While an official federal statutory holiday, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, being observed for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, is not a typical ‘holiday.’
Instead of a holiday meant to celebrate something, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a date meant for reflection, and to honour the Survivors of Canada’s residential school system.
“The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process,” the Government of Canada said on its website about the day, where more information can be found, including mental health resources for residential school Survivors.
In June of 2021, the federal government announced the creation of a new statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be recognized on September 30 each year. This day fulfills the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s ‘call to action’ #80 and will serve as a day of remembrance, reflection, action and learning. The City of Kingston has also declared the date a civic holiday.
Truth and Reconciliation ‘call to action’ #80 reads, ”We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coincides with Orange Shirt Day, as well. The Orange Shirt Day movement began in 2013, when residential school survivor, Phyllis Jack Websted, shared her story at a Saint Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion event held in British Columbia. September 30, the annual date of the event, signifies the time of year when Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes to residential schools.
When she was just six years old in 1973, Phyllis Wabsted lived with her grandmother on the Dog Creek Reserve in Manitoba. In her biography, Websted explained, “We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!”
However, when she got to the Mission, she was stripped of everything, including her bright orange shirt, “I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”
That story was made into a children’s picture book in 2018 by Websted and Medicine Wheel Education.
A number of events will take place in Kingston to mark both National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, including:
- A Sacred Fire and Vigil at Confederation Park from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021
- A Sacred Fire organized by Kewaywin Circle and One Roof in partnership with Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington will take place at the Family and Children’s Services offices at 817 Division St. from sunrise on Thursday, Sept. 30 to sunset on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.
- National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Ecumenical Prayer Service, an independently and ally-driven organized event, will take place at the bandstand in Town Park in front of the Town Hall in Gananoque at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. COVID-19 protocols will be in place.
- A number of buildings in Kingston, including City Hall and various buildings at RMC, will be lit up in orange to mark the day.
The City of Kingston has also provided the following online events and learning resources to help residents observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
Online events and broadcasts
- Online events are planned over Truth and Reconciliation Week, Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 and hosted by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). There is a schedule for both educators and the general public. Note: Registration for these events closes on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting a new broadcast special, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in partnership with APTN, CBC/Radio-Canada, Insight Productions and Canadian Heritage. This unique one-hour, commercial-free primetime special honours the stories and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples affected by the tragedies of the residential school system in Canada, with musical tributes and ceremonies in Indigenous communities across the land. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will broadcast and stream live Thursday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. on APTN, CBC, CBC Gem.
Learning Resources and Reports
- Download the mobile app – Reconciliation: A Starting Point
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action
- Read the 231 calls to action in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Read reports related to residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Aboriginal Healing Reports and more
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has developed a Residential School timeline
- The CBC has created an interactive map that allows you to see how close you live or work to a former Residential School site.
Here’s our list of what’s open and closed here in Kingston on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021:
City of Kingston offices and services
All City administrative offices (including Housing & Social Services and Provincial Offences on Montreal Street): Closed Thursday, Sept. 30.
Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro: Open Thursday, Sept. 30.
Garbage, green bin and recycling: Collection will take place as usual, and the Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste depots will be open as usual. The administrative office at the Kingston Area Recycling Centre will be closed on Sept. 30.
Kingston Area Recycling Centre: Open Thursday, Sept. 30.
Kingston Transit: to operate as usual.
Kingston Access Services: to operate as usual.
Arenas, Artillery Park Aquatic Centre, INVISTA Centre (including Fitness & Wellness Centre), CaraCo Field, and Rideau Heights Community Centre: Open Thursday, Sept. 30.
Libraries: Open Thursday, Sept. 30.
Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and Confederation Basin Marinas: The Confederation Basin Marina office is open Sept. 30. The fueling stations are open at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
PumpHouse Museum and MacLachlan Woodworking Museum: Closed Thursday, Sept. 30.
Grand Theatre Box Office: Closed Thursday, Sept. 30.
Shopping and Grocery Stores
Some shops, grocery stores, and other local businesses may be closed or have reduced hours on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Call ahead to find out whether your favourite stores or restaurants are open.
The Cataraqui Centre will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Walmart will be open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Costco will be open 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Staples will be open.
Both Loblaws locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Both No Frills locations will be open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
All Metro locations will be open.
All Food Basics locations will be open.
Farm Boy will be open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
FreshCo will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
James’ ValuMart will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
All Beer Stores will be closed except the 1090 Midland Avenue, 290 Concession Street and 88 Dalton Avenue locations will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
All LCBO locations will be closed for the morning, and open again for business at 12 p.m.
Many Shoppers Drug Mart locations will be open. Individual store hours may vary otherwise. Click here to search store hours in Kingston.
Many downtown Kingston stores and restaurants are open for patio dining, indoor dining, curbside pickup, or delivery. Call ahead to find out what your favourite stores and restaurants are doing.
Banks and post offices
A majority of banks and post offices will be closed Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Call your branch ahead of time to find out.
As always, Kingstonist is open. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the goings-on in the city, as they happen. We will also be happy to hear from you if there is something you think we should know about. Please reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook or via our contact page any time.
With files from Michelle Dorey Forestell.