The City will mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
On this day, we recognize the ongoing trauma caused by residential and day schools, and remember those who were lost, survivors and their families. It is also an opportunity to commit to the process of truth, reconciliation and justice with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Toronto and across Canada, as well as take action to heal and build a better future together.
This holiday was proposed in 2015 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.”
This built on Indigenous community efforts, which established Orange Shirt Day in 2013 to honour “Phyllis’ story,” whose new orange shirt was taken on her first day at residential school when she was just six years old.
To mark the day, flags at City Hall and civic centres will be lowered to half-mast and the Toronto sign will be lit orange on September 30.
Reconciliation is the responsibility of every Canadian. It means acknowledging the past and ensuring history never repeats itself by respecting Indigenous treaties and rights, and letting go of negative perceptions and stereotypes to work towards solidarity. Reflect on how you can work towards reconciliation in your own life and create your own personal reconciliation plan.
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. 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