Six Nations of the Grand River

Photo courtesy of Six Nations Tourism

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Six Nations of the Grand River

Located south of Brantford and running alongside the Grand River, this southwestern territory in Ontario is brimming with history that spans thousands of years. The Six Nations of the Grand River is the only reserve in the continent where all Haudenosaunee nations live together. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (which translates to “they build houses”) is made up of the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. Together they contribute to the reserve’s rich arts, natural elements, history, and ongoing legacy.

November 15, 2022



Day One

HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL CHAPEL OF THE MOHAWKS  – 10:00 AM

BEYOND THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS

When you first arrive at Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks, you’ll see a quaint building with eight beautiful stained-glass windows. But beyond the infrastructure and picturesque nature surrounding the area lies a history that spans 300 years. Built in 1785, it’s the oldest surviving church in Ontario. The Chapel offers workshops and guided walking tours for visitors to learn more about the history of the Six Nations and its relationship with settler Canada. You can learn more through talks led by community members on this complex history as well as perspectives on reconciliation from Six Nations community members.

Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks. Photo credit: Mark Burnham / Six Nations Tourism

MOHAWK INSTITUTE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL AND THE WOODLAND CULTURAL CENTRE – 12:00 PM

LEARNING ABOUT RECONCILIATION

Delve deeper into important history through the Mohawk Institute Residential School and the Woodland Cultural Centre. The Centre was established in 1972 after the closure of the residential school. It is now one of the most extensive facilities in Canada managed by First Nations, with over 50,000 artifacts in its collection and a library of Indigenous-only books, research, and more. Want to learn more? Book a Truth and Reconciliation presentation to further understand the latest progress report and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 10 Principles and 94 Calls to Action. The Centre also offers virtual tours of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, which was in session for 140 years.

Next, visit the locally-owned Burger Barn for lunch. The restaurant is known for having the ultimate comfort food with huge portions. The restaurant – which looks like a barn from the outside —boasts fresh 8oz ground patties and a variety of styled burgers that have toppings like macaroni and cheese and pulled pork.

Woodland Cultural Centre. Photo credit: Woodland Cultural Centre

KAYANASE GREENHOUSE - 4:00 PM

A HORTICULTURAL TOUR

Now 15 years old, Kayanase Greenhouse is dedicated to restoring the remaining nature after the construction of the Red Hill Valley Parkway. It’s the perfect spot to learn more about ecological restoration and traditional harvesting and planting methods. The greenhouse offers native plants and seeds to purchase, such as wild bergamots and tree saplings. This area is open seasonally, so be mindful of this when you visit.

Kayanase Greenhouse. Photo credit:The Heart of Ontario

CHIEFSWOOD PARK – 5:00 PM

A DAY OF PLAY

Right next door to Kayanase is Chiefswood Park, known for its forest trails, historical exhibits and outdoor activities. Secure a full- or half-day experience to learn about Haudenosaunee culture and art. Enjoy sports? Pick up the history of the iconic sport lacrosse, and play it too. Want to grasp how food is harvested traditionally? AR/VR experiences are available to learn about the Three Sisters. In the evening, end the day paddling or lounging at the Grand River. Did you know you can also spend the night at Chiefswood Park? Their accommodations range from different-sized cabins to tent camping or glamping in a Riverside Hut.

Chiefswood Park. Photo credit: Mark Burnham/ Six Nations Tourism

Day Two

SIX NATIONS TRAIL – 10:00 AM

TAKING IN NATURE ON THE TRAIL

Explore the largest Carolinian forest in Southern Ontario while walking the Six Nations Trail. The trail is suitable for almost everyone and takes about 15 minutes to complete. A guided tour will help you learn more about the Indigenous plants in the area.

Six Nations Trail. Photo credit: Mark Burnham / Six Nations Tourism

CHIEFSWOOD NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE; YAWÉKON – 11:00 AM

AN ARTIST’S PARADISE AND TOP CHEF DISHES

Tour Chiefswood National Historic site, built in the mid-1800s for Chief George Johnson. The site is the birthplace of Indigenous poet, performer, and author E. Pauline Johnson, also known as Tekahionwake. Her poetry is recognized for its strong portrayal of Indigenous women and children. Some of her most notable poems include “A Cry from an Indian Wife,” about the Riel Rebellion, and “Ojitsoh,” about a Mohawk wife who is kidnapped by a Huron captor.

