While Orange Shirt Day has been recognized in a variety of ways since 2013, this year Canadians will observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, 2021. BC schools will be closed, and many families are looking for opportunities to reflect and learn in a respectful way. We have rounded up a number of in-person events in Burnaby, Kelowna, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Alberni, Squamish, Surrey, Vancouver, Whistler, as well as virtual gatherings you can join from home.
SFU Truth & Reconciliation Week
Address: Convocation Mall – SFU Burnaby Campus
Date & Time: September 27 – 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Highlights: Event begins with traditional drumming and singing, opening and closing prayers from Elders. Orange Shirt Day activities include an orange shirt art table, fire pits for bannock s’mores, and more information about Orange Shirt Day. A live-stream of the formal ceremony will be available for those unable to attend.
Family Orange Shirt Day
Address: 470 Queensway Avenue, Kelowna, BC
Date & Time: September 30 – 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm | October 2 – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Highlights: Learn the broad story of the residential school experience in the Okanagan, including where the children went, what happened, and the cultural items, homes and lives they had to leave behind.
National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Community Vigil
Address: Memorial Ridge Park, Maple Ridge, BC
Date & Time: September 30 – 7:00 pm
Orange Shirt Day 2021
Address: 7494 Mary Street, Mission, BC
Date & Time: September 30 – 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Highlights: The Siwal Si’wes Advisory Indigenous Council invites you to observe Orange Shirt Day 2021 – National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in partnership with SD75, the City of Mission and the Mission Friendship Centre. Wear orange and bring your own lawn chairs, water, snacks, and drums!
Address: 16th Street, New Westminster, BC
Date & Time: 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Highlights: The Spirit of the Children Society will host a pipe ceremony at Westminster Pier Park to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. All ages are welcome to this free family event. Please wear a mask.
Close to Home: Residential Schools in our Community
Address: 120 14th St W, North Vancouver, BC
Date & Time: On Display through October 3
Highlights:Visit the library to view an archival image display of residential schools and those who attended them on the North Shore. Images have graciously been provided by MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver, Lois Guss, William Nahanee and George Allen.
Orange Shirt Day Walk
Address: 5440 Argyle St, Port Alberni, BC
Date & Time: September 30th – 11:00 am
Highlights: A planned walk open to everyone, with 7 planned stops, ending with light refreshments, stories, song, and dance.
Truth & Reconciliation Commemoration Event
Address: O’Siyam Pavillion – Loggers Lane, Squamish , BC
Date & Time: September 30 – 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Highlights: The Squamish Nation would like to invite everyone to join them as they honour the children who did not make it home, the Residential School Survivors who carried the burden and for their resilience and their ancestors.
National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
Address: Holland Park – 13428 Old Yale Rd, Surrey, BC
Date & Time: September 30 – 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Highlights: To mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, you are invited to join SFU Surrey, in partnership with the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) and the City of Surrey, for an afternoon of stories, poetry, coffee and tea, bannock and drumming. This event will be rain or shine, and they encourage you to wear your orange shirt and bring your drums.
Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, Seýeḿ
Address: 695 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC
Date & Time: September 30th – 12:00 pm
Highlights: This event is free and open to the public and will take place on šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza) with performances from Mortal Coil Performance Society, Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack) and Butterflies in Spirit.
Intergenerational March to Commemorate Orange Shirt Day
Address: 1985 Learners’ Walk, Vancouver, BC
Date & Time: September 30th – 11:45 am – 2:00 pm
Highlights: The march aims to be educational, and supportive to the Indigenous community on campus and community building. The educational activity will allow younger participants to connect with the original inhabitants of the land and plant a seed to continue these conversations of a difficult era in Canadian history at home.
Orange Shirt Day
Address: 1607 East Hastings Street
Date & Time: September 30 – 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Highlights: In partnership with the Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS), the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (VAFC), and the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre (VACPC). We invite you all to join us on this important day as we gather with Elders and their families to help raise awareness about residential schools and their lasting impact on Indigenous peoples.
