On Monday, September 30, 2019, the BIA attended the unveiling of new murals along the Lower Simcoe Street underpass that celebrate indigenous perspective. Councillor Joe Cressy was joined by lead artist Tannis Nielsen and young artists from the local Toronto Indigenous community, as well as other local community members, on Orange Shirt Day to officially unveil new underpass murals along Lower Simcoe Street in downtown Toronto
Nielsen, who is of Metis/Anishinaabe and Danish ancestry, began the project in 2017 and welcomed young artists from Toronto’s Indigenous community to help paint the final artwork. Other members of the local community also contributed to the final artwork.
The Water Wall mural, on the east side of the underpass, is inspired by the work of Josephine Mandamin, an Anishabaabewe grandmother who has walked almost 18,000 kilometres around each of the Great Lakes in order to bring attention to the physical plight of the planet’s greatest resource, water.
The west wall of the underpass, called the Elder/Honour Wall, consists of 28 portraits of Indigenous Peoples named by the local community while honouring the Indigenous Elders and leaders of the local Toronto community.
Orange Shirt Day is held annually to promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact it had on Indigenous communities in Canada for more than a century.
The Lower Simcoe Street underpass was constructed in 2009. It connects Toronto’s financial district to the waterfront and is a key corridor linking visitors and residents with Union Station and a number of major attractions and notable landmarks.