New Toronto Street Signs Highlight the City’s Indigenous History

Historical makeover.

You might notice something a little different around the major streets of Toronto.

Thanks to some brand new street signs, the the city of Toronto is now officially highlighting the area’s Indigenous history. This movement began back in 2013, when Aboriginal artists and activists Hayden King, and Susan Blight, started a project called Ogimaa Mikana. In an effort to reclaim Toronto’s Indigenous history, the two made stickers with Indigenous translations of Toronto street names, sticking them over the original signs.

The Aboriginal scholars have been pasting Ojibwe names across Toronto for over two years, but recently caught attention with their billboard sign project earlier this year.

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Now made official, the historical make-over gives the city a little taste of history on Toronto’s best-known streets.

“The Ogimaa Mikana Project is an effort to restore Anishinaabemowin place names to the streets, avenues, roads, paths and trails,” the Ogimaa Mikana project states. The official website notes the goal as, “transforming a landscape that often obscures or makes invisible the presence of Indigenous peoples.”

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King and Blight believe the city covers up its aboriginal history, which includes thousands of years of abuse and betrayal.

The new signs went up Friday as part of a joint initiative by Ogimaa Mikana and the Dupont by the Castle Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Have you spotted them?