“Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.” – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The Walmer Road Legacy Space is a dedicated space in front of the Walmer Road Baptist Church where conversations about Indigenous history and our collective journey towards reconciliation are encouraged and supported. It temporarily exists on the steps of the church and will be incorporated into the future development being led by TAS and the Walmer Road Baptist Church.
Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Legacy Spaces Program
Inspired by the story of Chanie Wenjack and Gord Downie’s call to action to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie WenjackFund (DWF) aims to build cultural understanding and create a path towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Through the Legacy Schools program, DWF provides access to education on the true history of Canada and the lasting impact of residential schools through tools and training to 6,000+ schools and clubs and 7,000+ educators to reach over 150,000 students.
DWF’s Legacy Spaces program provides an opportunity for corporations, governments, and organizations to play an important role in their communities. Legacy Spaces are safe, welcoming places dedicated to providing education and spreading awareness about Indigenous history and the journey of reconciliation. They serve as symbols and reminders of the important work each of us needs to undertake to fulfill the promises of the country and the TRC Calls to Action.
Earlier this year, TAS partnered with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) to create a Legacy Space at 38 Walmer Road. As a participant in the 5-year program, TAS is now a DWF Legacy Spaces partner committed to taking reconciliACTION, both in the workplace and in the community.
Walmer Road Legacy Space
Since the early stages of the 38 Walmer Road project, TAS has been committed to learning about the Indigenous history of the site and exploring our role in truth and reconciliation. As a starting point, in 2021 we organized a community walking tour with Indigenous leader, Trina Bell, and participated in cultural competency training with the Walmer Road Baptist Church.
Creating the Legacy Space at Walmer provides an opportunity to continue honouring the Indigenous history of the site and to integrate Indigenous stories and partnership into the development.
While Legacy Spaces are typically located in private corporate settings, the Walmer Legacy Space is the first public-facing outdoor Legacy Space. We are excited about the opportunity to share it with the broader community and explore our collective role in truth and reconciliation.
The Legacy Space will also be incorporated into the future development of the site once it is complete.
Indigenous Mural and Gardens
As part of the Legacy Space at Walmer Road, TAS commissioned a new indigenous art work for the church doors and integrated indigenous plants into the urban crate farm in front of the church.
The artwork on the doors of the church was produced by Métis artist Dani Kastelein from the Brook McIlroy Indigenous Design Studio. It represents the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Air is represented by the clouds that bring rain to the 3 sisters. This scene transitions to the Water which supports the sturgeon swimming through while being sung to by frogs. Then there is Fire, where all are gathered for a feast and a moment of storytelling. Aki, the Earth, our mother, is depicted in all three
The urban crate farm, located in front of the mural, includes many Indigenous plants and
medicinal herbs, such as tobacco and sweetgrass. The garden is meant to provide opportunities for teaching about Indigenous culture.
TAS & Truth & Reconciliation
The lands upon which TAS operates are the traditional territories, treaty lands, and homelands of the respective First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nations who are the long-time stewards of these lands. As a developer in a settler colonial country, advancing reconciliation is a moral imperative.
We are at the beginning of our truth and reconciliation journey and know that we have a long way to go. We believe the most important thing we’re doing right now is taking the time to build relationships with people, to learn from them, and to establish partnerships grounded in trust.
These relationships, along with the capacity-building and professional development we’re undertaking, are helping us develop a greater understanding of where TAS can meaningfully contribute to truth and reconciliation. We have committed to developing a Reconciliation Action Plan by the end of 2023.
On June 17th, we are hosting a community event to celebrate the launch of the Walmer Road Legacy Space. To learn more and to RSVP visit: http://walmer-legacy-space.eventbrite.ca.