Portsmouth becomes sister city of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada

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FORMAL sister city status between Portsmouth and the coastal Canadian city of Halifax was established on Thursday (January 19) with the cities’ mayors meeting at the Guildhall to sign a formal agreement.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Hugh Mason met the mayor of Halifax Mike Savage in the middle of the latter’s UK visit, saying the new partnership ‘made sense’ given the similarities between the two maritime cities.

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‘We are two cities that share a lot of similarities: we are two naval cities and we both have universities – there are a lot of commonalities,’ said Mr Savage.

‘This has been a process that has taken some time but we wanted to make sure the partnership was right before agreeing it. We want this to be mutually beneficial, we have companies doing business in both cities and hope to build on this.’

Cllr Mason said these links made sister city status a ‘sensible’ decision and hoped it would boost advanced manufacturing in Portsmouth.

A return journey by a future lord mayor of Portsmouth is planned but has yet to be finalised.

He also said he hoped a planned twinning link with Cape Town, that was first revealed last year, would be signed off in the coming months.

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On Thursday, Mr Savage was given a tour of the city on the second-to-last day of a four-day visit during which he met with political and business leaders alongside Nancy Phillips, the vice president of investment and international partnerships at the investment organisation Halifax Partnerships.

Halifax is the home of Canada’s east coast naval base and hosts a range of defence firms, including BAE Systems.

Scott Jamieson, the managing director of of the firm’s maritime services business, worked in the city for 10 years before moving to Portsmouth. He said both cities were of ‘strategic importance’ to the company and welcomed efforts to foster closer links.

‘There are a lot of similarities between the two cities and it’s great to see them working together like this,’ he said. ‘Portsmouth and Halifax are both growing cities with lots of opportunities for business.’

Councillor Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for economic development said there would be regular meetings between representatives of the two cities in the future.