In observance of National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Municipality of Port Hope is taking several steps as an organization and a community leader to encourage reflection, listening, and learning to work towards reconciliation with our Indigenous neighbours, friends, and colleagues.

Colonel Arthur T.H. Williams statue

Council has provided staff direction to begin work on an Indigenous cultural awareness strategy for the Municipality. The strategy will include addressing options for the future of the Colonel Arthur T.H. Williams statue that is located in front of Town Hall. The monument celebrates Colonel Williams as the hero of the Battle of Batoche, suppressing the First Nation and Métis resistance. This view is challenged by a contemporary understanding of the consequences that the battle had on Indigenous communities and culture. Additionally, the statue’s inscription does not reflect Port Hope’s current values.

While the strategy is being developed, and the process of research, consultation, and education is underway, a temporary storyboard will be installed in the near future beside the statue, to reflect the modern-day context, a current interpretation of the events of that time, the implications of the battle of Batoche and Colonel Williams’ role in the battle’s history.

Observance of National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Earlier this month, the Municipality announced that staff will observe September 30, 2021, as a paid holiday for permanent, full-time staff to honour and reflect on Canada’s residential school survivors, their families, and communities and to respect current collective agreements. Staff have been provided Indigenous heritage, culture, and history resources as part of their own learning and reflection journey on the national day of observance.

Many non-essential municipal services will be closed on September 30, however essential services such as the Transit system will not be affected. Additionally, some programming at our recreation facilities will continue, as previously scheduled.

Education investment

The Municipality has also invested in and provided an extensive education program for Council and designated staff, which will be considered as part of the overall Indigenous awareness strategy and goals for the organization going forward.

Every Child Matters flag

The Every Child Matters flag has been raised at Town Hall for the week of September 27 to October 1, in honour of Truth and Reconciliation.

For more information about the Municipality’s response to Truth and Reconciliation or for resources to consider as part of your own learning and education, visit our Indigenous Land Acknowledgement page.

“Honouring Truth and Reconciliation from a municipal perspective is a long and worthy journey. It’s a time to explore, as an organization and a community, the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. This year we have an opportunity to address concerns related to the Colonel Arthur T.H. Williams statue and we are committing to do so in a timely manner, and then revisit the options presented for the future of the statue as part of our Indigenous cultural awareness strategy.”

Bob Sanderson
Mayor of the Municipality of Port Hope