Canada's First Peoples have always revered the Great Lakes as a sacred gift. Every culture joining the Canadian mosaic since has a deep connection to water – something that’s been forgotten in the busyness of modern life. Cut off from our lakes and rivers, we need to renew this bond.

The Great Lakes Water Walk is a first step toward an annual National Day of Walking for the Water. It marks a new beginning of right relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for Canada’s next 150 years.
— Co-leaders Stan Gibson & Kim Wheatley

Early on September 24, 2017, Anishinaabek Elder Josephine Mandamin will lead 15,000 people on the Ontario150 Great Lakes Water Walk & Gathering, as a way of raising awareness, bringing healing and uniting cultures. 

This image of Toronto's waterfront taken by one of the city's newest residents, Sidra Al-Haj Ali, though the JAYU Human Rights Festival's iAM project.

This image of Toronto's waterfront taken by one of the city's newest residents, Sidra Al-Haj Ali, though the JAYU Human Rights Festival's iAM project.

Indigenous elders will meet large groups of people at the mouths of the Credit and Rouge Rivers for a blessing of those historic watersheds. The two groups will then traverse Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront, joining finally at Ontario Place. 

Here, Josephine will lead a blessing of the Great Lakes with Chiefs of the two traditional territories crossed by the journey. The leaders of the Greater Toronto cultural and faith traditions, governments, businesses, youth, working people and voluntary associations will also come together as a tangible expression of reconciliation found in the common source of the Great Lakes waters.

The Ontario150 Great Lakes Water Walk & Celebration is a part of The Greatness Project initiated by the Lt. Governor of Ontario and implemented by a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners, anchored by Ecologos. The event takes the first steps in establishing a national Walk the Water Day.


In two groups, participants will walk east from the mouth of the Credit to the Humber, and west from the mouth of the Rouge to the Don. Then they will meet at Ontario Place for a blessing of the water that sustains us.

In two groups, participants will walk east from the mouth of the Credit to the Humber, and west from the mouth of the Rouge to the Don. Then they will meet at Ontario Place for a blessing of the water that sustains us.