National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be marked by sacred fire and pipe ceremonies at Michael Garron Hospital in East York

Mike DeAngelis, Max Kerman, Gary LaRocca, Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Elder Little Brown Bear, Ontario Lieutenant Governor Eizabeth Dowdswell, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, and Sarah Downey, president and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital are shown in this 2019 photo. They were attending the official opening of the Bear's Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge at the hospital. To mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this year, Lt. Gov Dowdeswell will be attending a pipe ceremony conducted by Elder Little Brown Bear at the hospital on Sept. 30. File photo by Isabel Terrell, Michael Garron Hospital.


Michael Garron Hospital in East York will be commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30 with a sacred fire and four pipe ceremonies throughout the day.

“The intent of the day is to reflect upon and commemorate the legacy of Residential Schools, murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and to become more aware of our collective responsibilities to Truth and Reconciliation with FNIM (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) communities,” read a release from the hospital.

Acknowledgement and education on these injustices and crimes is part of the path toward reconciliation, said the release.

From sunrise to sunset on Sept. 30, Elder Little Brown Bear and community members will offer a sacred fire on the hospital’s grounds at the Bear’s Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge.

The sacred fire allows “one to heal, feel grounded, and connect with community,” and is a sacred spiritual practice considered to be a way for one to communicate with their ancestors in the spirit realm.

The community is welcome to stop by and observe the sacred fire at any time of the day and join pipe ceremonies slated to occur at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.

The pipe ceremonies are used “to open conversations between different nations and communicate with the spirits.”

Residents can sign MGH’s Pledge Board on-site or contribute their pledge on social media using the hashtag #OrangeShirtDay and tagging @MGHToronto on Twitter.

Community members can also tie an orange ribbon to the Sweat Lodge or fence to acknowledge the children buried in unmarked graves recovered on the land of Residential Schools across Canada. Elder Little Brown Bear will be personally cutting 1,000 orange pieces of cloth.

The pipe ceremony slated for noon on Sept. 30 will be attended by a number of dignitaries including Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

Residents can also participate by educating themselves about Canada’s history and the injustices faced by Indigenous communities.

The hospital has compiled resources for members of the community to familiarize themselves with, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 94 Calls to Action, stories of Residential School survivors, books from Indigenous authors, and the Setters Take Action project.

To learn more about MGH’s plans for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, please visit

Michael Garron Hospital is located at 825 Coxwell Ave.

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