Upcoming Events

National Day For Truth And Reconciliation poster

September 30th marks the annual observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, which honours the lost children, survivors, families and communities affected by the residential school system across Canada.

In recognizing the many abuses inflicted upon over 150,000 children within residential schools, we are called upon to confront the legacy of colonialism, systemic oppression and intergenerational trauma endured by Indigenous communities across Turtle Island today. These are certainly difficult truths to address, but necessary to pursue and sustain meaningful efforts in reconciliation.

The City of Pickering is especially proud to collaborate with the Indigenous Relationship Building Circle on several initiatives in honour of this day: 

Thursday, September 22 from 4 pm - 10 pm
Re-installation of the Commemorative Orange Crosswalk
The City of Pickering will re-install its commemorative orange crosswalk at the intersection of Valley Farm Road and The Esplanade North. Designed by Jon Colwell, artist and proud member of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, the new crosswalk will feature seven eagle feathers to represent the Seven Grandfather Teachings and the Highest Honour given to Indigenous children. Community members who self-identify as Indigenous to Turtle Island are invited to apply glass beads as a protective coating for the crosswalk at 5:30 pm. All community members are welcome to observe the installation process.
Sunday, September 25 from 10 am - 12 pm
Community Memorial and Installation Launch, Esplanade Park

Community members are invited to join a public memorial at Esplanade Park featuring poetry and storytelling by Indigenous community leaders, including Jo-Anne McKenna, a survivor of the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The Indigenous Relationship Building Circle will also launch a month-long interactive installation featuring a special mosaic of orange fabrics. Orange fabric will be distributed at City Hall and Pickering Public Library (Central Branch).  

Monday, September 26 at 10 am
'Every Child Matters' Flag Raising and Staff Fundraiser, City Hall

The “Every Child Matters” flag will be raised in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation / Orange Shirt Day. 

About the Indigenous Relationship Building Circle (IRBC)

The City of Pickering is committed to advancing reconciliation with diverse Indigenous communities. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future” (2015),

“Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes and action to change behavior.”

In 2020, the City adopted a multi-year Indigenous Relationship Building Action plan that focuses on establishing meaningful and intentional relationships with diverse Indigenous communities. This led to the formation of the Indigenous Relationship Building Circle (IRBC) as a local network of Indigenous residents, Indigenous-led organizations and allies that come together to provide guidance and leadership on communities initiatives that honour the contributions, history and cultures of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples.

Members of the IRBC currently include representation from the Indigenous Learning Circle, Oshawa Durham Region Metis Council, Bawaajigewan Aboriginal Community Circle, Carea Community Health Centre, Durham District School Board, Durham College, Ontario Tech University and PFLAG Durham Region. The IRBC is still in its formative stages and welcomes Indigenous community members and allies to join future gatherings.  

For more information about current events and initiatives, please visit letstalkpickering.ca/irbc

Video - Commemorative Orange Crosswalk

painting of Orange Crosswalk

Community Leaders

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation moved into southern Ontario from their former homeland north of Lake Huron around the year 1700. The Mississaugas are a branch of the greater Ojibwa Nation, one of the largest native groups in Canada. From time immemorial, Mississauga people secured all their needs from the surrounding environment (“Mother Earth”); hunting and fishing and harvesting plant materials for food and medicines. Wild rice, an important food staple, grows in shallow water and was gathered in late summer using birch bark canoes. Visit the website at www.scugogfirstnation.com/Public/Home.aspx

The Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle (BACC) is an Aboriginal-led incorporated non-profit agency in the Durham Region. Bawaajigewin is an Ojibway word that means the action of taking something that is a dream and making it into something you can see in real life. BACC strives to respond to and advocate for the dreams and visions of the Durham Region Aboriginal community. BACC was developed through numerous community partnerships and consultations in the Durham Region, particularly through the assistance of the Carea Community Health Centre and the Durham Region Aboriginal Advisory Circle. Visit the website at bawaajigewin.ca

Metis Nation of Ontario – The Oshawa and Durham Region Metis Council is committed to enhancing community development, the academic success of Metis youth, the promotion of artistic and cultural achievements along with exercising treaty rights under the constitution. Together with our community partners, friends, the support of the MNO and co-council, they strive to provide community programs, outreach and cultural development. Visit the website at: https://www.metisnation.org/community-councils/oshawa-and-durham-region-metis-council/

Carea Community Health Centre provides free, community programs and services to people of all ages across Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax and Pickering, including Indigenous programs. Carea staff works to provide holistic care, support, and wraparound services that empower clients to improve their health and wellness. Visit the website at: https://www.careachc.ca/Community-Programs/Programs-by-Type/Indigenous-Programs

Honouring Indigenous Peoples. As Indigenous and Non-Indigenous partners, we are committed to working together. While we have refined our focus with an emphasis on relationship building, we will continue our education and awareness activities including supporting the next generation of leaders and changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. Visit the website at honouringindigenouspeoples.com


To learn more about the residential school system and its aftermath, please see the following recommended resources:

Health & Wellness Supports

For those who require support, please consider accessing the following resources:

  • Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Hotline: 1-866-925-4419
  • Hope and Wellness Helpline – Indigenous Counselling: 1-855-242-3310
  • Durham Mental Health Services: 905-666-0831
  • Wellness Together Canada: Text WELLNESS to 741741 or 686868 (for youth)