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On Sunday, September 24, 2017, 50,000 people of all backgrounds gathered in downtown Vancouver to take a step on the road to reconciliation. Participants gathered on Georgia Street from Seymour to Cambie and adjacent streets. The procession went over the viaduct and ended at Strathcona Park.
Born from the vision of Chief Robert Joseph, Ambassador of Reconciliation Canada, the walk was a call to action, inspiring all Canadians and Indigenous Peoples across Canada to make a shared commitment towards reconciliation and revitalized relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.
The crowds began gathering outside of Queen Elizabeth Theatre at 9:00 a.m. We could feel the excitement in the crowd as people from all backgrounds, faiths, cultures and ages filled the streets of Cambie and Georgia.
At 10:30 a.m., Walk participants began to gather at Strathcona Park for the Reconciliation Expo. We were blown away by the turnout at the Expo. Individuals engaged with different community organizations, local artisans and had the chance to participate in various experiential activities — all of which were a huge success.
We heard from many people that the Lacrosse drills by ISPARC, KAIROS Blanket Exercise, on-site mural painting by Vancouver Mural Festival, Weavers Corner by Earthand Gleaners Society, Kids Reconciliation Village by Right to Play, the Witness Blanket by Carey Newman, the Site Unseen Exhibit, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation exhibit allowed them to learn more about Indigenous culture and history in Canada.
We were so grateful to have had 362 volunteers present along the Walk and at the Expo. Their smiling faces and helpful attitudes ensured the success of the event. Our volunteers went above and beyond in helping with everything from organizing the event, to posting on social media, to assisting participants, and so many more activities. We could not have done this without you.
We would like to thank our co-host, partners, supporters and friends for their tremendous help in making the Walk for Reconciliation and Reconciliation Expo a success. The Walk for Reconciliation and Reconciliation Expo would not have been possible without the tremendous support from the Government of Canada. We are so proud to have been able to deliver this event as part of a Canada 150 Signature Project, Reconciliation in Action: A National Engagement Strategy.
We are enormously grateful for the commitment of the City of Vancouver who co-hosted this event. To have been one of three Canada 150+ Signature Events is incredibly meaningful. We also extend our gratitude to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation for their generosity and guidance.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Vancouver’s three Host Nations: Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
We would also like to say thank you to all the amazing artists and performers who shared their talents at the Expo: Tsatsu Stalqaya (Coastal Wolf Pack), Susan Aglukark, V’ni Dansi, N’we Jinan Artists, Royal Academy of Bhangra, Sawagi Taiko, Flight of the Thunderbird, Eagle Song Dancers, Axe Capoeira, George Leach, Sister Says, Lorita Leung Dance Company and Emmanuel Jal.
To the community booths that participated at the Expo, thank you for sharing your unique contributions to the reconciliation movement and for enriching the experience for the thousands of Expo attendees.
We would like to acknowledge and thank all the community booths: Native Education College, Beyond the Conversation Society, First Nations Education Steering Committee, Vancity, Federal Secretariat on Canada 150, Vancouver Native Housing Society, Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (ISPARC), Vancouver Police Department, Urban Native Youth Association, KAIROS, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Legal Services Society, Girls Rock Camp Vancouver, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, WISH, World Sikh Organization, Port of Vancouver, City of Vancouver, and IRSSS.
To our sponsors – we thank you for your generosity in supporting this event.
To our Capacity Partners – without you we would not be able to do this work. Your commitment to reconciliation is inspiring, and we are honoured to have the opportunity to work along you in this important work.
For a full list of Reconciliation Canada Partners, click here.