The City of Fredericton will be honouring the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by painting two crosswalks orange.
City crews are working with community members at St. Mary's First Nations to install the two Indigenous crosswalks for Thursday, Sept. 30 — a day to recognize and reflect on the legacy of residential schools in Canada.
"We don't want it to be treated like a holiday but rather a day of reflection and remembering," said Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers.
One crosswalk is along Queen Street outside City Hall, and the other is along Maliseet Drive in front of Chief Harold Sappier Memorial Elementary School.
It was decided to paint over the rainbow crosswalk downtown now that the Fredericton Pride celebrations have finished for the year.
The downtown location is also a popular spot for pedestrians and drivers.
"It's really just another opportunity to put something in place to cause people to pause and reflect," Rogers said.
Sept. 30 is also recognized across Canada as Orange Shirt Day, as it was the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their families to attend residential schools. The recognition is part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action.
"I think it's critical that we show our commitment to that process," she said.
Truth and Reconciliation Day will also be a municipal holiday for city staff in Fredericton after council voted unanimously in favour of honouring the federal holiday earlier this month.
"This symbolic gesture is just one step among many we intend to take on our long road toward reconciliation," the city said in a Facebook post.
City hall will be lit up with orange lights from Monday to Thursday. A Wolastoqey flag will be raised on Thursday, the 30th, and staff will be given orange T-shirts to wear in honour of the memory of children who were sent away to residential schools.
"We want to make this day real for people," Rogers said. "We want it to be front of mind."