Members of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, like all Canadians, have been saddened by the news of the discovery of mass graves of children in association with two of Canada’s many residential schools. They are further disheartened that there are bound to be further such discoveries.
Planned Canada Day events were intended to bring the community together, however in recent days the Rotary Club has come to discover that some of the celebratory aspects of their plans are instead sowing division within the community and are deemed insensitive by many of their indigenous friends and neighbours.
To address those concerns, they have decided to move forward differently. The plans to bring celebratory floats through the streets of Bracebridge have been cancelled.
Their Canada Day installations in the Rotary Gardens will remain in place, with the addition of signage to allow visitors to reflect on the legacy of abuses associated with the residential school system; these gardens are a place of peace and reflection, and they invite everyone to visit them and spend some time considering both the positive and negative aspects of our country and its history.
The home and business decorating contest, initiated in part as an ongoing effort to support local restaurants, will continue, however all participants are invited to include orange in their display, in solidarity with our indigenous people.
The Rotary Club of Bracebridge has had a long tradition of leading some of the community events around Canada Day, and they look forward to being able to resume such events in future years, when it is more appropriate.
To find out more about the opportunity for all Canadians to make this moment a movement for change, they invite you to look at the resources available here.