The East York Canada Day Committee is calling for all residents to reflect upon our country’s history in relation to the treatment of Indigenous peoples this July 1.
“This year East York Canada Day Committee is replacing previously planned celebratory events associated with July 1 with a call to our community to use the day for thoughtful reflection and a personal examination of what it means to be Canadian,” said a statement from the committee sent to Beach Metro News early this week.
The recent discoveries of unmarked graves containing the remains of more than 1,000 children at former Residential School sites prompted the “re-think” of this year’s Canada Day events in East York.
“We urge all East Yorkers to spend Canada Day learning more about the history of colonization and the lasting effects it has had on the original peoples of this country, and how each of us can take action to support a path to truth, acknowledgement of that truth and reconciliation for the past and how we move forward following the principles of justice, friendship and respect for all,” the statement said.
Canada Day events in both East York and the Beach were already going to be significantly different than in past years anyway due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. As was the case for Canada Day in 2020, large gatherings, parades and public fireworks displays for this year had been cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, the East York Canada Day Committee had planned a number of virtual events for residents to celebrate our country’s 154th birthday. Those events have now been replaced by a call for reflection.
On July 1, the committee is asking residents to take time to acknowledge “Canada’s historical atrocities, educate ourselves and reflect on how we move to a Canada where we honour our original agreements with Indigenous peoples to share and live peacefully following the principles of friendship and respect.”
At 2:15 p.m. on July 1, everyone is urged to observe a moment of silence in memory of the Indigenous children in unmarked graves connected to former Residential Schools.
At 7:30 p.m. on July 1, East Yorkers are urged to show their appreciation of the work being done by essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the leadership of Michael Garron Hospital in East York and the East Toronto Health Partners will be recognized by the clanging of pots and pans.
For more information on the East York Canada Day Committee, please go to https://eycdc.ca/