On Day 20 of the Toronto 2015 Torch Relay, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation officially welcomed the flame to the Official Host First Nation community. A community celebration was held on June 19th and boasted various aboriginal artisans, traditional fare and live entertainment. To add to the excitement of the day, the event was hosted by hockey royalty and Coaches Corner host Ron Maclean, and Waneek Horn-Miller, aboriginal olympian and 1999 Pan Am gold medalist.
The torch was carried by the Mississaugas of the New Credit torchbearers Ryann Laforme and Cameron Sault. In addition there were seven feather carriers on hand to accompany the journey of the torch through the community. The seven feather carriers were chosen to signify the seven generations and to incorporate traditional aboriginal teachings within the torch relay event.
Chief Bryan LaForme conveyed the importance of the day and the great pride felt in being named official host first nation during his opening address, “The torch will stop at 130 communities on its 20,000 kilometre trip, but no stop is equal in significance to its presence here at New Credit.” To add to the significance of the day, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation was honoured that Frontrunner members Charlie Nelson, Bill Chippeway, Charlie Bittern and William Merasty, were able to attend the event. One of the most memorable moments of the event happened as the Frontrunners posed for various photo opportunities before leading the torch on stage, all while the Mississauga nations’ eagle staffs stood proudly in the background. Representatives from sister Mississauga nations Curve Lake, Hiawatha and Mississaugi #8 First Nation also helped to welcome the Pan Am flame to the Mississaugas and to join in the celebration. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, David Zimmer, and newly elected Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day were also in attendance to address the significance of the event and to partake in the day’s festivities.
The event was the unofficial kickoff for the official host first nation’s duties as host to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am games. Throughout the games the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation will join the region in welcoming dignitaries, athletes and visitors from the 41 countries participating in the games. Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation will be hosting an invitation only Indigenous Welcome Gala on July 9th but welcome all to attend the traditional Three Fires Ceremony to officially kickoff the games on the morning of July 10th. The Mississaugas of the New Credit Cultural Village will also be open throughout the entire duration of the Pan Am and Parapan Games from July 10 – 26th and August 7- 15th.