Southwestern Ontario communities reflect on Canadian history in wide range of ceremonies

Reflection took many different forms around Southwestern Ontario for a very different Canada Day.

The sacred fire at the Healing of the Seven Generations in Kitchener was put out for the July 1 holiday.

The fire was kept burning for the past five days in honour of the children found on residential school grounds and those yet to be found.

“We will be taking the embers from today and continuing a fire tomorrow to last until the last remains have been found of our children,” said executive director Donna Dubie. “It could be a couple of years.”

Hundreds were in attendance at the Kitchener location wearing orange to remember the impact or residential schools and how it is felt throughout generations.

“It’s a day to truly try and start understanding our country’s history,” one attendee said. “The good, the bad, and everything in between.”

In Guelph, hundreds more gathered for a solidarity walk, with organizers calling on the cancellation of Canada Day.

On parent in attendance brought their children and say it’s important they’re aware of Canada’s past.

“We were happy and proud to be Canadians, but I don’t feel like Canada Day will be celebrated like before,” they said.

In Brantford, hundreds more participated in a unity walk towards the former Mohawk Institute residential school.

“We really just wanted to let the Indigenous community in Brantford know they are not alone,” said Rebecca Wilson, executive director of the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre.

Goals of the walk included highlighting the many services available for Indigenous peoples as well as show support throughout the community.

“It almost brings tears to my eyes,” one person in attendance said. “It really puts a lump in my throat to see this much support, because it’s everybody, it’s not just us doing it, and people are listening.”