Pickering building orange crosswalk to honour the lost children of residential schools

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Published October 1, 2021 at 10:15 am

Pickering will be getting its first orange crosswalk later this fall to honour the lost children, the survivors and their families, and the communities affected by the residential school system.

City Council approved the installation Monday, with construction expected to begin this month.

The City has been working with the Indigenous Relationship Building Circle (IRBC) on the idea and the motion to create the commemorative crosswalk was passed unanimously.

“I wanted to put forward this project to commemorate all of the Indigenous children stolen from their families, and forced to attend residential schools,” said Stephanie Bourque of the IRBC. “When assisting with the memorial outside of City Hall, when the 215 indigenous child bodies were found, we heard from the local indigenous community how important it was to have a place for them to gather, reflect, and grieve.”

“When we were taking the memorial apart to gather the shoes to donate to a reserve, another community member, Jocelyne Pelletier, and I began discussing how it would be nice to have something more permanent to recognize this. Together, Jocelyne and I have spent the last four years working with our kids to teach them about our indigenous heritage and how important our voices are. This was an opportunity to show our kids that we could help put something beautiful together.”

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan said he is proud to support this initiative, adding that the City will be commissioning the work of an Indigenous artist for the design and installation.

“This is a time for learning, healing and reflection among all community members, and I am so proud to see the IRBC taking leadership to implement meaningful initiatives in partnership with the City of Pickering.,” he said. “We are honoured to work alongside the IRBC members to amplify the work of Indigenous groups and residents in ways that sustain mutually respectful relations.”

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