If diplomatic relations were as easy as Facebook, Port Moody would have "friended" Bridgetown by now.
But instead, the marrying of Port Moody to the capital of Barbados in an official "friendship city partnership" will take some time.
David Spence of the Port Moody Commemorative Society first raised the friendship city idea at Port Moody city council more than a year ago and has been the engine behind joining the two distant cities in ceremony, separated as they are by culture and a continent - though linked by a single, significant man.
"What we have in common with Bridgetown is this one persona in our histories and we're really trying to build on that," Spence told The Tri-City News on Wednesday.
He's referring to Col. Richard Clement Moody, the Barbadian-born commander of the British Royal Engineers, first lieutenant governor of the Colony of B.C., and the man for whom the city was named.
At the final meeting of PoMo city council before the summer break, a vote was taken in favour of considering two options from a list of many that Spence provided council on some potential approaches the city might take in courting the Caribbean city.
It was moved and approved at the July 26 meeting that two of those options should be pursued when council returns next month from its summer break. First among them is that the mayor should write to officials in Bridgetown to open discussions about a friendship city agreement between the two port towns and that, should that invitation be favourably received, a city councillor and staffer conduct a conference call with Bridgetown politicians to establish terms and conditions of the friendship agreement.
Second, council would de directed to endorse the friendship city relationship and refer the concept to Port Moody's Centennial Steering Committee to develop a plan to tie in the new friendship agreement with Port Moody's year-long centennial celebrations in 2013.
"The advantages for Port Moody would be similar to those of Barbados, which would be a greater awareness of Port Moody as a community on the international scene," said Spence, who has twice met with the Barbadian high commissioner in Ottawa, Evelyn Greaves, about the friendship city plan.
"He was enthused about the possibility. He could see the economic advantages particularly, with tourism and cultural exchanges with us," Spence said.
In an interview with The Tri-City News, the Barbadian honorary consul to B.C., Marilyn Moseley, said she believed the friendship agreement was a good idea from the start.
"I just jumped right in because I saw it as the perfect opportunity for Barbados," Moseley said. "In terms of exposure, it would benefit both places with tourism and we would get returns in advertising and promotion of the island and Barbados would do the same for Port Moody."
While many cities engage in sister-city agreements, a friendship agreement is similar, but less formal and less costly, Moseley said.
"David [Spence] and I had explored the sister city possibility but there's a lot more work involved and, nationally, there's a lot more money poured into it," she said.
According to historical record, it was under Col. Moody's direction that, in 1861, the Royal Engineers built the wagon road - what would eventually be called North Road - from New Westminster to what would later become Port Moody. The city was not officially incorporated until 1913, hence its 2013 centennial.
The year 2013 also marks an important milestone in the history of Moody's namesake and might be one that the friendship cities could exploit, according to Spence. It will mark the 200th anniversary of Col. Richard Moody's birth in 1813.