Truth and Reconciliation Day 2023 in Kingston

Sept. 30, 2023 marks the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

The day responds to Call 80 of the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Sept. 30 is a day to honour Survivors, their families and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

It is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led movement created as an opportunity to discuss the effects of residential schools and their legacy and to share and learn from the stories of Survivors like Phyllis Webstad. It is a celebration of resilience and an affirmation that every child matters.

City Hall will be illuminated in orange on Saturday, Sept. 30 to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Indigenous-led events and ceremonies are planned around the community to create space for Indigenous Peoples to connect and honour the day. Non-Indigenous community members are invited to listen, learn and reflect on the history of Canada’s residential school system and the lived experiences of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Calls to Action?

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission took place between 2008 and 2015. It was an opportunity for survivors of residential schools to come forward and tell their stories. These histories were recorded and compiled, ensuring that the legacy of what the survivors experienced would not be forgotten.

Survivor stories represented the truth portion of the Commission. However, reconciliation is a much longer, much more involved process. It requires action at the individual, government and collective levels. To help guide reconciliation and to set clear goals, the Commission identified 94 calls to action covering a wide range of Canadian society. As of July 26, 2022, only 13 calls to action have been completed, 19 are not started and another 64 remain in various states of progress. Learn more at CBC Beyond 94.

Local Gatherings

Confederation Park

    • Indigenous community members will hold a Sacred Fire: Sept. 30, sunrise to sunset .
    • Stop in front of the fountain and reflect on the legacy of residential schools at a temporary installation sharing the 94 Calls to Action: Sept. 26 – October to reflect and share how you can commit to learning and taking action in support of Reconciliation. Staff will be on-site from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for a reflective program.
    • City Hall will be illuminated orange: Sept. 30, sunset to sunrise
    • City Hall will raise the Every Child Matters flag: Sept. 30

PumpHouse Museum 

On Sept. 30 PumpHouse Museum will have take-home programming available.  Families are encouraged to discuss the ways they can commit to learning and how they can take action to support reconciliation. Every Child Matters bracelets will be provided to wear in remembrance.

Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest Events

Crafting Day – Sept. 25, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest

Reconciliation with our Plant Relations – Sept. 28 at Belle Island, contact Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest for more information

Kingston Community Health Centres (263 Weller Ave.)  – Sept. 30, all are welcome:

    • 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Storytime with kids and Circle with adults
    • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations and readings
    • 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Lunch
    • 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Keynote Speaker
    • 2 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Medicine Teachings
    • 2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. TRC Jeopardy / Sacred Fire
    • 2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Drumming
    • Self Care Day – Oct. 6, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    • For details contact Mandy email:

Kingston Community Health Centres

    • Sacred Fire, Street Health (115 Barrack St.) – Oct. 2, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • ‘Bones of Crows’, screening of the award winning 2023 film – Sept 30, 6:30 p.m. at The Screening Room (120 Princess St.) “Removed from their family home and forced into Canada’s residential school system, Cree musical prodigy Aline and her siblings are plunged into a struggle for survival. Bones of Crows is Aline’s journey from child to matriarch, a moving multi-generational epic of resilience, survival and the pursuit of justice.” This event is free for Indigenous community members and $12 for settlers.

A Traditional Opening before the film and an optional debrief conversation for those who are interested.

For tickets: Bones of Crows – Orange Shirt Day Screening Tickets, Sat, 30 Sep 2023 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

True North Aid’s 4th Annual Reconciliation Walk – Sept 29. and Sept. 30, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area)

Find more information on the Facebook event page.

Online Events and Broadcasts

In partnership with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), APTN is broadcasting a national live event “Remembering the Children” on Parliament Hill. The commemoration is supported by Canadian Heritage and seeks to honour residential school Survivors, pay tribute to the children who never made it home, and deliver a safe and nurturing environment for reconciliation and healing.

Learning Resources and Reports