On Monday I was a tourist in my own city (Toronto), and I stumbled across the South Liberty Trail. There was a sign detailing the history of the area, starting in the 1880s. Although it was interesting, it made me wonder about what came before the industry.
Signs like this – while interesting and providing us some history – suggest by default that what’s important started with the date on the sign.
Which isn’t true, because we know that everywhere in this country there’s Indigenous history.
What was here before the streets were made and named?
(Not to mention that even in the history told, we only get a single story.)
Questions to Ponder…
What was here before 1880?
Why isn’t that on the sign?
What would it add to our experience as Canadians, and our connection with Indigenous Peoples if signs like this were to include a broader, richer, and deeper history than they suggest now?
What could a broader awareness of our histories do for ability to acknowledge, connect, build bridges, heal and create a country that is equitable and inclusive for the people that were here before the recorded dates on these signs?
(c) Annemarie Shrouder 2021