In 1960, Sausalito and Viña del Mar became sister cities. To honor this relationship, Sausalito’s main square was named Viña del Mar Plaza. Viña del Mar in return, named its soccer stadium Estadio Sausalito. The huge stadium is adjacent to Parque Sausalito, in the neighborhood called Sausalito. In 1968, renowned Chilean sculptor Sergio Castillo, a native of Viña del Mar, donated a sculpture to Sausalito called “La Hermandad” which means sisterhood in Spanish. It was recently refurbished and stands today in Gabrielson Park along the Sausalito waterfront.
Despite this very auspicious start, for several decades, the Viña del Mar sister city program languished with little attention. The 50th anniversary of the relationship in 2010 prompted a revitalization of the program. Then, in 2011, a delegation from Viña del Mar, including Mayor Virginia Reginato, visited Sausalito. Soon after, a formal (all volunteer) Operations Council was formed and integrated into the non-profit Sausalito Sister City Committee, Inc.
In 2012, then-Sausalito Mayor Herb Weiner traveled to Viña del Mar for a special ceremony in Parque Sausalito where a plaque was dedicated commemorating the sister city relationship. Since then, Sausalito has hosted dignitaries from Viña del Mar, and local delegates from Sausalito have made several trips to Viña del Mar. We have developed a strong relationship with AGEP, a women’s business group based in Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. And as part of our artist exchange, German von Appen from Chile was invited to exhibit at the 2013 Sausalito Art Festival. Plans are now underway to develop an exchange program to bring more artists from Viña del Mar to Sausalito as well as showcasing Sausalito artists in Viña del Mar.
The two cities also have a pen pal program between Willow Creek Academy students in Sausalito and students at Colegio Sagrada Familia in Viña del Mar. This cross-cultural dialogue helps young people become better-informed global citizens.