This triangular association was formed in 1985 to develop understanding, friendship and support between the citizens of the Canterbury area, Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) in the USA and Vladimir in what was then the USSR.

The link attracted national attention in 1988 when promoting a world-first school pupil exchange with the Soviet Union. Links have since been established between academic institutions in each city. Over the years choirs, musicians, folk singers, artists, photographers, dancers and sports enthusiasts have visited each others’ countries. There have also been numerous exchanges or study visits by professionals and association members, and several civic delegations have travelled between the three countries.

In 2010 the Best Lane garden in the heart of the city was re-dedicated as the Three Cities Garden.