“I thought I’d post a video online and see if some of my running friends wanted to come out and hang up some ribbons,” Amanda Patrick, co-organizer of the event, said. “And it turned into this.”
“I think people really want to somehow show that they care.”
Patrick is Metis and said in the wake of hundreds of unmarked graves being discovered at residential school sites she wanted to create an event for solidarity and awareness — to help take steps towards being better Canadians.
“I’ve never wanted to be more knowledgeable about my culture. I almost felt ignorant at first because I thought I just don’t know as much as I should, especially about the residential schools,” Patrick said.
People in attendance came to show respect, while some had a direct connection to residential schools.
Cindy Pratt said her grandmother attended the St. Albert Youville Residential School.
“It’s huge for everyone here to recognize that we are on Treaty Six land and recognize our Indigenous heritage and what it means to be Canadian,” Pratt said.
The run began at the St. Albert Lions Park and ended at the Healing Garden, a place built to recognize and acknowledge the survivors of residential schools in St. Albert. The city was home to two residential schools, Youville and Poundmaker.
“It seems like today is a good day to celebrate the things that we love about Canada and the things that we need to change,” Allison Bullock said.
The Healing Garden was lined with small shoes and stuffed animals, in honour of the children who attended residential schools.
The runners and walkers carried orange ribbons and tied them to the pergola.
“Canada Day is a challenging time this year, so we felt we would do something more appropriate to our culture,” said Robert Légaré who did the walk with his wife and two daughters.