For lunch, try some Haudenosaunee cuisine at Yawékon by Tawnya Brant. Brant is a local chef and former competitor of Top Chef Canada. Yawékon means “it tastes good” in Mohawk, which is quite fitting for this special food spot. Brant likes to use ingredients she grew at home to make dishes like Three Sister soup, and blueberry and pan-seared Bay of Quinte Mohawk trout cakes.

Chiefswood National Historic Site. Photo credit: The Heart of Ontario

SIX NATIONS ARTISANS – 2:00 PM

HANDMADE JEWELRY, CRAFTS & MORE

Support Six Nations artisans by shopping locally. Sapling and Flint is named after the twin boys born to Skywoman’s daughter, according to the Ohswekén:’a Creation Story – a fitting name for a shop run by twin sisters! Their handmade jewelry is made of gold, wampum, and sterling silver. Proceeds contribute to cultural projects in Six Nations. Ribbon skirts, pants and plush reversible blankets can be found at GOTribalwear. Or visit I&S Crafts and Supplies for hand-made jewelry and Delica beading supplies.

Iroqrafts is the oldest and largest arts and crafts store in Six Nations, with plenty of goodies to choose from. You’ll find local creations including beadwork, soapstone sculptures, moccasins, and turtle shells. Authentic furs, fur hats, boots, hide, and leather goods are available to purchase as well.

Iroqrafts. Photo credit: The Heart of Ontario

WINGS & BINGO – 5:00 PM

DINNER AND A GAME

End the day with a hearty dinner at Village Pizza and Wings. The restaurant is known for its — you guessed it — stone oven pizza and jumbo wings. The generous portions will not leave you hungry.

Next, test your luck and contribute to the community with Six Nations Bingo. Join matinee and evening sessions where you can win jackpot prizes in the thousands. Six Nations Bingo donates 40 per cent of its annual profits to educational community programs across the region.


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


NEED A MAP?

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.

Ontario Culture Days thanks its tourism partners Six Nations Tourism and The Heart of Ontario for their support and assistance with this article. All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Ramona Leitao.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.


Toronto Public Art

Photo courtesy of Destination Ontario

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Toronto Public Art

Toronto is a famously diverse cultural hub for all of Canada. Perhaps less known is just how extensive and exciting the city’s public artwork is. But with a new initiative, ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, all that is changing.

October 18, 2021



Day One

SLIDE BY GREAT GRAFFITI — 10:00 AM

HEAD TO THE HEART OF STREET ART IN GRAFFITI ALLEY

Toronto’s Graffiti Alley proves just how awesome street art can be. A ribbon of city alleyway hidden behind Queen Street West, (its proper name is Rush Lane), expect to see wildly colourful murals, some by well-known Toronto street artists. Perfect for photo ops!

Murals pop up everywhere in the city, for instance 2021’s Storytelling Mural on Central Hospital Lane in Cabbagetown (a half hour transit ride from Graffiti Alley). It’s the city’s first laneway “healing corridor,” with a series of Indigenous medicinal gardens and a mural based on Indigenous healing stories. It’s also part of The Laneway Project, transforming Toronto’s overlooked public spaces.

Artwork by Que-Rock, Photo by Katherine Fleitas

WEND YOUR WAY THROUGH KENSINGTON — 11:00 AM

A FEAST FOR ALL SENSES IN KENSINGTON MARKET

Kensington Market is more than just a market, it’s a neighbourhood! A short walk north of Graffiti Alley, the market is on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, and the Huron-Wendat. You may notice this history reflected in Queen Street’s other name, Ogimaa Mikana. It’s part of the The Ogimaa Mikana Project, aimed at restoring Anishinaabemowin place names to Toronto’s streets and byways.

The area first became a market in the early 1900s when Jewish immigrants moved into the area. That wave of migration also gave rise to the nearby fashion district, marked by artist Stephen Cruise’s giant thimble, “Uniform Measure/Stack,” at Spadina and Richmond.

Today the market is a rich tapestry of many cultures, a walkable, open-air marketplace filled with delectable produce; vintage clothing stores, and eclectic restaurants. One popular spot for live music is the restaurant/bar fittingly called Supermarket.

