Toronto sign gets new look recognizing Indigenous languages

Anyone strolling through Nathan Phillips Square this week may notice that Toronto’s iconic sign has had a facelift.

The sign received a new envelope called reviverecognizing the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, which emphasizes the rights of indigenous language speakers worldwide.

The packaging was created by Anishinaabe artist Joseph Sagaj. Sagaj joined city officials and indigenous leaders in the plaza to unveil the new design on Wednesday morning.

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“Language is the essence and spirit of my identity and culture,” says Sagaj. « However, it’s not exclusive to the spoken word in the ways of storytelling that I grew up hearing and speaking about in my community. »

In my later years, I realized that expression and voice were also reflected in art, poetry, song, dance, and storytelling across various mediums and genres. The language is also present in the ceremonies; the spirit expresses itself through the heart and its ways of life.

My artistic renderings and what is presented here in the « TORONTO » panel is a « preview » of the expressions of these ways and the reflection of the values.

The new packaging will remain on the sign until the fall of 2023.

Toronto will join the rest of Canada in marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday, September 30.


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