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Orange background with white text reading "National Day for Truth and Reconciliation" with the Holland Bloorview infinity symbol
Holland Bloorview honours National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Every year to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30), we wear orange to honour survivors and ancestors who died at residential schools, as well as families and communities who continue to be affected.

In order to remain mindful of the coming National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, please consider wearing your orange shirt, or pin, or even incorporating the colour orange in your attire throughout the week of September 25 - 29. 

With a focus on reconciliation and healing, it is important to understand that advancing the cause of reconciliation through action is all of our responsibility.  The IDEAA office has created a special September 30 newsletter with resources to support your personal learning and to take individual steps towards reconciliation. 

Holland Bloorview is committed to improving health outcomes for Indigenous children and families. We also acknowledge the unique position we hold as an academic hospital to close the unacceptable gap in healthcare inequity, empower the next generation of healthcare professionals, expand relevant research and invest in Indigenous healthcare workers.

Actions to date by this hospital include:


  • Development of a Smudging policy for Indigenous clients and families
  • Recruitment for an Indigenous Health Equity Experience Navigator
  • Our annualin-house anti-racism education series, (now in its fourth year) incorporates considerations of Indigenous anti-racism and health inequities.
  • Over the past two years, a number of staff have taken the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety online training. There are plans to identify a means to provide broader cultural safety training for staff and volunteers through the IDEAA office.
  • Deepening relationships with Indigenous communities to better support the health-care needs of local and remote communities through specific initiatives.
    • Along with several other Children’s Treatment Centres, Holland Bloorview has been working to support the complex care needs strategy for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). Holland Bloorview has been part of a “clinical mentorship action team” since January 2019 to support coordinated approaches between Indigenous and mainstream health services to address the complexity of health issues for children with complex care needs in Indigenous communities.
    • We have also been an active part of curriculum development for a new role of paediatric Indigenous rehabilitation assistant (PIRA) at the Oshki-Wenjack Education Institute.
    • Ongoing conversations with the Assembly of First Nations allow us to listen and learn more about how we can share our resources and to reflect on how to incorporate culturally respectful care for our Indigenous families and clients.
  • Creation of an Indigenous research student stream through the Ward Summer Student program to advance the opportunities for Indigenous students and help foster a pipeline of Indigenous scholars into childhood disability research. In 2022, two students had the opportunity to work closely with scientists within the Bloorview Research Institute including Dr. Azadeh Kushki, senior scientist and a principal investigator of the Autism Research Centre and Dr. Tom Chau, of the Paediatric Rehabilitation Intelligent Systems Multidisciplinary (PRISM) lab.


We invite staff, volunteers, families and clients to take some time this week to reflect and engage in some of the opportunities below.

September 26 - 29

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is hosting a virtual lunch and learn the week of September 25 - 29.  Because of the time difference, (the 50-minute sessions will begin at 12:30 p.m. CDT each day) and to accommodate staff schedules, we will share the link to the YouTube recording of that day’s session by the following day. All sessions will have simultaneous English-French, and ASL interpretation.

See below for what you can expect on a daily basis.


Day 1 – Sept. 25:
Indigenous peoples and the History of residential schools.

Speaker: Crystal Fraser , Tagaaq M. E-Palmer

Day 2 – Sept. 26:
Unconscious bias and debunking stereotypes.

Speaker: Cary Miller, Jesse Wente

Day 3 – Sept. 27: 
Intergenerational impacts and ongoing systemic discrimination.

Speaker: Cynthia Wesley-Esquim, Christa Big Canoe

Day 4 – Sept. 28: To be posted in this document on September 29
Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Speaker: Brenda Gunn, Caleb Behn (TBC)

Day 5 – Sept. 29: To be posted in this document end of day September 29
Taking action towards Reconciliation.

Speaker: Jimmy Durocher, Dale LeClair

September 28

  • Flag raising: 11 a.m. outside at Holland Bloorview’s front flagpole

September 29

  • Bloorview School Authority (BSA): This year, Bloorview School joined the Legacy Schools program, “an initiative to engage, empower and connect students and educators to further reconciliation through awareness, education and action”. Student leaders will create a display that highlights the story of Chanie Wenjack and Gord Downie’s call to action. On Friday September 29th in the morning, student-leaders will be in the hospital’s foyer raising awareness and promoting their reconciliACTIONS. The goal is to encourage HB staff and visitors to stop by the display, choose an act of reconciliation they would like to engage in, and then add their name beside it. This is also a great way for students to engage with the community and practice their leadership, advocacy, and communication skills.


Other: In-person and radio sourced from the following website.


September 29/30, Nathan Phillips Square

Toronto Council Fire Indigenous Legacy Gathering

Head down to Nathan Phillips Square for an annual two-day Indigenous Legacy Gathering, dedicated to showcasing and supporting Indigenous culture, tradition, and arts.

Put on by the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, this event will feature Indigenous presentations, performances, workshops, food vendors, artisans, and most importantly, many opportunities for listening and learning.

September 29/30

A Day to Listen

Put on by the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), A Day to Listen will partner with 540 media outlets and radio stations throughout Canada to give Indigenous voices a chance to be heard. This year’s theme is Mino Bimaadiziwin, which means ‘the good life’ in Anishinabemowin.

Guests will speak on “Indigenous identity through conversations about representation in sports and entertainment, the fusion of traditional and contemporary music, land protection and the impacts of climate change, and more.”

When: September 29 & 30, 2023
Where: Radio stations and media outlets throughout Canada


September 30, Toronto Zoo

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at The Toronto Zoo 

On September 30th, the Toronto Zoo’s Director of Indigenous Relations and Turtle Island Conservation Steward will lead a day of special programming.  The day will include a smudge ceremony at 9:15 AM followed by interactive experiences at the First Nations Art Garden.

Complimentary admission will be offered to all self-identifying Indigenous people, including First Nation, Inuit, Métis, and non-status First Nations people. Proof of identification will not be required.

When: September 30, 2023, 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: The Toronto Zoo


September 30

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto Annual Pow Wow

This 26th annual Every Child Matters community pow-wow will take place in Dufferin Grove Park on September 30th. The sunrise ceremony will be held at 6 a.m., followed by grand entry at 12 noon and the retiring of flags at 5 p.m.

When: September 30, 2023
Where: Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin Avenue