The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) will be following suit with many communities across the country in muting its Canada Day celebrations this year.
“In response to the recent discovery of graves associated with residential schools, we are focusing on reflection rather than celebration this year,” said the TBM Mayor, Alar Soever.
TBM town staff recently took the initiative to consult with the Saugeen Ojibway First Nation on its plans for Canada Day.
“The town is asking the community to use Canada Day as a reflection on the legacy of Canada’s Residential School system and the lasting impact they continue to have on Indigenous communities across Canada,” said Ryan Gibbons, director of community services for TBM.
In recognition of the day, TBM has created 154 at-home activity kits, to honour the country’s 154 birthday.
Each kit contains: A cookie decorating kit with two freshly baked cookies and icing; children’s colouring sheets and crayons; handheld Canadian flags; and an orange ribbon to honour Canada's Indigenous Peoples.
Gibbons added that residents are encouraged to put the ribbon on display to demonstrate their support.
The kits will be available for pick up on June 30 at TBM town hall (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), L.E. Shore Memorial Library (12 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and the Craigleith Heritage Depot (4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
“My hope is that parents will explain the significance of the orange ribbon to their children and that this year's Canada Day will be an opportunity to reflect on our history and move forward in a spirit of true reconciliation,” Soever added.
In addition to the activity kits, TBM invites the community to visit the dedicated memorial located at the area west of town hall near the Riverwalk platform.
“Residents are encouraged to place shoes, letters, or other notable items at the dedicated memorial site to honour the lives of the children found on the grounds of former Residential Schools across the country,” Gibbons added.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca