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Learn about Ontario’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures through artistic expression, culinary customs, festive events, heritage sites and sacred places.
Celebrate and share the culture, customs and languages of all of Canada’s indigenous peoples on National Aboriginal Day (and the day of summer solstice, the longest day of the year). Join in the festivities at Saint Marie among the Hurons, follow the Moccasin Walk Trail at Crawford Lake Conservation Area or catch the performances during the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival in Ottawa. Six Nations Tourism is host to a variety of cultural and arts and crafts events and festivals throughout the year. Take in original and provocative aboriginal film and art at the annual imagineNATIVE festival.
Pow wows are social and spiritual gatherings to celebrate the customs and honour the leaders of indigenous peoples, usually involving food, music, dance and ceremony. Attending a pow wow is not only a great privilege, but also an opportunity to gain insight into sacred legends and surviving traditions.
The history and culture of Ontario’s Inuit, Métis and First Nations people is closely knit to land and water. Feel the reverence for the natural world on a guided tour or spirit walk or at ancient petroglyph and pictograph sites.
Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay demonstrates fur trade post life as it was in 1815, while Sainte-Marie among the Hurons offers insight into a village inhabited by early European settlers and the Huron Wendat people. Visit other reconstructed heritage sites and preserved villages to learn about the development of the fur trade and its impact on indigenous people.
Enjoy Inuit and Iroquois sculptures and paintings, and West Coast masks and wood art at Gallery Indigena in Stratford. Marvel at the work of legendary Anishinaabe artists, Norval Morrisseau and Roy Thomas, at the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre. Explore the Indigenous Art Collection at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
See a spectacular collection of First Nations fine art, sculpture, music and crafts at the Whetung Ojibwa Centre near Peterborough and explore the First Nation Art Garden at the Toronto Zoo for creations from Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe artists. Discover over 25,000 artefacts and explore First Nations art at the Woodland Cultural Centre near Brantford. Choose from a series of unique group tours offered by Ottawa’s Aboriginal Experiences that showcase foods, performances and displays of visual art from a variety of aboriginal cultures.
Get hands-on with speciality, interactive food and craft making workshops with Great Spirit Circle Trail on Manitoulin Island. Taste traditional foods such as bannock, frybread, Indian tacos and blueberry dumplings at Tea-n-Bannock in Toronto. Don’t forget to try the speciality Labrador tea from St. James Bay.