Hudson’s Bay Foundation opens legacy spaces in partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
TORONTO, ON - In partnership with Downie Wenjack Fund, Hudson's Bay Foundation is proud to unveil two Legacy Spaces at The Bay and Hudson’s Bay head offices in Toronto. Inspired by Chanie Wenjack’s story and Gord Downie’s call to action to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous people in Canada. The Bay and Hudson’s Bay Legacy Spaces are part of a five-year partnership with DWF.
“The Legacy Spaces are meant to encourage dialogue, reflection and learning for associates to understand the impacts of colonialism and the residential school system, and advance reconciliation within our organization,” says Iain Nairn, President & CEO of The Bay. “The spaces chosen are hubs for collaboration, where teams meet to ideate and make decisions about our business. It was important for us to create spaces at the centre of our workplace—to keep reconciliation at the forefront of how we do business.”
The Legacy Spaces were officially unveiled at an event opened with words from Bob Watts, former Executive Director of Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission and current Chair of both DWF and Reconciliation Canada. The gathering celebrated Indigenous culture through art, music, food and storytelling; Anishinaabe Woodland artist Blake Angeconeb created a dedicated art piece for The Bay space, and shared his vision for the creation: “Throughout history and to present day, Indigenous people have relied on movement as a means of survival. Hudson’s Bay Company played a significant role in the process of colonization, a difficult and uncomfortable reality that Indigenous and settler societies are learning to navigate in the journey to reconciliation. This commission landed on the concepts of beauty, resilience, and truth. Indigenous people are beautiful. Our traditions, our language, our ability to shine brightly give us strength to keep moving. We move ahead while honouring our truth, understanding that the truth is hard to bear. Hard truths that are interwoven and inseparable from the path we walk. We must talk about them. Niigaani mamaajise means “It moves ahead”, a reminder that reconciliation is an action, never linear, and always in motion.”
Traditional Métis fiddler Tristen Durocher played for guests and spoke, sharing “I’m from Northern Saskatchewan, a traditional Métis place, so I brought some of that music here to showcase what people would be listening to at gatherings where I'm from. My belief is that music gives people the emotional vocabulary to express things they might not otherwise have the words for. It's beautiful and heartwarming to be here.”
“The Legacy Spaces program is an opportunity for corporations, government, organizations and others to provide education and awareness about Indigenous history and the journey of reconciliation,” says Sarah Midanik, president and chief executive officer, DWF. “Creating physical spaces reminding us of our ongoing commitment to transformative relationships with Indigenous people is critical. DWF is thrilled to welcome Hudson’s Bay Foundation as a Legacy Space partner committed to doing this important work.”
“As we build our Truth & Reconciliation framework for our company, we have been travelling across Canada and meeting with Indigenous communities to help inform that plan,” says Wayne Drummond, President of Hudson’s Bay. “The Legacy Space is an opportunity to bring some of that learning back to our broader organization and demonstrate our long-term commitment to learning and integrating Indigenous cultural awareness into our workplace.”
The Legacy Spaces feature an interactive experience where visitors can watch and/or listen to the Secret Path animation film and documentary, view the art on display, access educational materials, and sit for contemplation.
In May 2021, Hudson’s Bay Foundation launched its new social platform Hudson’s Bay Foundation Charter for Change, to help advance racial equity in Canada by committing $30 million over ten years to charitable partners supporting diverse communities with a focus on Indigenous Peoples and Black People’s opportunities in education, employment and empowerment.
ABOUT HUDSON’S BAY FOUNDATION
Hudson’s Bay Foundation is a registered charity, working to address racial inequality by investing in education, employment and empowerment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, Black People and People of Colour. In 2021, Hudson’s Bay Foundation launched Hudson’s Bay Charter for Change, committing $30 million over 10 years to accelerate racial equity in communities across Canada. By partnering with organisations doing critical work under its three pillars, Hudson's Bay Foundation provides funding for programs and initiatives driving meaningful and sustainable change.
ABOUT THE BAY
Through a digital-first, purpose-driven lens, The Bay helps Canadians live their best style of life. The Bay operates thebay.com featuring Marketplace, one of the largest premium life & style digital platforms in Canada, with a seamless connection to a network of 85 Hudson's Bay stores. The Bay has established a reputation for quality and style through an unrivalled assortment of products and categories including fashion, home, beauty, food concepts and more. Follow us on our social media channels: Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.
The Bay and Hudson’s Bay operate under the HBC brand portfolio. Founded in 1670, HBC is North America’s oldest company. The signature stripes are a registered trademark of HBC.
ABOUT THE GORD DOWNIE AND CHANIE WENJACK FUND
Inspired by Chanie’s story and Gord’s call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our goal is to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all peoples in Canada. Learn more at DownieWenjack.ca.
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