Orange Shirt Day, and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. On this day, the City of Thunder Bay, along with community partners, will honour the Indigenous children, families and survivors that have been, and continue to be, affected by the devastating legacy of residential schools.

“This day is dedicated to education, reflection, and action on reconciliation,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “The identification of unmarked graves at residential schools sites has brought us together with our Indigenous friends and neighbours as we remember the tragedies of Canada’s past and offer support to one another. Healing will take time, and action, but will lead us to a better future together.”

Mayor Bill Mauro will hold a moment of silence to honour the children lost to residential schools and their legacy of trauma on Monday, Sept. 27, at City Council. The lights at City Hall will also shine orange the week of Sept. 27.

“In the spirit of reconciliation, the City is joining together with others in our community to honour and forever remember that every child matters on Orange Shirt Day and every day,” said Tanis Thompson, Indigenous Relations Liaison. “Residents are encouraged to show their support for Orange Shirt Day by wearing orange, planting a tree in remembrance, sharing messages of reconciliation, and participating in city-wide events Sept. 27 - 30.”

Tree Planting Ceremony

The community is invited to Vickers Park on Thursday, Sept. 30, 10 am, for a ceremonial tree planting to remember and honour the children, families, and communities forever taken and marked by residential schools. Mayor Bill Mauro, Councillor Kristen Oliver, Chief Peter Collins, and Elder Kerry McLaughlin will plant a tree which will be the beginning of a memorial grove in the park. This event was planned with the input of the City’s Anishinaabe Elders Advisory Council. All are welcome to attend. Masks and social distancing are required. The event will also be live streamed on the City of Thunder Bay Facebook page and the Indigenous Relations Facebook page.

Cedar Seedling Giveaway

The City of Thunder Bay invites residents to plant a tree to remember all those who didn’t return home from residential schools and as a constant reminder that every child matters. The trees will remain in our community as symbols of remembrance and hope, and will live on for generations. Cedar, one of the medicines found on the Anishinaabe medicine wheel, was selected for its representation of healing and protection. Cedar seedlings will be available Sept. 27 – 30, at the Volunteer Pool Urban Farm, Lillie St Community Garden, Thunder Bay Country Market, and Vickers Park Tree Planting Ceremony. Times and dates can be found on the City website. Residents are encourage to share photos of their tree planting on social media with a message of reconciliation using the hashtag #EveryChildMattersTbay

Film Screening and Family Activities

On Thursday, Sept. 30, from 3 – 8 pm at the Marina Park Festival Area, the City will host community activities and a film screening of a popular movie featuring a story of a young boy and his journey through survival of Indian Residential School. Beginning at 3 pm, residents can join the City and partners for an array of family activities such as crafts, information booths, prizes, giveaways, and food vendors. At 5 pm there will be an opening ceremony, remarks from a residential school survivor, drum group and flutist, and Indigenous film trailers. The film, beginning at 6:30 pm, can be viewed in-person, or streamed online. Tickets, while free, are required and available through the City website. Masks and social distancing are required. Attendees are encouraged to wear orange, dress appropriately for the weather, and bring chairs and a blanket.

Community Events

Sept. 27 – 30, events will be hosted throughout the community in honour of Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Community partners will observe the day with sacred fires, ceremonies, educational lectures and presentations, online workshops, activities, and a two-day pow wow on Anemki-Wajiw.

For all the details on City and community partner events, visit our Orange Shirt Day page

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Contact: Tanis Thompson, Indigenous Relations Liaison, 620-0072,