Corp Comm Connects

Newmarket Truth and Reconciliation event to honour lost children and survivors of residential schools

Gathering, featuring songs and storytelling, planned by town and Indigenous partners
Sept. 27, 2021
Lisa Queen

Remembering the past, honouring the survivors, walking the future together.

That’s the theme of a Truth and Reconciliation event the Town of Newmarket is holding in collaboration with Indigenous partners on Sept. 30.

Being held on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the community gathering will honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

The event will include storytelling and song delivered by members of the Indigenous community, the town said in a statement.

Afterwards, attendees are encouraged to walk along the Nokiidaa Trail (Nokiidaa is an Ojibwa term meaning ‘walking together’), to the bridge by the town hall at 395 Mulock Dr. to view a commemorative Indigenous art installation on the bridge.

Everyone is encouraged to walk in reflection with a commitment to reconciliation.

“On this day, and every day, we need to remember and reflect on our past - the very painful and tragic history of the residential school system and the unimaginable impact this has had on our Indigenous communities,” Mayor John Taylor said.

“We need to continue to come together to do more, do better and to create a path forward with truth and reconciliation leading the way.”

The event will be held Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Fairy Lake amphitheatre.

Parking is available at Fairy Lake, along the Nokiida Trail or at the town hall.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect.

Residents attending the event are encouraged to wear orange shirts, as part of the Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those who did not.

This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation.

On her first day of school, she dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her.

It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

Wearing an orange shirt raises awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, honour the thousands of children whose lives were lost and offers support to those who survived but continue to experience trauma to this day.

Last year, Newmarket installed a permanent land acknowledgement plaque at the town hall to demonstrate appreciation to all Indigenous people for sharing the Newmarket lands with the community.

The plaque serves as a permanent reminder that Newmarket sits on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Haudeno-saunee and the Anishinaabe peoples and treaty land of the Williams Treaties First Nations and other Indigenous people.

Leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the town hosted an internal orange hat fundraiser that raised more than $2,000.

All proceeds will be donated to Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag, Child and Family Services, an organization that was selected in collaboration with the Chippewas of Georgina Island, “our closest Indigenous neighbours and friends,” the town said.

Those interested in supporting this organization can visit