And to mark February 14, the most romantic day of the year, we rounded up 14 reasons to love Sunderland, from its proud industrial heritage to its award-winning coastline and landmark structures.
1. Our industrial heritage
Wearside's rich industrial history has left its mark and made Sunderland the city it is today. The River Wear was once at the heart of the shipbuilding industry and helped Sunderland become the biggest shipbuilding town in the world at one stage. Pictured here from our archives are identical twins George, left and Arthur Bulmer tipping their caps in farewell on their retirement from the Southwick shipyard of Austin and Pickersgill on April 27, 1974.
Photo: Sunderland Echo
2. Roker Pier
In 2018 Historic Roker Pier was named as one of the top 10 piers in the world. Readers of The Guardian put the Grade II-listed pier up alongside piers in California, Western Australia, Thailand, Cuba, South Africa, Holland, two piers in Poland and closer to home, Clevedon in Somerset as their favourites. The pier and lighthouse was hailed as a triumph of Victorian engineering when it first opened in the early 1900s. Built between 1885 and 1903 by Henry Hay Wake who was Chief Engineer with the River Wear Commissioners, its beam of light was reputedly visible 15 miles out to sea. The pier tunnel and lighthouse was given a new lease of life recently following a £2.5million restoration by the city council, funded with the help of the National Lottery.
Photo: Frank Reid
3. SAFC - and its fans
At times it can be heartbreaking, but being an SAFC fan can also bring moments of pure elation. The passion of the club's fans has been immortalised in Netflix series Sunderland 'Til I Die bringing the city's love of its club to a global audience.
Photo: Frank Reid
4. Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
With a history dating back to 1846, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens has been at the heart of Sunderland's cultural activity for decades. As well as permanent attractions, such as the biggest collection of LS Lowry works outside of Salford and Sunderland icon Wallace the Lion, it plays host to big name touring collections and is often chosen over more high-profile galleries to host such works. Recent successes have included Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry's Vanity of Small Differences which attracted 123,000 visitors in 2013 and Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing in 2019 which featured 12 sketches from the Italian Master.
Photo: JPI Media