On Jan. 26, 2017 I had the good fortune to attend the Lakeshore Campus Grand Openings to celebrate three new additions to Humber College in South Etobicoke.
The event, attended by Humber College leadership staff and students, local political, business and community leaders and members of the public, was an enjoyable occasion for all participants.
Among the highlights of the openings was an overview of the First Nations history of the land on which Humber College is located, delivered with eloquence Jim Dumont, a member of the Elder Advisor Board at Humber College, who also runs the Indigenous Knowledge Certificate.
Additional highlights included brief and interesting remarks by Ruth Grier; a First Nations musical performance by Eagle Women’s Singers; and a video highlighting features, activities, and projects associated with the new buildings.
Ruth Grier spoke about her son’s recollections of the great things that kids used to do (some alarming details of which she had just learned about just now, from her son!) at the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds in the years before the grounds were repurposed for educational uses.
She also spoke of the role that community engagement played in collaboration with several levels of government, in ensuring that Humber College received a 99-year lease to the land; she noted, as well, that there had been strong opposition, expressed by the community, for seeing condos going up at the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds after the psychiatric hospital had been closed.
The video covered a lot of ground, briskly and with good humour. It was a professional-quality effort, a credit to every person involved in its production.
The First Nations elder, Jim Dumont, noted that the Lakeshore Grounds are part of the ancestral lands of the Ojibwe Anishinabe and Iroquoian peoples.
He noted that the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds during the pre-settler era served as a starting point for First Nations travel along the Toronto Carrying Place Trail to the interior of what is now the province of Ontario.
I found it moving and appropriate that the First Nations history of the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds was a central part of the Grand Openings.
Because I did not have access to a car today, in order to attend the event I walked along Lake Shore Blvd. West from Fortieth Street to Kipling Avenue and Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, where the new Humber Student and Resource Centre is located. It was a good walk. Along the way, I observed many people working out at the new Humber Lakeshore Fitness Centre, which is located to the west of Kipling Ave. on the north side of Lake Shore Blvd. West.
I have observed the construction of the two above-noted new buildings and was pleased to have a tour of the Student Welcome and Resource Centre, which until this day I had only seen from the outside. I have also been following the work of the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre for some years, and was pleased to see the thoughtful and succinct history displays, created by staff at the Interpretive Centre, which are evident throughout the new building.
I picked up a copy of a hardcover, spiral-bound Interpretive Centre handout notebook during my visit. The front pages of the notebook note that “the Interpretive Centre highlights the Indigenous, mental health, educational, and historical histories that have shaped the Lakeshore Grounds region of Etobicoke.”
I’ve had a tour of the Humber Lakeshore Fitness Centre, some time ago. It is indeed an impressive facility, with a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment. As one of the speakers at the Campus Grand Openings mentioned, when you are on the third floor of the building, you get a great view of Lake Ontario to the south.
The facility is open for community use; if you live in the community, you can sign up as a member.
This event was well-organized and highly inspiring. The new buildings are valuable, well-planned additions to our community.
Click on the photos to enlarge them; click again to enlarge them further
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