If you’re hankering for some of the best Chinese food anywhere, stroll a few minutes east to North America’s largest Chinatown. It’s a parade of fresh fruit, veggies and herbs, and its restaurants feature everything from delectable dim sum to delicious dumplings. (Mother’s Dumpling’s is one perennially popular spot.)

Of course, you could make a whole day of it in the Kensington-Chinatown area, for art as well as edibles. The Art Gallery of Ontario on Dundas Street is minutes away, and home to the famed Henry Moore Sculpture Centre. (To literally get into Moore’s work visit nearby Grange Park, and slide onto his famous “Large Two Forms” sculpture.) StrollTo’s guide to the neighbourhood will provide yet more reasons to linger longer.

Photo courtesy of Kensington Market BIA

ROAM THE ROM — 2:00 PM

TAKE PHILOSOPHER’S WALK TO THE ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

Take one of the city’s loveliest pathways — Philosopher’s Walk — which brings you through the University of Toronto, following the now-underground Taddle Creek. At Bloor Street round the corner east to the Royal Ontario Museum. The ROM is rightfully one of the most visited museums in Canada, with extensive galleries of art, world culture, and natural history. Delve into the Daphne Cockwell Gallery, a permanent exhibition dedicated to First Peoples art and culture. The exhibition contains more than one thousand works, from beautiful birchbark canoes to Lakota Sioux chief Sitting Bull’s war bonnet.

Bloor Street itself is home to Mink Mile, so named for an abundance of upscale shops. But the area is also a treasure trove of museums, art exhibitions and cultural centres, all within an easily walkable one mile (or via a quick subway hop). No wonder it’s been dubbed the Bloor Street Culture Corridor.

Photo courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum

SHOWTIME! — 8:00 PM

GET YOUR MUSIC FIX AT ICONIC KOERNER AND MASSEY HALLS

Two of the city’s finest concert halls are close to the ROM: the stunning Koerner (a three-minute walk), and legendary Massey (a twenty-minute subway ride). Koerner opened in 2009 to rave reviews for its acoustics and beauty. It showcases classical, jazz, pop and world music concerts of the highest order. The recently renovated Massey Hall dates back to 1894, and it’s seen an incredible list of artists perform centre stage, from Maria Callas to Bob Dylan to Glenn Gould to Bob Marley.

Lisa Sakulensky Photography

Day Two

BEGIN BY THE LAKE — 10:00 AM

MEDITATE AT THE MUSIC GARDEN

The beguiling Toronto Music Garden makes for a tranquil, lakeside start to your day. The musical work that inspired it, Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, is reflected in the actual garden, with each movement corresponding to a different section.

From garden calm to city hustle and bustle — and colour, thanks to the Toronto Colour Walk, created by Toronto West BIA. Downtown buildings may trend grey, but splashes of artist-created colour bring the city to life. This self-guided walking tour takes you by a range of sculptures and murals, including two works by Douglas Coupland (yes, Generation X author Douglas Coupland): the playful “Bobber Plaza” and “Superior,” inspired by Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris’ painting “North Shore, Lake Superior, 1926.”

Photo courtesy of City of Toronto

LUNCH IN LESLIEVILLE— 1:00 PM

HISTORY AND HIPNESS, FROM THE DISTILLERY TO LESLIEVILLE

Stop 2: Head east to hip Leslieville, maybe with a stop en route at the Distillery District. There you can stroll the pedestrian-only enclave of restaurants, boutiques and galleries, all in striking former Victorian industrial buildings. On to Leslieville, so named after pioneering gardener George Leslie, whose 19th century nurseries spanned 150 acres. Artefacts from fields around Jones and Queen streets suggest that long before flowers and fruits Indigenous peoples camped in or near what’s now Leslie Grove Park. Today the area has a village feel, casual and fun, with plenty of options for foodies. Note: Take the streetcar from The Distillery to Leslieville to trundle over the Queen Street Bridge beneath by Eldon Garnet’s elegant art installation, “Time and a Clock.”

Leslieville
Photo courtesy of Leslieville BIA

WALK THE DON — 3:00 PM

WALK THE DON RAVINE FOR URBAN FOREST AND SCULPTURAL SURPRISES

Toronto is a city of ravines, a network of urban forest perfect for biking, walking and occasional glimpses of wild critters. Access the Lower Don Trail (a 4.7 kilometre walk along the Don River) at the Queen Street Bridge and head north. You’ll pass beneath the arched magnificence of the Prince Edward Viaduct (better known as the Bloor Viaduct, made famous by Michael Ondaatje’s In The Skin of a Lion). Next you’ll encounter “Monsters for Beauty, Permanence, and Individuality,” reconstructed copies of gargoyles from historic Toronto buildings. These striking sculptures were created by Omaskêko Cree artist Duane Linklater as part of the Don River Valley Park Art Program. Once you’re all walked out head up to The Danforth and Greektown for mouth-watering Greek specialties.

