On June 28, 2021, Orangeville’s council resolved to install an orange crosswalk at Broadway and First Street, specifically spanning from the side where the Rustik Restaurant is across to the Meridian Credit Union, to commemorate the Indigenous children forced into the ‘residential school’ program. Councillor Lisa Post, Federal Liberal Party Candidate for Dufferin Caledon, brought forward the motion. Post stated that the Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC) and local elders had been consulted and are supportive. Design specifics will be decided, and $10,000 was allocated to the project. The crosswalk is scheduled to be completed by September 30, 2021.
“To have this crosswalk serves as an important step towards reconciliation in our community,” declared Post, asking for her colleagues to support in waiving the required notice of motion, which requires a unanimous vote.
Councillor Debbie Sherwood proposed doing both sides of the Broadway and First Street intersection if the $10,000 funding amount would permit it.
Orangeville’s general manager of infrastructure services, Doug Jones, revealed that the cost for the two rainbow sidewalks that the town recently introduced had been approximately $12,000.
“I said $10,000 when it was a crosswalk on one side trying to be good and conservative, not knowing exactly what the design would look like,” said Jones. “Now with rainbow crosswalks, I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re common, but they’re certainly not unique.”
Jones explained how if a more intricate design required stencilling, costs would increase as it would entail two trips from the painter. He said the $10,000 amount for one crosswalk ensured that staff were not coming back to council requesting more.
Councillor Post then shared how there were already talks with the DCCRC of a design. Local elders had also reportedly approved of the plan.
“It has to have the white lines on either side, but within those two white lines for it to be painted orange, and then there was a specific feather design,” related Councillor Post. “That way it’s not just an orange crosswalk.”
Councillor Post then told how there was an intention to add a plaque to commemorate all the Indigenous children once the search of the sites of past residential schools was complete. Post said that it would be inappropriate to finalize at this point, so she hopes Orangeville council will have further discussions in the future.
The purpose of waiving the required notice of motion was to ensure staff would complete the crosswalk design by September 30, the very first national day for truth and reconciliation. Council agreed to this, and they voted unanimously in support of the motion.
Jones emphasized that the sooner staff got the crosswalk designs, the higher the likelihood that they could complete the job on schedule.
Afterwards, Mayor Sandy Brown put through a motion, which the council granted a waiving of notice for as well. It was to illuminate the Orangeville Townhall and the Alder Street Community Centre in orange from June 30 to July 2. Brown delineated how the Alder complex has hosted Indigenous ceremonies and being home to the town’s Indigenous flag and the medicine wheel.
“This is another thought about symbolism and support to our Indigenous community,” announced Brown.
Mayor Brown then told how Councillor Joe Andrews had reached out to an Indigenous drum group called the Eagleheart Singers to perform for an hour around dusk on June 30. As of now, it would not be a public event due to COVID-restrictions. A recording is set to be uploaded onto the Town of Orangeville’s YouTube Channel for community access. A $6,000 upset limit was set for the event.
“I just want to say that I think this is an absolutely beautiful idea,” pronounced Councillor Post. “I think it’s a lovely tribute, I think so many Canadians right now are struggling with how to celebrate Canada Day because it definitely feels a little different this year with some of the discoveries that have been made.”
Councillor Post then affirmed how it is a great first step into the truth and reconciliation work by the Town of Orangeville.
On a related note, that same night, the Shelburne’s Councillor Kyle Fegan notified the community through a Facebook post that he put forward a motion, subsequently supported by his fellow councillors, to refer nine calls to action that were directed at municipal governments in the Truth and Reconciliation Report to the town’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. The committee is to report back to council with recommendations for the implementation of those calls to action where applicable to Shelburne. Dufferin News will provide further updates on this matter as the information is gathered.
References – Orangeville To Honour Indigenous Children
- June 28, 2021 Town of Orangeville Council Meeting – Town of Orangeville YouTube Channel
- June 28, 2021 Agenda – Town of Orangeville Council Meeting – Town of Orangeville
- Royal assent given to bill creating national day for truth and reconciliation – CBC
- Town of Shelburne Councillor Kyle Fegan’s Facebook Post Regarding Truth And Reconciliation Motion – Facebook
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