Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner October 6, 2022
September 30 was altogether a memorable day. It was the second National Truth and Reconciliation day in Canada, (NTRD) and as far as I could see and hear about, commemorations, education activities and solidarity events were undertaken from coast to coast.
CBC radio outdid itself with Indigenous hosts, music and interviews. Tom Power of the program “Q” showed his already vast knowledge of this country and his willingness to learn more, in his chat with singer-songwriter Tanya Tagaq.
The Ottawa gathering was eloquently addressed by the Prime Minister, who rightly said that some scars take a long time to heal.
Every school I know marked the day. On Vancouver Island, my eldest son told me his entire school from Mill Bay was bussed to the town of Duncan, noted for its glorious totem poles, to take part in the walk for understanding with 1,500 others. The island is the home of several Indigenous communities.
Trent University lit a sacred fire and held conversations.
Sports has a wide influence in a society. In a western CFL game, the players wore orange jerseys over their burly chests. A CFL official announced a decision in the Cree language, a happening hailed by Winnipeg scholar Niigaan Sinclair. The CN Tower was beautifully lit in orange.
Never mind that curmudgeonly Manitoba declined to declare the day an official one. Enlightenment takes some governments, especially Conservative ones - as well as individuals - more time than others to achieve.
For me, I had my T-shirt purchased from a Peterborough Indigenous artist a year ago. But it was also the night of a long-awaited Ganley family attendance at a Blue Jays game.
I seem to recall that the last time I was in the Skydome (Rogers Centre) was in 1992 when Jamaican-born Devon White was playing outfield for the Jays. This 2022 occasion included a son, his wife and two young daughters, one who is a knowledgeable Jays fan, and one who comes for the hot dogs.
The game’s first pitch was thrown by a residential school survivor. The national anthems were sung in three languages, one of them Indigenous. The staff of the stadium wore orange shirts. Someone at head office is thinking creatively.
Our tickets were on Level 2. I must point out that the stadium now has multiple washrooms for all, well- marked.
The crowd, 42,000 in number, was young, diverse, and accommodating. They had come for a good time, following several recent games that were tense, one-run affairs. The Jays delivered, winning 8-0, with Vladdy hitting a laser beam of a home run.
As entertainment, it can hardly be beat - thumping music, screens all around, waves of “all-stand-up.” I, who generally keep up with a 172- game baseball schedule by watching “The Jays in 30” after a game, had to marvel at the vast expanses of green grass those fielders have to cover. That has to be experienced live.
Now for the prices. And here, I am confounded and embarrassed. Tickets were $40 each, parking was $35 and a coke, $6. Maybe justified, once every 20 years?
The positives were the widespread smiles, the realization that this three-hour game is insignificant for the world we are living in, and the clusters of happy Indigenous children from several communities, hosted by the Jays Care Foundation. I admired a lively group from Thessalon First Nation. I enjoyed all the posted notices on screens of groups in attendance: churches and unions and the University of Waterloo.
At the seventh inning stretch, I learned the movements of the macarena (no mean feat), encouraged by 12-year-old boys, and sang all two verses of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” lustily, with my 42,000 fellow choristers. A mixed day of joy and regret, as most of them are.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at email@example.com or from >Amazon<