Duane Linklater's "Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality." Photo by Yuula Benivolski.

CATCH A SHOW — 8:00 PM

TIME FOR SOME MUSIC…OR DANCE…OR THEATRE

Built as a movie theatre in 1919, the character-filled Danforth Music Hall hosts both local and international musicians. Home to smallish shows (capacity is roughly 1,400) it has a neighbourhood feel, bordered by leafy Riverdale. Or, if the play’s the thing, take a short streetcar ride south to Crow’s Theatre. Crow’s opened in 2017 in a sleek new complex complete with lobby bar. Since then, it’s quickly became a preeminent cultural destination with a penchant for inventive, fiercely contemporary (and frequently Canadian) work.

Streetcar Crowsnest photo by Dahlia Katz

YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.
All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.


Halton Hills Region

HALTON HILLS, GEORGETOWN AND GLEN WILLIAMS

Halton Hills is a community of towns, hamlets, and villages along the Niagara Escarpment, with the Credit River winding its way through the forests, plains, and marshes. The abundant natural beauty and small-town charm have captured the hearts of artists, encouraging many of them to call this place home.

Updated November 2022.



Day One

BIKE-FRIENDLY START TO YOUR DAY– 10:00 AM

DAY 1 – 10:00 AM: THE HALTON HILLS CULTURAL CENTRE HAS IT ALL

The Halton Hills Library and Cultural Centre has been designated a Bike Welcome Centre and has everything you need to tune up your ride and prepare for your tour. The John Elliot Theatre is in the same complex as the Helson Gallery, which places the old Congregational Church structure, with its vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows, firmly in the present day. At the Helson Gallery, enjoy workshops, community art projects, and the latest work from local artists.

Stock up your bike basket with fresh produce, cheeses and breads from the local farmers market in downtown Georgetown. The farmers’ market runs Saturday mornings from June to October.

RIDE DOWN HISTORIC GUELPH STREET – 12:00 PM

DAY 1 – 12:00 PM: A HISTORICAL STREET WITH SNACK AND EATS

Nineteenth-century history lives here at the crossroads of French Catholics and the Church of England. There’s St. John’s United (1840s with renovated gothic revival form), l’Eglise Sacré-Coeur (1885), and St. George’s Anglican Church (originally a wooden structure in 1833 before the sturdier stone structure replaced it in 1851).

If you’re hungry, you can do a coffee and snack crawl along your way to check out the best patios along the historic street. But save room because your next stop is perfect for a picnic.

WANDER DOMINION GARDENS PARK – 1:00 PM

DAY 1 – 1:00 PM: ENJOY THE FRESH AIR IN DOMINION GARDENS PARK.

There’s a splash pad and a playground, but the Old Seed House Garden is the park’s main attraction. Entrepreneur William Bradley founded the garden in 1928, and within a decade, business was booming, with seeds sown from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Today, the area remains a tribute to its place in local history. The gazebo at the heart of the garden is a popular place to rest, with twin flowerbeds of tulips, daffodils, lilacs and forsythias surrounding the structure.

VISIT THE GROUNDS OF HISTORIC DEVEREAUX HOUSE – 2:30 PM

DAY 1 – 2:30 PM: CUTTING ACROSS TOWN, YOU’LL COME ACROSS THIS PLEASANT VICTORIAN-ERA FARMHOUSE.

Though its surrounding farmland was established in 1829, it wasn’t until the 1850’s that Elijah Devereaux, a member of the local militia, constructed the house. Unfortunately, the building eventually fell into disrepair, but in 2007, locals fundraised to restore it to its former charm.

TAKE A HIKE THROUGH SILVER CREEK – 3:30 PM

DAY 1 – 3:30 PM: IF YOU’RE KEEN TO CARRY ON, THE SILVER CREEK CONSERVATION AREA PRESENTS A WORTHY CHALLENGE.

