Saanich honours Orange Shirt Day

September 19, 2019

News release

For immediate release

Saanich honours Orange Shirt Day

Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich will honour former residential school students and their families on Orange Shirt Day Monday, September 30.

Orange Shirt Day is a national movement in Canada for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. On September 30, people come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation to honour former residential schools students whose families and communities have been affected by the policies and actions of the Government of Canada and the churches that operated the schools.

“Over 150,000 children were forced into the residential school system,” said Saanich Manager of Community Services Cristina Caravaca. “While it is important to take a day to reflect on this cruel history, we cannot think of Reconciliation as something we do only once a year. We should all look for small acts of reconciliation that we can incorporate into our daily lives.”

Recreation centres in Saanich will have Orange Shirt Day t-shirts available for purchase September 18to 30. Proceeds from Saanich’s Orange Shirt Day t-shirt sales will support conservation and placement of the Witness Blanket exhibition into its permanent location at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Both the t-shirt and the Witness Blanket are the creation of local Indigenous artist Carey Newman. Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, is a multi-disciplinary artist and master carver. He created the Witness Blanket art installation which is made of items collected from residential schools, government buildings and churches across Canada. The Witness Blanket stands as a national monument to recognize the atrocities of the Indian Residential School era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.

Saanich residents who wish to participate may purchase an orange t-shirt for $20 at any of Saanich’s four recreation centres:

  • Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Road
  • Gordon Head Recreation Centre, 4100 Lambrick Way
  • G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Road
  • Saanich Commonwealth Place, 4636 Elk Lake Drive

Newman is also the same artist who created Earth Drums, Saanich’s newest public art, to commemorate Canada 150. Earth Drums will be unveiled at Cedar Hill Park September 27.

The First Peoples have been here since time immemorial and their history in this area is long and rich. The District of Saanich is within Coast and Straits Salish territory, the traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples known today as Songhees and Esquimalt Nations and the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples known today as W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip), BOḰEĆEN (Pauquachin), SȾÁUTW̱  (Tsawout), W̱SIḴEM (Tseycum) and MÁLEXEȽ (Malahat) Nations. 

The District of Saanich is proud that our name is derived from the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. Saanich Council is committed to taking a leadership role in the process of healing wounds of the past and becoming a more just, fair and caring society.

Learn more about Saanich’s First Nations relations at


Media contact:
Cristina Caravaca
Manager of Community Services