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Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Sept. 27, 2021 – What is Happening for National Day of Truth & Reconciliation in Burlington?

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Welcome to the Mayor’s Monday Mailbag, an initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share weekly answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we’ll publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Sept. 27, 2021


“What is happening for National Day of Truth & Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day in Burlington, and what steps has the City taken to honour and support Indigenous residents in our community?”


The City of Burlington is committed to bringing awareness to Indigenous issues locally and supporting the Indigenous residents living in the community.

Most recently, the City raised the flag of the Mississaugas of the Credit at City Hall where it will now fly year-round on our flagpoles. Burlington City Council and Halton Regional Council unanimously supported naming Sept. 30 National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. City of Burlington will observe National Day for Truth & Reconciliation on Sept. 30 as a holiday, focusing on educational events and opportunities that reflect on the nation’s past and recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history and advancing reconciliation. In June 2021, the federal government passed legislation proclaiming Sept. 30 as a public holiday. The holiday is one of 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is intended to honour and commemorate Indian Residential School survivors and those children that did not make it home. 

These are just a few of the steps the City of Burlington and Council have taken to honour and support Indigenous residents in our community — for a full list, please click here.

Opportunities to support National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

Urban Indigenous Peoples of Burlington community leaders will be organizing an Orange Shirt Day event on Sept. 30 at Spencer Smith Park with a Memorial Walk from the Beachway to the Gazebo taking place from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and a ceremony at the Gazebo from 4:30-6 p.m. Please click the link above for more details.

The ‘Every Child Matters’ flag has been flying at Burlington City Hall for the month of September, and our Burlington Pier will be lit orange on Sept. 30.

Leading up to, and on, Sept. 30, we encourage all residents to take some time to quietly reflect or participate in a community event that pays respect to the legacy of intergenerational trauma that remains today in Indigenous communities, families, and individuals. The City of Burlington’s Indigenous Relations Committee has compiled the following resources, events, and activities to assist the community in reflecting on the meaning of this day:

Wear an orange shirt

Before it was a statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was started in 2013 as “Orange Shirt Day” where Canadians would wear the bright colour as a sign of their allyship and support toward Indigenous communities.

For the week of Sept. 27, we encourage you to wear orange to show your support. This day was chosen as it is around the time that Indigenous children were taken from their family and communities to attend Indian Residential schools. Orange shirts symbolize the orange shirt that Phyllis Webstad was proud to wear to her first day of Residential School, but had it taken away and replaced with a uniform.

Events that took place and are still taking place

  • Sept. 20 – a virtual event that featured the founder of Orange Shirt Day, Phyllis Webstad’s Truths. More information.
  • Sept 21 – 30, Woodland Cultural Centre – Every Child Matters
    • Attend a virtual public tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School. Runs the third Wednesday of every month. The Centre will also be offering special programming on Sept. 30, including a Thanksgiving Address, a live Q+A and more. See a list of events. Pre-registration required.
  • Sept 30 – view a livestream of the Remember Me: A National Day of Remembrance event on Parliament Hill
  • Now to Dec. 2021 – visit the Legacy of Hope Foundation exhibit on public display at Hamilton Central Police Station
  • Now – Oct. 11 – Try contemporary Indigenous foods at NishDish, pop-up restaurant at Crawford Lake, Friday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Read a book

Book lovers, check out the Burlington Public Library and local bookstores for the following titles related to Residential Schools and reconciliation:

    • Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese
    • Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good
    • Secret Path, by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire
    • Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential Schools, by Melanie Florence
    • Call me Indian, by Fred Saskamoose
    • 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, by Bob Joseph
    • Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips and Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality, by Bob Joseph

Watch a film or documentary from the National Film Board: Residential Schools – NFB

Volunteer or donate to a registered organization that provides supports to Indian Residential School survivors, their families and/or the preservation of historical evidence

Other resources

The recent uncovering of mass and unmarked graves on and near Indian Residential School grounds in Canada is distressful and a wake-up call that we must all do our part in healing the trauma of the past.

If you are a survivor of Indian Residential School and are seeking support, please consider calling the National Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.


*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Media Specialist: John Bkila