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CIBC opens Legacy Space at global headquarters to support pathways to reconciliation

Press Release

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2022– CIBC today announced the opening of a Legacy Space at its global headquarters, CIBC SQUARE, ahead of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2022.

The Legacy Space is dedicated to the shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, as well as the importance of economic reconciliation in promoting Indigenous prosperity. The space answers the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 92 and furthers CIBC’s commitment to clear and measurable actions to promote reconciliation.

“CIBC is committed to advancing the economic prosperity of Indigenous peoples and we look forward to using the Legacy Space to foster open dialogue among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples,” said Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC.  “While we continue to take steps towards reconciliation, there is still much work to be done. CIBC is guided by our Reconciliation Framework and remains committed to making meaningful changes and supporting Indigenous communities and leaders to build a more inclusive future.”

The Legacy Space was designed in consultation with local First Nations leaders and Indigenous team members, and in partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund through their Legacy Spaces program. Consultation began in 2018 with the design inception of CIBC SQUARE and builds upon the previous CIBC Legacy Space located at Commerce Court West.

“Legacy Spaces provide the opportunity for companies and organizations to make reconciliation a priority in the workplace”, said Sarah Midanik, President & CEO of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. “CIBC was one of the first companies to sign on as one of our Legacy Spaces partners and we are thrilled that they are launching the incredible expansion and evolution of their Legacy Space at CIBC SQUARE, which will serve as a beautiful reminder of the ongoing commitment CIBC has made to taking direct actions that prioritize and advance reconciliation. Developed through a holistic community engagement model, engaging Indigenous community members, stakeholders, and employees throughout the process, I am so proud of the work done to create this powerful space.”

To bring the space to life, CIBC selected the Indigenous Design Studio, a specialty practice at Brook McIlroy.

“The Legacy Space is an opportunity to become immersed in an experience centered around Indigenous design, materials, and histories. The wood feature enclosure serves as a unifying presence, referencing Indigenous structures of the region, and providing warmth and connection to the natural. Limestone from Manitoulin Island anchors the room at either end providing a visual richness. A place for gathering, ceremony, meeting or contemplation, the Legacy Space is didactic for those who want to know more, its materials and finishes are carefully selected with the intent of inspiring conversation, learning and relationship building”, said Ryan Gorrie, Principal, Brook McIlroy.

Key design features include:

  • An engineered HVAC system to support traditional ceremonies such as smudging;
  • Design patterns that represent the lands and waters of our shared territory to remind us of our relationship to the land and each other;
  • Graphics on glass walls naming the signatories of the Toronto Purchase that marked the sale of land by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation to Britain;
    • The signatures take the form of animal pictographs that represent each person as well as their clan, position and background;
  • A vaulted ceiling of solid carved oak and wood-veneer ribbing, inspired by the Anishinaabe teaching lodges and the longhouses of Wendat and Haudenosaunee villages;
  • An oval table in the middle of the meeting room inspired by the practice of Indigenous sharing circles and designed to encourage meetings and events to follow the same format of participatory discussion.
About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with 13 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Small Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/ca/media-centre.

About the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

Inspired by Chanie’s story and Gord’s call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

DWF’s work centres around improving the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all peoples in Canada. For more information, visit downiewenjack.ca

About Brook McIlroy

Brook McIlroy is a design and planning practice fusing the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning and Indigenous place-making to create a holistic contemporary practice that advances the potential of Canada’s lands, peoples and communities.

A unique practice specialty is the Indigenous Design Studio, which is led by Indigenous designers who work with communities, institutions, and municipalities on projects addressing Truth and Reconciliation and the celebration of Indigenous culture.

For further information: Kira Smylie, CIBC Communications & Public Affairs, 416-980-2949 or [email protected]

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