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'Painful legacy': Aurora to reflect on residential schools, Indigenous reconciliation at Sept. 30 event

Events at Town Park will feature ceremonies, presentations, song, dance and sacred fire
Sept. 27, 2021
Lisa Queen

Reflection and meaningful discussions about the impacts of residential schools and Indigenous reconciliation will be part of Aurora’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation gathering Sept. 30.

Residents are invited to the event at the Town Park at 49 Wells St. on Sept. 30 from 4 to 8 p.m.

From 4 to 6 p.m., the Aurora Cultural Centre will have Jared Big Canoe from Georgina Island lead the recognition and acknowledgement of the historic day through traditional ceremony, reflections, songs and dance.

From 6 to 8 p.m., the town's portion of the event will feature a ceremony, a presentation and a sacred fire led by Anishinaabe Grandmother Kim Wheatley, Elder Pat Floody and Ancestral Knowledge Keeper Raiden Levesque.

“We all have a role to play in reconciliation and it starts here, it starts now,” Mayor Tom Mrakas said.

“We can listen, learn and support the healing of Indigenous peoples suffering from the painful legacy of the residential school system. And most importantly, we can commit to doing better.”

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day to educate Canadians about the history of residential schools and to honour the survivors, their families and communities.

Sept. 30 is also being celebrated as Orange Shirt Day, which started to commemorate the experience of Phyllis Webstad who at six years old was stripped of her new orange shirt on her first day of attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, B.C.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed at the event.

Parking is limited, so residents are urged to carpool when possible.

For more information about the Cultural Centre's portion of the event, visit

For more information about the town's portion of the event, visit or call 905-726-4762.