The updated Dark Side of Sand Hill walking tour recognized the role politicians played in the creation of residential schools, the Indian Act


The Dark Side of Sand Hill The walking tour is back just in time for Halloween and, after a first tour last year, has been updated to highlight the Ottawa neighborhood’s connections to the residential school tragedy.

Through her work with local community association Action Sandy Hill, tour designer Hilary Duff created The Dark Side of Sandy Hill to “bring the community together safely during COVID.” Being from the neighborhood and knowing a little about its heritage, Duff said she thinks October is the perfect time of year to take a walking tour with a dark twist.

The walk took participants into the world of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, the sessions of former Prime Minister Mackenzie King and the great sewer explosions of 1931.

While packed with lesser-known and darker elements, this year’s tour also acknowledged the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples by the Canadian government.

Two of the stops were outside the homes of former prime ministers John A. Macdonald at Stadacona Hall at 395 Laurier Ave. E. and Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King at Laurier House at the corner of Laurier and Chapel streets.

I would be doing the reconciliation and what really happened in (Canadian) history a disservice if I did not mention Macdonald’s involvement and coordination in residential schools.

Hilary Duff, Leader of The Dark Side of Sandy Hill Walking Tour

While the three Premiers are just a few of the many former residents of Sandy Hill who have had a significant impact on Canadian history, their involvement in Residential Schools and the Indian Act was part of the tour. .

These controversial ties to residential schools and other discriminatory policies were not included in last year’s pilot, as Duff decided she wanted it to be lighter and more fun, given the circumstances of the pandemic.

“I would be doing the reconciliation and what really happened in (Canadian) history a disservice if I did not mention Macdonald’s involvement and coordination in the residential schools,” she said. just before the three dates at the end of October. for the tour. “I decided it was important to shape it the way I decided to shape it this year.”

This year’s tour mirrored that of last year with around 10 stops, but the script has been updated to include more information on the involvement of political figures in the cultural genocide that deeply affected indigenous peoples. . The revised walking tour followed the removal of a statue of Macdonald in Kingston, Ontario. and before a recent announcement to “revamp” the plaques on the graves of former prime ministers.

Duff said she started last year’s tour by telling attendees to close their eyes and imagine horse-drawn carriages on muddy streets in the 1800s. However, a recognition of Indigenous lands was in the foreground before this year’s march.

“The way the tour went last year, it really approached history through the prism of the city’s constructed history and the (suggested) history started when the Europeans arrived,” Duff said. “While it still focuses on the buildings and people who lived in the neighborhood after settlement began, it is important to refer to the people on whom the land is located. “

The Sandy Hill Dark Side walking tours took place October 24-29.


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