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Worldly Relations: Inspired by Canada and China

Travel with us to the final two of Phoenix’s sister cities.

By Tyler Peckham

In 1972, Phoenix joined the national Sister City movement in an effort to connect culturally and diplomatically with other municipalities around the world. Forty-six years later, we have flourishing relationships with 10 “sisters”: Hermosillo, Mexico; Himeji, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; Chengdu, China; Ennis, Ireland; Grenoble, France; Calgary, Canada; Catania, Italy; Ramar Gat, Israel; and Prague, Czech Republic. For past months, we have journeyed far and wide, and now we bring you our final two sister cities and their lifestyle inspirations for your home.

Chengdu, China

Sister City since 1976

The capital city of the Sichuan province, Chengdu is bustling with people, culture and business. Awash with rich colors and traditional Chinese architecture, the city boasts a sleek, modern skyline.

A cosmopolitan city with vibrant culture and nightlife, Chengdu has become a favorite destination of travelers worldwide.

The Asian paper art form of origami was inspiration for Cave Creek-based artist Mark Carroll in his “Peace Crane” sculpture series. 64″H by 22″L by 48″W. $6,500 (

Sichuan-Hibiscus Gin and Tonic

Sichuan peppercorns
1 ½ ounce Bombay Sapphire gin
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce hibiscus simple syrup (see recipe)
Tonic water
Hibiscus Simple Syrup
Add two cups of water and one cup of sugar to saucepan. Heat until the ingredients are dissolved. Add a handful of dried hibiscus flowers and let steep until a deep red color. Strain and cool until ready for use.

Sichuan Peppercorn Infused Gin
Toast a handful of peppercorns in a saucepan until fragrant. Pour 12 ounces of Bombay Sapphire into a lidded glass container with peppercorns and steep for a maximum of two hours until pale yellow in color, then strain.

Pour a small amount of absinthe into a Tom Collins glass and swirl to coat the inside. Add Sichuan peppercorn-infused gin, hibiscus simple syrup and lemon juice and shake with ice. Strain and pour over fresh ice. Top with tonic water. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

A staple of cuisine in Chengdu, the Sichuan pepper numbs the mouth, evoking a spicy tang. This cocktail pairs the Asian flavors of Sichuan and hibiscus with the floral taste of gin for a creative take on a classic gin and tonic.

Chengdu is one of many cities along the Silk Road where traders from the East and West met to sell their wares. Brian Timmer’s silk scarf depicts the artist’s view of Scottsdale. 80″L by 28″W. $58 (

Reminiscent of Chengdu’s nickname “Brocade City,” the bright red hue of this fabric symbolizes good fortune in Asian culture. $88/yard (

Calgary, Canada

Sister City since 1997

With year-round sunshine, two major rivers, the Canadian Rockies, and a deep-rooted history in agriculture, Calgary is one of the most livable cities in the world. Calgarians are in tune with their environment and have reserved many open spaces in the city for recreation and sport.

Crossing the Bow River, the Peace Bridge accommodates both pedestrians and cyclists.

The bright orange hue and modern construction of the Uptown Server bar cart call to mind the Peace Bridge, designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which connects downtown Calgary with Sunnyside, a waterfront suburb community. $1,419 (

With an average of 332 days of blue skies per year, Calgary is Canada’s sunniest city. This Fredrick Ramond light fixture melds the luminescence of sunshine with the shape of winter ski slopes, a favorite sport among Calgarians. 18″H by 21″D. $2,834 (

Calgary has a long history as an agribusiness hub, evidenced by its popular Calgary Stampede, the annual rodeo that earned the city its “Cowtown” nickname. These luxuriously soft cowhide pillows are available in a variety different colors, styles and sizes, ranging from 18″ square to 22″ square. $595-$795 (

The natural landscape pointillism piece by Calgarian artist Jim Pescott entitled “Along the Bow” showcases the beauty of the river that runs through the city. 18″H by 24″W. $1,380 (


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