Parks to re­flect rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ef­fort

Spa­ces will be named af­ter In­dige­nous peo­ple

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - Toronto - Gil­bert ngabo

Toronto is look­ing to in­cor­po­rate In­dige­nous place­mak­ing in parks and pub­lic places.

A pro­posal re­cently tabled be­fore the city’s Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee de­tails cur­rent ef­forts to show­case In­dige­nous cul­ture and his­tory in Toronto’s green spa­ces.

“Toronto’s parks and pub­lic realm are our com­mon grounds,” said Jane Ar­bour, the city’s se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor, in an email. “For these spa­ces to truly bring us to­gether, they need to re­flect all of us and they need to re­flect the city’s com­mit­ment to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.”

The pro­posal is based on con­sul­ta­tions with In­dige­nous com- mu­ni­ties re­gard­ing how to bet­ter re­flect their tra­di­tions. That in­cludes des­ig­nated spa­ces for sa­cred fires, In­dige­nous cer­e­monies and In­dige­nous art as well as en­sur­ing ac­cess to rivers and wa­ter cour­ses, Ar­bour said.

There are also plans to name new parks or re­name ex­ist­ing ones in hon­our of out­stand­ing In­dige­nous fig­ures.

For ex­am­ple, a 1.6-acre pub­lic park pro­posed at a new de­vel­op­ment near Yonge and Welles­ley will be named the Dr. Lil­lian Mc­gre­gor Park. The name was cho­sen af­ter a pub­lic sur­vey last year. Mc­gre­gor, who came from the White­fish River First Na­tion, was the first In­dige­nous woman to re­ceive an hon­orary doc­tor­ate from the Univer­sity of Toronto. Her work as a nurse and com­mu­nity leader was vi­tal in pro­mot­ing In­dige­nous cul­ture in the city.

An­other pro­posal is to change the name of the Lower Don Park­lands (also called the Don River Val­ley Park or the Su­per­park) to The Won­sco­tonach Park­lands. Won­sco­tonach is an Anishin-

We aim to en­sure that our First na­tions, métis and inuit com­mu­ni­ties can see them­selves and their tra­di­tions re­flected in the city around them.

aabe name mean­ing “black burnt grounds” or “area pre­vi­ously swept by fire” and is what The Mis­sis­saugas of the New Credit First Na­tions peo­ple orig­i­nally called the park in Toronto’s east end. The park is now home to a num­ber of sculp­tures by artist Duane Lin­klater.

“By bring­ing In­dige­nous cul­ture and tra­di­tion into the de­sign and stew­ard­ship of our parks and pub­lic spa­ces, we aim to en­sure that our First Na­tions, Métis and Inuit com­mu­ni­ties can see them­selves and their tra­di­tions re­flected in the city around them,” Ar­bour added.

In­dige­nous artist Duane Lin­klater with part of his pub­lic art project near the Lower Don River Trail. The park could soon be re­named The Won­sco­tonach Park­lands, as part of the city’s In­dige­nous place­mak­ing ef­forts.

Nick kozak/torstar News ser­vice

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