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Members of Kingston’s small business community took Canada Day off — not to celebrate, but to reflect

Click to play video: 'Companies in Kingston have found alternate ways to spend Canada Day, including closing their doors to reflect on the nation’s history.' Companies in Kingston have found alternate ways to spend Canada Day, including closing their doors to reflect on the nation’s history.
Companies in Kingston have found alternate ways to spend Canada Day, including closing their doors to reflect on the nation’s history – Jul 2, 2021

In one of the most divisive Canada Days in recent memory, many communities across Canada cancelled celebratory events in solidarity with Indigenous communities.

“I think it’s time as a nation we ask why. What is the hold back, and how can we move forward?,” says Taylor Fox, a Kingston business owner.

Read more: ‘Statues can be replaced, children can’t’: Indigenous leaders react to Canada Day protest

Many people across the nation took time to reflect during the holiday. People stood in solidarity with Indigenous communities to spend Canada Day learning and understanding details in Canada’s history.

This comes after the findings of remains of over 1,500 children who were forced to attend residential schools.

The term ‘Cancel Canada Day’ has been circulating social media ahead of the holiday. Taylor Fox explains that this is something that’s been addressed among Indigenous communities in the past. But now, she feels this needs to be mainstream.

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“It’s time these dialogues start happening. So really, I look at today — we’re not healed yet as a country, but I think today is a really great opportunity to re-look at the narrative,” says Fox.

Read more: ‘No pride’: Growing calls to cancel Canada Day amid residential schools discovery

In Kingston, some local businesses have decided to shut their doors. The owners and employees from Mile and a Quarter Ice Cream have dedicated their time to learning what can be done to recognize the importance of Canada Day.

“We shared some information with our employees and didn’t make it mandatory, but we said if you could take the time today to learn more we’d appreciate it. We gave them some links that we followed,” says Spring Currie, co-owner of Mile and a Quarter Ice Cream.

Grant Currie, co-owner of the ice cream shop, says, “When we think of reflection we think of the families that we serve serving ice cream and it brings us joy. And people are happy coming in here for ice cream.

“And to think about families that aren’t together because of this is a perfect opportunity for us to really reflect.”

As other local businesses could not afford to close their doors on what would be a very busy day, they have decided to donate proceeds instead. Jess Huddle, co-owner of Northside Espresso, says for them, today is a day about listening and acknowledging that there is much more to learn about Canada’s history.

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Read more: COVID-19: Kingston’s Canada Day fireworks cancelled for 2nd year in a row

As a result, they will be donating some of their proceeds to the Legacy of Hope Foundation, an Indigenous-led charitable organization.

Taylor Fox says going forward, it is important for people to do their own research.

“Challenge yourself to think, why are things the way they are? Look at the numbers. The homelessness rate, the missing and murdered Indigenous women — it’s countless, the incarceration rates, the child welfare system,” Fox says.

“All of these things — access to clean drinking water — if any of those sentences I just said, you don’t know why those things are negative, just Google.”

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