New park signage, orange crosswalk in Burlington to commemorate Truth and Reconciliation day

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Published September 29, 2022 at 3:56 pm

The City of Burlington is highlighting some of the things they’re doing this week to recognize Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous people and Canada’s true history.

The most recent actions taken include installing the new park sign for Sweetgrass Park and orange crosswalk at Lakeshore Road and Nelson Avenue.

“These steps are to acknowledge and start conversations about Canada’s past,” said Chris Glenn, director of Recreation, Community and Culture.

“Only when we work together can we learn and move forward as a community, city and country.”

Council approved the name of Sweetgrass Park to rename Ryerson Park (565 Woodview Rd.) at the beginning of this year. Sweetgrass is one of the sacred medicines to many First Nations. It is used as a purification medicine in ceremony to purify and to heal.

Residents were asked to submit names that reflect equity, diversity and inclusion consistent with today’s standards. More than 500 names were submitted.

A committee made up of City staff, Indigenous leaders and community stakeholders selected three options from the submitted names and a fourth naming option was added from Indigenous Elder Stephen Paquette (Sweetgrass Park).

Ryerson Park was named after Egerton Ryerson for his contributions to the Ontario education system, however, Ryerson was also instrumental in the design of Canada’s residential school system. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded this assimilation amounted to the genocide of Indigenous people.

The orange crosswalk installed today (Thursday, Sept. 29) at Nelson Ave. and Lakeshore Rd. is in honour of the children of the residential school system. The crosswalk acknowledges the strength and survival of residential school survivors, and honours the victims, their families and communities.

The crosswalk is phase one of a larger public art project that is being installed with support from a grant from the Hamilton Halton Brant Tourism Relief Fund.

Tomorrow, Sept. 30, the Every Child Matters flag will be raised at Burlington City Hall and the Brant Street Pier will be lit orange in the evening to recognize Orange Shirt Day.

On Sept. 30, Canada marks the observance of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, following the identification of unmarked burials at former Indian Residential School sites.

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