Ross Street Patio is being covered in thousands of orange ribbons to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
On Thursday, the Red Deer Downtown Business Association teamed up with the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society and Indigenous business owners to tie 3,500 orange ribbons on the fence alongside the Ross Street Patio.
“We decided we would really like to do something for Truth and Reconciliation Day,” said Amanda Gould, DBA executive director.
“It’s important that it’s represented in the downtown because the whole downtown is somewhere for everyone to enjoy and to do things – especially the Ross Street Patio.”
The DBA contacted UAVS to ensure they could mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in a respectful way.
“The Ross Street Patio has become such a hub for entertainment and such an important place for congregation,” said Gould.
“There are so many people who drive through the downtown on their way to somewhere else. Hopefully if they see this massive thing of orange ribbons it’ll spark people to stop by the Ross Street Patio.”
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which is held each year on Sept. 30, honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was held in 2021 – this is the first time the DBA has done something to recognize the day.
“We really wanted to make sure we did something this year. We want to be inclusive and make sure we’re respecting everyone in society,” said Gould.
Orange Shirt Day is held every Sept. 30 as well.
The City of Red Deer’s website describes the day as a moment to take time to learn, reflect and acknowledge our history of Residential Schools and the impact it has had on the survivors, families and communities.
“For more than 100 years, Indigenous children were taken from their homes and sent to Residential Schools; so many never made it back home. Today, we are turning our pages orange and encouraging our community to find ways to observe this day, whether it be through reflection, education or participation in an activity or event,” the city’s website states.
UAVS, Shining Mountains Living Community and Métis Local 492 will host a public event called Little Souls Journey Home at City Hall Park from 1-3 p.m. on Friday.