We present to you an opportunity to join us in working together and helping one another. Our work represents both a history and a hope of different cultures embracing new challenges, new opportunities and new understandings. Too much of our history has included systemic racism, cultural divides, and polarized opinions created by misinformation about that history. We seek to create possibilities in a place for conversations, asking questions, and learning.
We offer you an opportunity to join us in bringing that vision to life through a place and through an icon. The icon is a gift that celebrates our collective history and forges a new path forward for a brighter future.
The place is Wiidookdaadiwin.
From the height of the site, as you focus on the Collingwood Grain elevators at the centre point on the horizon, shift your gaze to the right and you will see the outline of Georgian Bay, part of the largest body of freshwater in the world. Continuing to the right, the Copeland Forest lies at the north western toe of the Oro Moraine, from which the waters carry into the Coldwater River, the Sturgeon River and Willow Creek.
As your eyes return to look straight ahead of you, they will land upon a multitude of nature’s gifts: a Boreal forest, a Carolinian forest, Bogs, marshes and the Nottawasaga River winding its way back to Wasaga Beach. The Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere, rises in front of your sightline. You can also see a portion of the 730 kilometer Bruce Trail wind its way through the wetlands.
As your eyes continue to scan, they will land upon a Canadian National Historic site, Willow Creek Depot. Here is the convergence of the Nine Mile Portage, the Ganaraska Trail and the Trans Canada Trail. The internationally renowned Minesing Wetlands lay before you, a most biodiverse wetlands designated as an Internationally significant Ramsar boreal wetlands. It is almost impossible to find another single location that will provide you with such breadth and beauty of nature.
As you take it all in, your mind can’t help but take a journey back, to the rich history of these lands and waters. Indigenous people from many different nations made this amazing location their home for thousands of generations. When Europeans first arrived, lured by both the beauty and bounty of this place, trade began and new paths were forged on top of the old. What better place to learn about those people and those relationships? Let the historic journey of discovery fill you with a promise of knowing more and creating within you a desire to do better. It is only through learning from each other can we… Remember Our Past. Celebrate Our Present. Build Our Future.
Our name, Wiidookdaadiwin, is from the Ojibway language and means “Working Together and Helping One Another”. The gift of the name was presented to us by the Elders of the Chippewa Tri-Council, symbolizing the working relationship, sharing of knowledge and the teachings that have gone on for centuries here in our region and nationally. Together, we are working for the greater good, for all of us.
In 2002, Harold Parker and Tony Guergis had a shared vision:
to repurpose a closed landfill site and create a county-wide gathering place to celebrate history, education and culture.
Simcoe County has a long history of environmental stewardship. Development of the Wiidookdaadiwin site falls in line with the County’s ongoing commitment to remediate old waste sites and return the land to the beauty Indigenous peoples have enjoyed for generations.
We don’t take our name lightly. Working Together and Helping One Another has been a guiding principle since the first step of this journey. It embodies the working relationship with the land and our cultures that should always be fostered. It celebrates the telling of truths, both past and present, and ensures they are at the core of every message.
At this time in history, when both the Provincial and Federal governments have committed to the implementation of the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, what could be more important than to work together and support one another? Wiidookdaadiwin will not only be a place of education, reflection and a celebration of shared history but will also model a new way of collaboration based on truth and respect.
On behalf of the committee and partners, Beausoleil First Nation successfully acquired a Heritage Canada grant in 2012. This funding empowered the committee to commission a sculpture by Canada’s renowned sculptor Marlene Hilton Moore.
The gift of the name Wiidookdaadiwin from the Chippewa Tri Council, originally meant for the Icon, has been extraordinarily helpful in keeping our vision in focus. The name also captures the guiding principles of this entire journey, and as such, has been adopted as the name of the site as well as the working group, Friends of Wiidookdaadiwin.
We now begin our fundraising campaign for an additional $500,000 to open the site. This campaign of $500,000 will bring the icon to its resting place. The project costs include: