Here's how you can commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Day across B.C.

Members of the Squamish First Nation hold a ceremony in remembrance of the 215 children discovered at the former Kamloops Residential School outside of St. Paul's Church on the Squamish Mission Reserve in North Vancouver on May 31, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Members of the Squamish First Nation hold a ceremony in remembrance of the 215 children discovered at the former Kamloops Residential School outside of St. Paul's Church on the Squamish Mission Reserve in North Vancouver on May 31, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

National Truth and Reconciliation Day is being recognized as a statutory holiday in B.C. for the first time this year.

Also known as Orange Shirt Day, the day of recognition is based on a grassroots campaign founded by Phyllis Webstad, whose orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at St. Joseph's Mission Residential School near Williams Lake.

Sept. 30 is a day to honour residential school survivors, acknowledge the damage caused by the residential school system, open up the dialogue about reconciliation and to celebrate Indigenous culture.

However, as a relatively new national holiday, how to recognize Sept. 30 is still up for discussion, according to Ginger Gosnell-Myers, a decolonization and urban Indigenous planning fellow at Simon Fraser University.

For Indigenous people, who are still dealing with the legacy of residential schools, Gosnell-Myers said National Truth and Reconciliation Day could be a day for healing, connecting to culture and honouring loved ones who didn't make it back home.

"[We need] to ensure that we do get this day right, that we are hearing from Indigenous Peoples what Indigenous Peoples need," she told Jodie Martinson, guest host of CBC's The Early Edition.

For those who aren't Indigenous, Gosnell-Myers says the day could be spent learning about Indigenous cultures and histories.

"We still have a lot of negative stereotypes against Indigenous Peoples in this country, we still have a lot of discrimination, so the day is needed," she said.

Many schools, businesses, and services will be closed on Monday because the statutory holiday falls on a Saturday this year.

What is opened and closed for Truth and Reconciliation Day

  • Canada Post will be closed on Monday, Oct. 2 with no collection or delivery of mail on that day.

  • Public schools from K-12 across the province will be closed on Monday in observance of Truth and Reconciliation Day.

  • Banks are closed on Monday.

  • B.C. Transit will be operating on its regular service on the Saturday and Monday.

  • TransLink buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus will operate on its usual schedule over the weekend. The West Coast Express will not operate on Saturday or Monday.

Here are some of the events you can attend across the province to mark the day.

Metro Vancouver

An Orange Shirt Day walk in East Vancouver will begin at the Aboriginal Community Policing Centre on Franklin Street around 9 a.m. on Saturday and will proceed to Grandview Park. There, a ceremony and celebration will take place until 2 p.m., featuring a drum circle, crafting, culture-sharing and food.

A free art workshop is being held by All My Relations, an Indigenous podcast team, at Place des Arts in Coquitlam from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free, but registering online in advance is recommended.

A march down Main Mall at the University of British Columbia on Orange Shirt Day in 2022.
A march down Main Mall at the University of British Columbia on Orange Shirt Day in 2022.

A large group of people march down Main Mall at the University of British Columbia on Orange Shirt Day in 2022. (Murray Titus/CBC)

The Semiahmoo First Nation is hosting their annual walk for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday. It begins at the Robert Charles Plaza at Semiahmoo Park in White Rock at 11 a.m. The event includes a walk, performances, food, children's activities, and Indigenous vendors.

Whistler

In Whistler, people can visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre on Saturday for a full day of programming, including speakers and cultural activities, like immersive crafts and carving demonstration. Admission is free for the day.

Vancouver Island 

A powwow held by the Songhees First Nation in Victoria on Saturday will celebrate Indigenous culture. Starting at 10 a.m., the event will feature traditional song and dance, local vendors, and bannock.

Orange shirts are placed on the front steps of the B.C. legislature in Sept. 2022 in memory of the children who died at the Indian Residential Schools.
Orange shirts are placed on the front steps of the B.C. legislature in Sept. 2022 in memory of the children who died at the Indian Residential Schools.

Orange shirts are placed on the front steps of the B.C. Legislature in Sept. 2022 in memory of the children who died at the Indian Residential Schools. (Ken Mizokoshi/CBC)

The Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni will commemorate both Orange Shirt Day and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Alberni Indian Residential School in a Saturday celebration. It starts with a walk from the Barclay Hotel at 11 a.m. and ends at the Maht Mahs Gym with food, crafts and cultural activities.

Northern B.C.

In Prince George, the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation and UHNBC traditional drummers are hosting a "walk and talk" at the Canada Games Plaza. It will open with a prayer at 10 a.m. followed by speakers, music and cultural performances.

Pair of children's shoes with orange laces that form part of  small memorial outside the Kamloops Indian Residential School on 20 Sep 2021,
Pair of children's shoes with orange laces that form part of small memorial outside the Kamloops Indian Residential School on 20 Sep 2021,

A pair of children's shoes with orange laces form part of a small memorial outside the Kamloops Indian Residential School on Sept. 20, 2021. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Ongoing events will take place at the Williams Lake Stampede grounds between Sept. 27 and Sept. 30. Activities include wagon rides, sacred fire, food trucks, vendors, crafts and more. There will be a free pancake breakfast on Saturday morning for the first 800 guests.

Interior

The Syilx Okanagan Nation in Penticton is holding a two-kilometre walk for reconciliation, departing the Safeway Parking lot at 10 a.m. and ending at the SIRS Monument outside the Penticton hatchery on En'owkin Trail.

A group sings a healing song at Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc marking the one year anniversary of the discovery of potential burial sites at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia on Monday, May 23, 2022.
A group sings a healing song at Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc marking the one year anniversary of the discovery of potential burial sites at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia on Monday, May 23, 2022.

A group sings a healing song at Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc, marking the one-year anniversary of the discovery of potential burial sites at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops on May 23, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Thompson Rivers University and Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc are holding an event open to all students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Grand Hall on Friday, the event will feature speakers and a drum circle.