During Monday’s city council meeting, Pickering councillors unanimously voted in favour of installing an orange crosswalk at a “prominent intersection.”
The crosswalk will aim to commemorate the families affected by Canada’s residential school system, as well as the “intergenerational trauma and systemic injustices” still experienced by Indigenous peoples. This comes the same week as the first federally-recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, on September 30.
The motion did not specify the exact location, but placed it in the “Pickering Civic Centre.”
Work is expected to start by the end of October. Officials are planning to commission an Indigenous artist to design and install it.
The crosswalk is a collaboration with the Indigenous Relationship Building Circle (IRBC), a division of the city’s Cultural Advisory Committee. The IRBC aims to bring together local Indigenous-led groups and promote Indigenous voices.
“When assisting with the memorial outside of City Hall, when the 215 indigenous child bodies were found, we heard from the local indigenous community how important it was to have a place for them to gather, reflect, and grieve,” said Stephanie Bourque of the IRBC, in a statement. “When we were taking the memorial apart to gather the shoes to donate to a reserve, another community member, Jocelyne Pelletier, and I began discussing how it would be nice to have something more permanent to recognize this. […] This was an opportunity to show our kids that we could help put something beautiful together.”