Returning Home and Pathways to Reconciliation
Address: 6265 Crescent Rd, Vancouver, BC
Date & Time: September 27 – 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Highlights: A special presentation that will include a Musqueam welcome and opening remarks by Dr. Jo-ann Archibald and IRSHDC Academic Director Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond-Lafond (Aki-Kwe), as well as a post-screening conversation and Q&A with Orange Shirt Day originator Phyllis Webstad, moderated by Dr. Turpel-Lafond-Lafond.
Skwxwú7mesh Lilwat7úl Cultural Centre Free Admission
Address: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC
Date & Time: September 30
Highlights: September 30th will be a day of reflection and truth for the staff and visitors to the SLCC. Survivors from residential schools will speak. The Warrior song will be sung. Stories will be told. A seven-foot totem will be unveiled, commemorating the children of residential schools, and those missing and buried in unmarked graves.
Drum for the Children
Date & Time: September 30 – 2:15 pm
Highlights: Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is calling upon people around the world to gather –safely– to drum and sing for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools. Be sure to share how you participate using the hashtag #DrumForTheChildren.
Paddles Up: An Honour Guard for the Children
Date & Time: September 30 – 6:30 pm
Highlights: Paddles Up will be a panel discussion about the maritime aspect of Indigenous history. They will discuss how bodies of water like the Burrard Inlet are still used today by the Coast Salish people. The water, the species that live within it and the ecosystems it supports are a key element of coastal culture. The panelists will also discuss colonialism and its effects, particularly residential schools.
Orange Shirt Day with Courtney Defriend
Date & Time: September 29 – 9:30 am
Highlights: During this event, Coast Salish Author Courtney Defriend will be sharing her book If Instead of a Person, while integrating themes of Truth and Reconciliation in an age appropriate manner.
Truth & Reconciliation Week 2021
Date & Time: September 27 – October 1
Highlights: Truth & Reconciliation Week is a 5-day national event that will continue the important conversations including the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools system. This online event will provide historical workshops, exclusive video content, and activities for students — all supported by artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists.
Honouring Residential School Survivors
Date & Time: September 29 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Highlights: On the evening of September 29th, join the Library in honouring and listening to Squamish Nation Elders, survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential School system.
Xe Xe Smun Eem – Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters
Date & Time: September 30 – 12:00 pm
Highlights: Filmed in advance, the virtual ceremony is emceed by Victoria Lea Pruden, and includes a land acknowledgement, followed by the raising of the Victoria Orange Shirt Day flag and a moment of silence accompanied by 15 drum beats to honour those who did not survive residential schools. Nicole Mandryk sings the traditional Anishinaabe healing Bear Song, and guest speakers include Tsartlip Elders May Sam and Skip Sam, Mayor Lisa Helps, Phyllis Webstad, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Aboriginal Health Physician Advisor Dr. Danièle Behn Smith, Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray.
WHERE TO BUY AN ORANGE SHIRT
One of the ways you can show your support on the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation (aka Orange Shirt Day) is by wearing orange. Be mindful of purchasing your shirt from Indigenous designers and businesses, and/or the official retail partners of the Orange Shirt Society. We recommend ordering online, or calling ahead before visiting a store as Orange Shirts are in high demand and sell out quickly!
This is not a complete list, and we are regularly adding to it. Please let us know if we’re missing one of your favourite retailers!
Heather is a Toronto born mama of two whose parenting journey has taken her family coast to coast across Canada. When she’s not whipping up recipes for the Healthy Family Living website or sharing the latest fun Vancouver events on HFL’s Facebook page, she’s a freelance writer that has recently been published in an anthology entitled BIG, as well as in the Huffington Post, as she and her hubby of 13 years attempt to keep up with their two spirited girls and 3 fur babies!