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June 21, 2017
City of Toronto celebrates National Aboriginal Day with Sunrise Ceremony and permanent flag installation
The City of Toronto's celebration of the 22nd annual National Aboriginal Day began this morning with a sunrise ceremony and the permanent installation of Indigenous flags on Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall.

“Today, Toronto joins cities across Canada in celebrating National Aboriginal Day,” said Mayor John Tory. "As part of our recognition of the unique history, culture and significant contributions of Indigenous Peoples, we are proud to unfurl five permanent Indigenous flags here at Nathan Phillips Square."

About 200 people attended the 5:30 a.m. ceremony on Nathan Phillips Square, including Indigenous leaders and community members, members of City Council, the public and City staff. Steve Teekens, Executive Director of NaMeRes and his Oshkaabewis (helper) led the Sunrise Ceremony, which was followed by a permanent commemorative installation of Indigenous flags including Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Six Nations, Huron-Wendat, Métis and Inuit.

Mayor John Tory read the proclamation for National Aboriginal Day in Toronto and presented it to Andrea Chrisjohn, Executive Director of Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.

A breakfast reception following the ceremony included a presentation by Chrisjohn called Restoration of Identity, which is part of the Residential School Survivor Legacy Project. The Restoration of Identity includes an installation of a commemorative statue of a Turtle, as specified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action (Call to Action #82, available at

Participants were then invited to add a stencilled chalk drawing to the Moccasin Identifier Project started on the podium roof ramp leading onto Nathan Phillips Square. The moccasin markers are a reminder that Toronto City Hall is in the traditional territory of Indigenous Peoples.

In 2009, June was declared National Aboriginal History Month following the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of Commons. During the month of June and on June 21 every year, many Indigenous people and communities celebrate their culture and heritage to recognize the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

More information is available at

Media Contact
Chris Fernandes
Strategic Communications



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