Today, the City of Toronto commemorates the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which recognizes the ongoing trauma caused by residential and day schools, and remembers those who never returned home, 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, and to affirm that every child matters.
Flags at City Hall, civic centres and other City facilities will fly at half-mast for the day and the Toronto sign will be lit orange to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Survivors’ Flag will also be raised to half-mast at City Hall for the first time. Designed by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, in consultation with survivors from across Canada, this flag is an expression of remembrance meant to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by the residential and day school system in Canada.
The Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre’s two-day Indigenous Legacy Gathering, in collaboration with the City, continues on Nathan Phillips Square today. This annual event acknowledges and honours residential school survivors, as well as the impacts felt across generations. More information is available in the City news release.
From September 30 to October 12, as part of its Awakenings series, Toronto History Museums will present The TRUTH by artist KWEST with Young Elder Philip Cote, Tyrone Edwards and Que Rock with an original soundscape featuring Noah “40” Shebib. This new mobile public art project will make art accessible and available in more than 20 locations, including Fort York National Historic Site from September 30 to October 2 as part of Nuit Blanche. More information is available on the Toronto History Museums webpage.
The City also encourages donations to the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Restoration of Identity Project, led by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. Construction is currently underway for the Spirit Garden in Nathan Phillips Square, expected to be completed in 2024. This peaceful and contemplative space will honour residential school survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities. Information about how to donate is available on Toronto Council Fire’s capital campaign for the Spirit Garden webpage.
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 advancing truth, reconciliation and justice. Its Reconciliation Action Plan, adopted by City Council in April, will guide the City in its actions towards truth, justice and reconciliation during the next 10 years.
The proclamation for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is available on the City’s Proclamations 2022 webpage.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.