Activities & info: National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

September 24, 2021
Regional News

Statement from Mayor Barbara Desjardins

I encourage everyone to take the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation as an opportunity to reflect on the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and take in what reconciliation can look like in the future.

As a small gesture of support, we will be illuminating the Archie Browning Sports Centre in orange the week prior to September 30. 

Council and staff are building relationships with local First Nations in efforts to improve opportunities for learning and unlearning about Indigenous culture past and present. We are grateful for the conversations we’ve had so far and look forward to the work to come.


There were 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools which operated in Canada between 1831 and 1998. The last school closed only 23 years ago.

What started as Orange Shirt Day—an annual national event to honour Residential School survivors, victims and their families—is now a federal statutory holiday. Across Canada, live and online speeches, ceremonies and learning opportunities are being shared the week prior and on September 30.

Orange Shirt Day originates from Phyllis Webstad’s story. Webstad had just turned six years old when she was sent to St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. in 1973. On her first day at the school, the bright, new orange shirt her Granny had bought her was taken from her.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was created through a legal settlement between Residential Schools Survivors, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit representatives and the parties responsible for creation and operation of the schools: the federal government and the church bodies. Read the TRC report and the 94 Calls to Action.

Local activities

Orange Shirt Day t-shirts, hoodies and books

Local artist Bear Horne designed the Victoria Orange Shirt t-shirts. 

Horne’s design features a bear to help us follow the right path, an eagle to help us have a vision of a bright future, a hummingbird to keep our mind, body and spirit healthy, and a flower to feed the connection of all these elements— Victoria Orange Shirt Day.

The Orange Shirts are available to purchase for $25 all year-round. For more information and where you can purchase the shirts and other items in the community, visit:

Learn more

The Township of Esquimalt acknowledges with respect that we are within the Traditional Territories of the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.

Esquimalt council values the relationship with First Nations and has included working with Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations to support economic, cultural, social and environmental opportunities as part of 2019-2023's strategic priorities and goals.