TORONTO, ON, Sept. 30, 2021 – Today, Mayor John Tory proclaimed September 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the city of Toronto, a day to recognize the ongoing trauma caused by residential and day schools, and to remember those who were lost, their families and survivors. It is also an opportunity to commit to the process of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Toronto and across Canada.
The City also recognizes September 30 as Orange Shirt Day, which began as an Indigenous grassroots effort in 2013 to reflect on the history and harmful legacy of residential and day schools in Canada, as well as affirm that every child matters.
The City’s commemorations are guided by consultations with Indigenous leaders, community members and Indigenous City staff who encouraged a strong focus on public education. As such, today the City’s social media channels will be dedicated to sharing information, supports and resources to educate and encourage the advancement of truth, reconciliation and justice.
What is Toronto doing for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
In addition, flags at City Hall, civic centres and other City facilities are flying at half-mast for the day and the Toronto sign will be lit orange this evening to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The City also encourages donations to the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Restoration of Identity Project, led by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, which will see the construction of the Spirit Garden in Nathan Phillips Square. This peaceful and contemplative space will honour residential school survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities. The IRSS Restoration of Identity Project responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 82 and aligns with the City’s commitments to Indigenous Peoples. Its expected completion date is late 2023. Donations to Toronto Council Fire’s capital campaign for the Spirit Garden can be made online.
Additional resources, supports and information about National Day for Reconciliation are available on the City’s website .
Toronto Residents Encouraged To Learn More
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice
- Visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website
- Learn about residential schools and take a tour of former sites, such as those offered by the Woodland Cultural Centre
- Learn about Mohawk Village Memorial Park , which will honour the children who attended the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School, which operated from 1834 to 1970
- Research First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in your area to understand their history and contributions to society
- Honour treaties – visit ontario.ca/page/treaties and native-land.ca
- Learn about the significance of land acknowledgements and learn the one in your area “Land acknowledgements: uncovering an oral history of Tkaronto ,” via Local Love
- Access the Indigenous Resource Guide curated by NSCC Libraries
- Explore Two Spirit and LGBTQIA Indigenous Resources, via University of Toronto Libraries
How To Give
- Donate to Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Restoration of Identity Project and Spirit Garden at Nathan Phillips Square, led by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre in partnership with the City of Toronto
- Support or volunteer for local Indigenous organizations or causes
How To Participate in Toronto
- Wear orange on September 30 for Orange Shirt Day, established by the Orange Shirt Society in 2013 to honour “Phyllis’s story “
- Buy an orange shirt from an Indigenous artist or company that supports Indigenous causes, such as Old’s Cool General Store (which directs proceeds to Anishnawbe Health Toronto) or directly through the Orange Shirt Society
- Attend Indigenous cultural events open to the public, such as:
- Sept. 25, 12 p.m. – Native Child and Family Services of Toronto 24th Annual Community Pow Wow , livestreamed via Facebook Live
- Sept. 27 – 30 – Truth and Reconciliation Week public events through the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Sept. 29, 7 p.m. – Shining a light on the Indian Residential School Legacy : an evening of teaching with Sandra Campbell, presented by Toronto Urban Native Ministry ($10, registration required)
- Sept. 30 – The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund President and CEO, Sarah Midanik, hosts a virtual discussion to explore this new day of reflection, the significance of September 30, what this means for reconciliation in Canada and how to participate meaningfully
- Sept. 30, 8 a.m. – StreetARToronto: TRUTH Before Reconciliation livestream with Elder Whabagoon (Lac Seul First Nation), Artist Que Rock (Nippissing First Nation) and Barbara Gray (City of Toronto, Transportation Services), via Instagram
- Sept. 30, 10 a.m. – Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance : A national gathering to remember Indigenous children and families affected by Indian Residential Schools and all Indigenous child apprehension programs, which will be livestreamed
- Sept. 30, 11 a.m. – In the Spirit of Reconciliation : Georgian College, in partnership with Indigenous Services, presents a virtual conversation with Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Honourary Witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Hearings, about what post-secondary institutions can do to honour the spirit of reconciliation
- Sept. 30, 2 p.m. – Hart House Orange Shirt Day 2021 virtual event , featuring keynote address by Lee Maracle (free, registration required)
- Sept. 30 – Oct. 3: Rising Hearts virtual 5K Remembrance Run
- Read books – the Toronto Public Library curated a list of Indigenous must-reads
- Watch films and documentaries that reflect on the residential school experience – the National Film Board of Canada offers a rich collection of Indigenous-made films
- Support local Indigenous artists and businesses
- Support the reclamation of identity, language and culture , learn greetings/phrases in Indigenous languages, or explore Hart House’s Indigenous Language Exhibit
- Watch Toronto History Museums’ Awakenings programming, which includes short films by Indigenous filmmakers Alexandra Lazarowich and Jonathan Elliott
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was proposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which under Action 80 called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to establish a statutory holiday to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The City is committed to truth, reconciliation and justice. Its first Reconciliation Action Plan is currently in development, which will build upon the City’s existing Commitments to Indigenous peoples. These commitments and priority calls to action are available here .
SOURCE City of Toronto