In August 2021, the Town installed two orange crosswalks at the Gower Point/Winn Road intersection to recognize and honour the Indigenous children who were removed from their families by the Canadian government and forced to attend residential schools.
Many children were abused or lost their lives at these schools and the generational trauma that resulted from the schools still exists today.
The crosswalks are orange in order to reflect Orange Shirt Day, which now takes place on September 30th each year.
Orange Shirt Day was started in response to residential school survivor Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s story of her first day at school, when her brand new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her. As a result, the colour orange has come to represent the cruel legacy of the schools, which were established to eradicate the children’s Indigenous identity. These actions have been called cultural genocide by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Today, Orange Shirt Day is viewed as an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of residential schools and the legacy they have left behind. Similarly, our orange crosswalks are meant to stimulate discussion and act a visible acknowledgement of the Town’s ongoing work toward reconciliation.
Permanent signage for the site is being developed in collaboration with the Squamish Nation, which has endorsed this commemorative project.