His Excellency, Maeng-ho Shin, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, and a sizable entourage visited Carleton Place on Tuesday, Oct 8 and in a short time created some substantial bonds with local residents and community leaders. Mayor Doug Black and council members and town staff took their distinguished guest to the home of Sam Bat where they learned about baseball bat crafting, and then to the town cenotaph where legion members and Korean vets joined the ambassador and his staff for a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of those who served in the conflict.
Everyone then proceeded to the town hall’s upper auditorium for a formal reception. There were welcoming comments from Black, area MPP Randy Hillier and Lanark County Warden Richard Kidd. Ambassador Shin took the mike to thank everyone for a very warm reception. He spoke of the unique and close ties that Canada and Korea have enjoyed over the years dating back to 1888 when the first Canadian missionary outposts were established. He noted this relationship is still growing with his country’s students representing the 3rd largest cohort of foreign academics attending Canadian post-secondary institutions and Korea being Canada’s 6th largest export partner.
A series of artistic performances followed, involving a traditional dance, a solo by a 2-string violinist, and an enthusiastic number by an energetic troupe of drummers, all receiving appreciation from a very engaged audience. Afterwards guests were treated to a buffet of traditional Korean dishes before closing out the afternoon with council and committee of the whole meetings.