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Sculpture Recognizing the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Unveiled at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Press Release

TORONTO (May 4, 2022) – PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, today unveiled a large-scale granite and bronze sculpture to recognize the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and their relationship to the land, air and water on which the airport now operates. The sculpture was created by David M. General, Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan of the Six Nations, and was conceived and installed in partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit.

Entitled Maanjidowin: The Gathering, the sculpture is more than 16-feet in length and features three mythical fishers – Makwa-Kwe (Bear), Nigig-Kwe (Otter) and Migizi-Kwe (Eagle) – who have come to the estuaries and islands along Toronto’s Lake Ontario shoreline to fish. The canoe in which the fishers sit is inscribed with words and symbols of significance to the Mississaugas of the Credit, including: The Medicine Wheel; the Seven Grandfather Teachings, which are guiding principles that provide the moral and cultural foundation of life; and poetry from the current Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme. As indicated by inscribed arm tattoos, the creatures are all female, as females played a central role as custodians of cultural traditions surrounding water.

The sculpture sits on the south dock wall overlooking the West Gap, and will welcome visitors and residents alike from its location. The sculpture was designed by artist David M. General and created with the help of other local artisans including Artcast Inc. (bronze castings) in Georgetown, Ontario, and HGH Granite (granite and custom stonework) in Dundas, Ontario.

Quotes:

“On behalf of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN), I want to say chi-miigwech (thank you very much) to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and of course PortsToronto for their commitment to this project, and to artist David General for beautifully capturing a part of our history through Maanjidowin: The Gathering. Billy Bishop Airport is a significant location for this sculpture as it will be a learning experience for visitors to the City of Toronto, and a moment where returning residents can reflect on the history of the land they call home. This is such an important step as we come to understand the deep connection that all people have to our Mother the Earth.”
Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

“Billy Bishop Airport is an important gateway for residents and visitors alike, and I am pleased that those travelling through the airport, as well as those within the surrounding community, will be able to enjoy and learn from this new and important sculpture. The Mississaugas of the Credit have a rich history that was greatly influenced by life along the shores of Toronto’s harbour and waterways, and it is important that this vibrant past, and bright present and future, be reflected by organizations such as PortsToronto and Billy Bishop Airport. I am also pleased to have this significant sculpture included in ArtworxTO – a program that I have championed to ensure that we are not only supporting artists in our city but ensuring that we make art as accessible as possible. Maanjidowin: The Gathering is a sculpture that perfectly exemplifies this program and demonstrates the ongoing commitment needed to ensure diversity and community is represented through public art.”

The Honourable John Tory, Mayor of Toronto

“Maanjidowin -The Gathering is an artwork representing relationships Indigenous communities and nations have with land, water and sky. Relationships provided by Creator, nurtured by our ancestors, protected by our current generation and passed to our future generations. Wherever we fish, hunt, trap, gather, camp, celebrated, honoured and remembered – Maanjidowin exists.

Mississaugas of the Credit have long shared resource rich shorelines including an archipelago situated within Toronto harbour. The artwork presents three Spirit Being fishing bountiful waters in a canoe bearing teachings, direction and symbolism that guide fulfillment of inherent rights and responsibilities. Mississaugas of the Credit have used this guidance to develop their governance, economic base, language and cultural initiatives. Thank you Mississaugas of the Credit and City of Toronto for history we will remember and honour. Thank you Billy Bishop Airport and PortsToronto for acknowledgement and leadership in building tribute and remembrance. I’m proud to have participated in the success you envisioned.”

David M. General, Artist

“This sculpture has been several years in the making and represents our commitment to representing and reflecting the experience of the Mississaugas of the Credit and their history along the shores of Toronto’s Lake Ontario. PortsToronto and Billy Bishop Airport have enjoyed a productive relationship with the Mississaugas of the Credit for many years and have consulted on significant projects pertaining to our developments and environmental efforts. It has been our pleasure and privilege to facilitate the creation of this beautiful sculpture and place it at our airport for the enjoyment and education of our passengers, staff and community.”
Amanda Walton, Chair, Board of Directors, PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

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About the Mississaugas of the Credit
Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (Ojibwe: Mazina’iga-ziibing Misi-zaagiwininiwag, meaning: “Mississauga people at the Credit River”) is a Mississauga Ojibwa First Nation located near Brantford in south-central Ontario, Canada. In April 2015, MCFN had an enrolled population of 2,330 people, 850 of whom lived on the MCFN Reserve. The first nation governs the 2,392.6-hectare parcel of New Credit 40A Indian Reserve known as Reserve 40B near Hagersville, Ontario. This reserve is located near the Six Nations of the Grand River in Brantford.

About Artist David M. General
An accomplished artist, lecturer and community leader, David M. General has been developing his distinctive imagery as a sculptor since 1975. Known for blending Indigenous perspectives and modernist styles and favouring classic, large-scale materials such as granite, bronze and domestic/exotic hardwood. Mr. General currently holds several advisory roles, including Trustee of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Board of Governors, Member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee of the Canada Council for the Arts, Director on the Board of the Ontario Arts Council and Indigenous Mentor/Advisor at OCAD University. His portfolio is vast and includes exhibitions with institutions throughout Canada and Europe. For more information, please click here.

About ArtworxTO
ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art, 2021–2022 is a year-long celebration of Toronto’s exceptional public art collection and the creative community behind it. Working closely with artists and Toronto’s arts institutions, the City of Toronto is delivering major public art projects and commissions, citywide, from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Supporting local artists and new artworks that reflect Toronto’s diversity, ArtworxTO is creating more opportunities for Torontonians to engage with art in their everyday lives. This year, explore your city and discover creativity and community–everywhere. Visit artworxTO.ca for full details.

About PortsToronto
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a board with representation from all three levels of government.

About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Offering service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks, Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards.

Media Contact:
Jessica Pellerin
Manager, Media Relations and Public Affairs
PortsToronto
Cell: (647) 298-0585
E-mail: [email protected]

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