With the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coming up this Friday, orange shirts are in high demand across the country this week. Orange Shirt Day, as it’s otherwise known, is meant to honour the survivors of the residential school system along with those who died at the hands of the organizers of the system. Orange shirts, inspired by Phyllis’ Story, symbolize one of the many personal items stripped from the students.
With just a few days left, here are a few stores to find last minute orange shirts that are either designed by Indigenous artists, are sold at Indigenous-owned businesses, or whose donations are going to reconciliation efforts.
At the Cedar Basket, the gift shop at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, you can find “Every Child Matters” inscribed on everything from orange T-shirts to hats, patches, and bracelets. One such shirt has the words written across a heart, designed by Tsimshian artist Morgan Asoyuf. Proceeds will be directed to the Orange Shirt Society, the B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Association and the new Native Northwest Reconciliation Fund.
The Native Art Society is an Indigenous-owned art gallery and studio space located at 115 Church St. that is offering one final order pick-up available for Thursday afternoon. These orange T-shirts are hand-printed by intergenerational survivors, with all proceeds going to the Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, a grassroots initiative with the goal of reducing the harm and burden that society places on Indigenous people. To reach a wider audience, the Native Art Society is additionally hosting a pop-up at Sorauren Park today between 4 and 7 p.m. to sell kid and adult sizes.
Old’s Cool General Store, located in East York, has been supporting Orange Shirt Day before the official declaration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This year, the shirts were designed by an Ojibwe artist from Dokis First Nation with the theme of hope for learning, growth and change, as represented through the beaded flower. Proceeds from the shirts go to Anishnawbe Health Toronto.
You can visit any Giant Tiger across Canada to find an orange T-shirt designed by two-spirit Ojibway artist Patrick Hunter who hails from Red Lake, Ontario. 100 per cent of the proceeds for these shirts go towards Indspire, an Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. Hunter has also recently opened a pop-up shop featuring his digital art works, candles, apparel and more between the TSX and Google buildings.