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The crowning jewel for Lethbridge's summer celebrations

​​​​The City of Lethbridge is proud to host Her Imperial Highness Princess Ayako of Takamado from Japan, July 14-15. Along with celebrating Canada 150, the Princess will also help commemorate the 50th anniversary of both the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden and the University of Lethbridge.

"We were thrilled to learn that Princess Ayako will be coming to visit Lethbridge in just a few short weeks," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "This is wonderful news that highlights the significance of the milestones we are celebrating this summer for both our country and our community."

Along with the Royal visit, Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell will also visit Lethbridge. Nikka Yuko staff and volunteers have been busy planning a celebration entitled Experience the Friendship to be held July 14-15. The presence of these honoured guests will greatly boost to the profile of this exciting event.

Princess Ayako has accepted Lethbridge's request to visit after Mayor Spearman and a Lethbridge delegation delivered an invitation, in person, while visiting the Japanese Imperial Palace last February.

During her visit, Princess Ayako will partake in various activities including an official tour of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. She will also enjoy the Nikkei Cultural Society's Bon Odori Dance and be the guest of honour at the Experience the Friendship banquet at the ENMAX Centre.

"It is an honour to be able to share the Garden with Princess Ayako," says Charles McCleary, Chairman of the Board, Lethbridge and District Japanese Garden Society. "What better way to celebrate our 50th anniversary than with Japanese Royalty. We hope the community will come out and celebrate this significant event with us."

Members of the Japanese Imperial family also attended the opening of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in 1967 and the 25th Anniversary in 1992.

While visiting Lethbridge, Princess Ayako will also spend time at the University of Lethbridge.

"The U of L is very honoured to have the opportunity to host Princess Ayako," says Janice Varzari, Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge. "The University has formal connections with nine universities in Japan including a special 36 year relationship with Hokkai Gakuen University in Sapporo Hokkaido, and this visit will be a significant part of our 50th anniversary celebrations."

Along with the Royal visit, residents can enjoy a long list of entertainment and cultural activities including Canadian singer Amanda Marshall in concert July 14. For more information on all of the Experience the Friendship events visit

Media Contact:
Michelle Day
Executive Director, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden
Phone: (403) 328-3511​