Indigenous stories will take centre stage over the Bow River this year as the Reconciliation Bridge will be fitted with an upgraded lighting system that will illuminate to various colours to mark significant days and events in the local First Nations communities.
The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) was scheduled to refit hundreds of LED lights on the bridge running from Memorial Drive to 4 Avenue S.E. this year, and in doing so they will ensure Indigenous events will be commemorated over the next calendar year, a news release said Friday.
“CMLC is pleased to have this opportunity to recognize our city’s rich Indigenous history and bring attention to important elements of Indigenous culture on this prominent downtown landmark. Through all seasons, these lights will serve as reminders of our heritage,” said CMLC CEO Kate Thompson.
The national day of awareness and action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, National Aboriginal Awareness Week, Metis Week and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will all be commemorated in the lighting. The bridge will also be illuminated to recognize Indigenous stories, history, culture, changes in season and lunar cycles.
It will also light up in colours that evoke the medicine wheel and traditional beading.
The initiative is being planned alongside the city’s Indigenous Relations Office.
“Spanning the Namaahkaa or Bow River, the Reconciliation Bridge stands in a place of great meaning for the Indigenous peoples of southern Alberta,” said Stewart Baker from the Indigenous Relations Office in a news release. “We are pleased to support this lighting program to honour Calgary’s Indigenous culture and history year-round and as a part of the ongoing Indigenous reconciliation and healing that’s so important for our city.”
Community members, groups and organizations will also be able to request lighting for various events and days as long as those displays do not conflict with other pre-planned illuminations. The bridge will be lit on a first-come first-served basis.
Interested parties can request the bridge lights online.
The bridge, along with the Calgary Tower, have shown various lighting displays throughout the year for several years.