There are high ridges, open plains, marshy lowlands, and several rivers. You may notice turkey vultures flying overhead and trout swimming through the waters. On your journey, you may come across a lonely cabin on what used to be the Fallbrook Farm. The existing cabin was built in 2001, replacing the early-to-mid 1800s original.

If all of this trekking has tired you out, rest up at one of the many local bed & breakfasts before tomorrow’s tour through Glen Williams.

If all of this trekking has tired you out, rest up at one of the many local bed & breakfasts before tomorrow’s tour through Glen Williams.

Photo Credit: Credit Valley Conservation

Day Two

EXPLORE GLEN WILLIAMS PARK – 10:00 AM

The History of the hamlet known as Glen Williams is intertwined with that of Georgetown.

In 1825, United Empire loyalist Benajah Williams arrived in the area which would become Halton Hills. Benajah was the brother-in-law of George Kennedy, and like his relation, he was industrious and established several mills.

Glen Williams, small as it was, had to be self-sufficient in many respects. If the villagers needed something, they had to make it themselves, so it was with Glen Williams Park. As with its other civic spaces, the locals recognized the need for a gathering place and they cleared the land to create the park in 1964. Now, it’s a favourite of residents in which to enjoy the fresh air and catch the occasional softball game.

GO FOR A HIKE ON THE CREDIT VALLEY FOOTPATH – 10:30 AM

DAY 2 – UP FOR A BIT OF A HIKE?

Glen Williams Park gives visitors easy access to the Credit Valley Footpath via the Ainley Trail access point. After a detour through the meadows in the Glen community, explore the area around the Credit River, which is teeming with vegetation and wildlife.

The Wendat and Mississaugas were the first people to explore the area’s ridges, plains, and rivers, using the Credit River to facilitate trade and transportation. When European settlers arrived, they tapped the river’s current to power mills for several industrial purposes. On your hike, you may spot the ruins of the Barber Mill, which was built in 1854 and was shuttered a century later.

For Ontario Culture Days 2019, the First Steps along the Path’ Celebration took place here. The program received a Spotlight Recognition Award for showcasing a unique set of activities capturing the themes of well-being, local heritage, and Indigenous history. Programming highlights included an Indigenous Water Ceremony, interactive arts activities, themed trail walks and tasting traditional Indigenous cuisine.

VISIT WILLIAMS MILL ART CENTRE – 11:00 AM

DAY 2 – THE WILLIAMS MILL CREATIVE CENTRE BEGAN AS A SAWMILL, BUILT BY BENAJAH WILLIAMS IN 1825.

The structure was rebuilt in 1852 and then repurposed several times⎯⎯it became a hosiery factory, an electrical facility, and a fruit processing factory. Now, it’s a hub for artists.

The Mill is a collection of artist studios that are open to the public. The artists run regular classes on life drawing, sculpture, music and more. Be sure to check out Glen Williams Glass to watch glass artists at work, and look out for community events and celebrations held at the space.

If you’re hungry, grab some lunch at the Copper Kettle, which is a short walk away. You’ll also find options for sushi, pasta, burgers and pancakes in the area.

HERITAGE TOUR OF TOWN – 12:30 PM

DAY 2 – THE FINAL LEG OF YOUR JOURNEY STARTS AT GLEN WILLIAMS TOWN HALL.

The final leg of your journey starts at Glen Williams Town Hall. In 1871, local leaders established the gathering to meet the varied needs of this small, tight-knit community. The newly minted building was often rented out for church services, concerts, and the occasional theatre production. Lucy Maude Montgomery, of Anne of Green Gables fame, lived nearby in Norval and staged a few shows here in her day.

Walking from the town hall, explore the area’s heritage homes which date back to the mid-19th century. Explore the Charles Williams House, William-Holt House, the Williams Edge Tool Factory, and the Forester House. They aren’t palatial abodes or massive factories, but these buildings were the beating heart of Glen Williams at the time.

And with that, you’ve completed your bite-sized excursion in Glen Williams. You can explore the other towns and hamlets in the hills or sit on the benches by St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church and watch the Credit River flow.


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE


YOUR TRIP AT A GLANCE

This guide represents a weekend-long experience, highlighting one of the many wonderful destinations in the area. To suggest a destination for a future guide, please contact us.
All editorial decisions were made at the sole discretion of Ontario Culture Days staff. This guide was written by Li Robbins.


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.