazil was the official site for the Pan American Games in 2007 and will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016. When we were preparing for the Pan American Games, we thought this approach would be important to see what we could learn from each other. ”
The concept of “Twin Cities” or “friendly cities” refers to cities located in different countries but which have similarities. These similarities allow urban centres to create a type of kinship. Relationships and cooperative ties are developed mainly at the economic and cultural levels.
Councillor Ana Bailão said that a better relationship between Brazil with Canada, the exchange of information and greater collaboration are very positive points of the agreement.
“Every year, our Invest Toronto team goes to Brazil at least twice and works with the Chamber of Commerce. It also helps Canadian companies that want to go to Brazil. The attraction of investments and businesses create better conditions and more business for our countries. ”
With the completion of the agreement, Rio de Janeiro became the first city to become Toronto’s sister in the last ten years. Quito (Ecuador) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) were the last two to receive this status in 2006. In addition to Rio de Janeiro, the following cities are part of the City’s International Alliance Program: Chicago (United States), Chongqing (China), Frankfurt (Germany), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Kiev (Ukraine), Milan (Italy), Quito (Ecuador), Sagamihara (Japan) and Warsaw (Poland).