The City of Thunder Bay is committed to honouring and celebrating Indigenous space and place. The Indigenous Relations and Inclusion Office will work to collaborate on new place-making initiatives and opportunities for welcoming spaces in the city to identify heritage recognition and honour history and culture by maintaining and enhancing existing spaces.

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The Spirit Garden

The Spirit Garden was built in collaboration with Indigenous and city partners through the Prince Arthur’s Landing development, which was completed in 2011. The Spirit Garden is a space to honour the history and cultures of Indigenous peoples in the city. The Circle is reflected in the overall design of the spaces to represent inclusiveness and bridging of worldviews. 

The Honouring Circle (Sacred Fire)

On the shore of Kitchigami (Big Ocean/Lake Superior) looking East with Nanabijou (Sleeping Giant) on the horizon, the Honouring Circle maintains the vision of honouring Turtle Island through its configuring of stones surrounding the fire pit. The fire pit is also placed in the centre of the Medicine Wheel, to honour the teaching principles of the Anishinaabe.

The Honouring Circle is a place of contemplation, ceremony and contribution. The Anishinaabe have always recognized the geographic and cultural importance of this area.

Source: City of Thunder Bay. The City and the Spirit Garden: Prince Arthur’s Landing, Thunder Bay (2014).

The Celebration Circle (Outdoor Theatre) – Within The Spirit Garden

The form of the Celebration Circle is inspired by Roy Thomas’ concept for the space to pay homage to Turtle Island based on the Anishinaabe Creation Story. The site was designed in collaboration between Indigenous artist and architect Ryan Gorrie of Thunder Bay and Brook McIlroy architects. Its form is inspired by traditional Anishinaabe bentwood building techniques using wood harvested by Indigenous artist George Price and fabricated at Fort William First Nation.

The Circle symbolizes an “inclusive circle” between all people and creation and is a way to honour the local Indigenous and Original Peoples of the land.  It serves as a common ground – a spiritual place, a place of meditation and celebration gathering together all cultures. This space is embraced as a teaching and gathering space where stories can be shared from the perspective of the First Nations peoples who have lived on this shoreline for millennia.

Source: City of Thunder Bay. The City and the Spirit Garden: Prince Arthur’s Landing, Thunder Bay (2014).

Learn more about the Spirit Garden and Circle.  

St. Joseph’s Indian Residential School Memorial

Learn more about the St. Joseph’s Residential School Memorial site on the Doors Open Ontario website.

Watch a video about the St. Joseph's Indian Residential School Memorial


Photo gallery of Indigenous City Spaces

Photo Gallery: Indigenous City Spaces will appear here on the public site.

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