Two New Experience Trail Markers were unveiled this week: The Firefly and The Chickadee.
On June 21st, the sixth YR Experience Trail Marker was unveiled in Aurora Town Park. The marker, is named “Firefly” in the local Ojibwe language (Waawaatesi).
On June 22nd, the seventh YR Experience Trail Marker was unveiled in Fairy Lake Park, Newmarket. The marker, is named “The Chickadee” in the local Ojibwe language (Gijigijigaaneshinh).
Both markers were added to the trail and were revealed as a joint celebration for Indigenous Day and Pollinators Week.
The YR Experience Trail Marker Project is an interactive art project that aims to connect people to the land known as York Region through art.
The markers feature illustrations by Indigenous artist Donald Chrétien from Nipissing First Nation and cultural narratives by Ojibwe Elder Shelley Charles from Georgina Island First Nation.
The York Region Arts Council commissioned the project, with Monica del Rio Pain as the program lead. The event was attended by local art and nature enthusiasts alongside members of the community.
Kim Wheatley, an Indigenous Storyteller, and Tom Mrakas, the Mayor of Aurora, spoke at the unveiling event in Aurora, expressing their excitement about the project and celebrating the new trail marker, the second one for the region.
Indigenous Elder Shelley Charles also spoke, emphasizing the importance of learning from Indigenous knowledge and acknowledging it for future generations.
At the second unveiling in Newmarket Mayor John Taylor hosted the event and shared his sentiments about the importance of bringing art like this to the community, as well as his deep commitment to the Indigenous land and community.
The trail markers are designed to draw people into becoming part of the art itself and are shaped like large magnifying glasses.
There are currently five other markers across York Region, with the goal of having one in each municipality by the end of the year.
For more information about the trail markers and the Experience Trail, visit here.
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Lalaa Comrie is an Afro-Caribbean poet, award-winning writer, literacy advocate, book blogger, and host of the Getting Lit Podcast. For over a decade, Lalaa has worked in communications by helping brands create content that is both diverse and inclusive while leveraging the talent of BIPOC creators and storytellers; work she continues at York Region Arts Council.