The Town of Georgina recognizes and acknowledges that we are on lands originally used and occupied by the First Peoples of the Williams Treaties First Nations and other Indigenous Peoples, and on behalf of the Mayor and Council, we would like to thank them for sharing this land. We would also like to acknowledge the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation as our close neighbour and friend, one with which we strive to build a cooperative and respectful relationship.
We also recognize the unique relationship the Chippewas have with the lands and waters of this territory. They are the water protectors and environmental stewards of these lands, and we join them in these responsibilities.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
On Sept. 30, in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Town of Georgina, in partnership with the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, held a flag raising event at the Civic Centre. Flags were also raised at Ravenshoe Road and Woodbine. Members of Council, dignitaries, Town staff and residents joined members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation for this meaningful event. It was a moving morning of prayer, smudging, sacred fire, remembering and learning.
We move forward with Truth and Reconciliation by having compassion and understanding for those affected by residential schools and the intergenerational trauma it has caused. The Town honours Indigenous voices, working to promote awareness and pave the way for a more inclusive future.
First annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Town of Georgina held a special flag raising event at the Civic Centre on Sept 30, 2021. Flags were also raised at Ravenshoe Road and Woodbine, and at Dalton Road and Lake Drive. Mayor Margaret Quirk, Members of Council, dignitaries and Town staff joined members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation for this special event.
A smudging ceremony was performed which involved the burning of one or more medicines gathered from the earth. The four sacred medicines used in First Nations’ ceremonies are tobacco, sage, cedar and sweet grass. The Town, in partnership with the Chippewas of Georgina Island, also announced the future installation of an Indigenous Every Child Matters crosswalk on Black River Road near the ferry to Georgina Island.
Learn about truth and reconciliation
Visit the Government of Canada website to learn more about how it’s working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
Orange shirt day
In 2013, Sept. 30 was declared Orange Shirt Day. It is a day to acknowledge the harm and trauma caused by the residential school system and remind everyone of the impact that is still felt to this day. It is also a day to affirm our commitment to ensure everyone around us matters.
The orange shirt was chosen to represent this day as it references a real orange shirt that was taken from residential school survivor, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. When Phyllis was six years old, her grandmother prepared her to be sent for her first day at the Mission school. Even though they had very little money, her grandmother took her and bought her a brand-new outfit. Phyllis picked out a shiny orange shirt. She was so proud and excited. When she got to school, they stripped her and took away her clothes, including her new orange shirt. She never saw it again and no one cared about how upset it made her. The colour orange came to symbolize for her, how she was made to feel that her feelings didn’t matter, and no one cared for her as she was worth nothing. Phyllis’s orange shirt is a symbol of the loss of worth, culture, identity, community, family and even life, which Indigenous children faced because of residential schools. To learn more, visit orangeshirtday.org.
Indigenous art installations
Located at the revitalized Uptown Keswick Parkette, Nanabush is a sculpture by Ron Baird in collaboration with Indigenous consultant Jared BigCanoe.
An original piece depicting Nanabush, the son of Winona, an Ojibwe woman and Epingishmook, the spirit of the west wind. He is described as a trickster, and a larger-than-life half-god half-human, born with the ability to shapeshift.
In this piece, Nanabush is moving as the wind while he shapeshifts into a waabooz (rabbit).
Commissioned by the Town of Georgina and Uptown Keswick Business Improvement Area to celebrate Indigenous culture and history in the public realm. Pictured on the left above. Learn more about Public Art in Georgina.
Old Fox Woman
Sculpture by Ron Baird in collaboration with Indigenous consultant Jared BigCanoe.
Old Fox Woman is a trickster spirit. Being part fox, she is a sly and intelligent matriarch who knows her way around the forest and is always thinking a few steps ahead. Should you be fortunate enough to spend some time with the Old Fox Woman, you will find it impossible to walk away unchanged. She is powerful, helpful and filled with love to share.
Her purpose is aligned with helping those in younger generations find their way in life.
The Town, in partnership with the downtown Sutton BIA, installed this sculpture at the Georgina Centre for Arts and Culture to celebrate indigenous culture in the community. Pictured on the right above. Learn more about Public Art in Georgina.
Spirit of the Harbour Past and Present
Artwork mural by Lauri Hoeg of Georgina Island.
For those who visit the Jackson’s Point Harbour, it is an interconnective experience of the land, water, and the sacred creatures that make it their home. In this woodland-inspired artwork, you feel the interconnection between all things, an Anishinaabe worldview. Spirit is represented as a circular purple shape in the sky. Connected to Spirit is the Eagle, leader of all the birds and the most scared of all the winged creatures because he flies highest in the sky and closest to Creator. For the swans and otters, the water is their playground and home, they are our teachers of how to live life in the right relationship with the lake. In the foreground, we see seven grandfathers representing our seven grandfather teachings.
Every Child Matters Crosswalk
Information about the crosswalk
The Town of Georgina, in partnership with the Chippewas of Georgina Island, held the official ribbon cutting of the Every Child Matters crosswalk on May 14, 2022. It is located in front of the Island View Business Centre/Georgina Island Ferry dock.
The crosswalk is designed to bring awareness that all children matter and to bring recognition to the adult survivors who are continuing to heal from the trauma of residential schools. The unique design of the crosswalk has been inquired about from municipalities from southern Ontario to the Yukon. Learn more about the official opening of the crosswalk in the Media Release.
On Sept. 22, 2022, the Region of York, in partnership with the Town of Georgina and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, held the official unveiling of a second Every Child Matters Crosswalk in Georgina. It is located at Dalton Road and Black River Road. The event included an opening song, smudging ceremony, remarks and a ribbon cutting. Like the first crosswalk, this one helps to raise awareness of the victims and survivors of Canada’s residential school system, while also helping to advance reconciliation through renewed relationships with Indigenous partners.
Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation
The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation are an Ojibwa (or Anishinaabeg) people located on Georgina Island in Lake Simcoe. Their website includes a storytelling section where you can read and hear stories of life on Georgina Island.
Read about Residential Schools
Forty books about residential schools
David A. Robertson, a Cree author based in Winnipeg, writes books for readers of all ages. He curated this list of books by Indigenous writers about residential schools.
Mental health support available
Mental Health Support
Former residential school students can call 1-866-925-4419 for emotional crisis referral services and information on other health support from the Government of Canada.
Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to the Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week for counselling and crisis intervention.
Find additional community and social support and resources at 211 Ontario.