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Location  Nathan Philips Square, Toronto ON

Client  City of Toronto

Type  Outdoor Installation

Completion  In Progress

Team  In Partnership with Gow Hastings Architects

TRA is the Indigenous Design Consultant, retained by the City of Toronto to ride shotgun on the development of the project. The IRSS Legacy project at Nathan Philips Square responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Call to Action 82: We call upon provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with Survivors and their organizations, and other parties to the Settlement Agreement, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools Monument in each capital city to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.

While the TRC requests the establishment of a monument, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre has interpreted this call in a culturally appropriate way with the commission and installation of a Turtle sculpture, as it includes all people and reflects Indigenous teachings.

In fall 2017, the south-west corner of Nathan Phillips Square was identified as the ideal location for this sculpture through the engagement of residential school survivors and the wider Indigenous community.The sculpture features the snapping turtle climbing over a boulder. Etched in the boulder will list all the residential schools operated in Ontario.

The turtle symbolizes Mother Earth and acknowledges residential school survivors, nations and clans, rooting them back to their rightful place within creation. This design is based on the traditional Indigenous creation story of Turtle Island. The turtle shell tiles represent the 13 moons in the Indigenous lunar calendar and the 28 surrounding tiles represent the number of days between the new moons. To acknowledge the First Peoples of this region, 13 tiles honours and recognizes the 11 Nations, the Métis Peoples and the Inuit.

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