Installation of public art to replace Canada Day celebrations in Waterloo


The City of Waterloo will be installing a series of temporary public art instead of holding typical Canada Day celebrations on July 1. 

In a statement, city officials said Canada Day is an occasion to recognize Indigenous people and the many cultures that are part of the Canadian identity. A series of seven public art installations will be presented at parks throughout the city. 

“This Canada Day, we should all set aside some time to learn about truth and reconciliation. We can also think about what we can do to truly reconcile the actions we have taken in the past and identify and take meaningful actions that bring about reconciliation with the Indigenous people and forge a better future together,” the statement reads. 

Artists were asked through an open call to provide artworks responding to certain themes. These include the stories and histories of various people, communities and nations who have called and continue to call Canada home and the meaning of celebrating or not celebrating the past, present, and future of Canada.

No large community events will be held as in accordance with COVID-19 related public health restrictions. 

“The installations will also focus on what it means to celebrate or not celebrate the past, present and future of Canada, and Waterloo, as a community full of diverse identities, tradition and celebrations,” the statement reads.

One of the art pieces includes On the land, by Shawn Johnson, which is installed throughout the Geo Time Trail. This is a series of photos in which five different people answer the question “What does it mean to live on this Indigenous territory?”

Details about each installation are available where? as of June 14. The installations will be completed by June 30 and will be on display for one month until July 30. 

Wilmot Township, a rural township in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, will also not be holding any formal celebrations this year, according to an article by CTV News. The township’s Canada Day committee has made this decision to show respect for the Indigenous community. 

“The Indigenous communities are asking for us to rally around them and give them space for them to have their trauma and sorrow,” said Angie Hallman, the chair of the committee. Hallman added that they are creating a safe space so that the Indigenous communities and the City of Waterloo can navigate and look forward.