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 Indigenous-led Great Lakes Water Walk along Toronto's waterfront took place on September 24, 2017 to help us all remember and care for the water.
Starting at sunrise, Indigenous water walkers led a diverse group of people from Toronto and beyond on the Great Lakes Water Walk, as a way of raising awareness of the water we all depend on, bringing healing, and uniting cultures.
Elders met large groups of people at the mouths of the Credit and Rouge Rivers for a blessing of those historic watersheds. The two groups then traversed Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront, joining finally at Marilyn Bell Park, just west of Ontario Place.
Here, the elders led a blessing of the Great Lakes with the Chiefs of the two traditional territories crossed by the journey. They were joined by leaders of the Greater Toronto cultural and faith traditions, governments, businesses, youth, working people, and voluntary organizations came together as a tangible expression of reconciliation found in the common source of the Great Lakes waters.
The walk was part of The Greatness Project initiated by the Lt. Governor of Ontario and implemented by a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners, led by the water walkers of Nibi Emosaawdamajig in partnership with Ecologos.b