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A peace park is a place for quiet reflection, and a gathering space for ceremonies.  The Rotary Club of Kenora is creating a peace park in Kenora in partnership with the City of Kenora and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans, 2 Spirit+ Memorial Committee of Ontario on the shore of beautiful Lake of the Woods.
 
When our Rotary Club approached the city with the peace park idea, almost right away, we were asked if we would consider the inclusion of a MMIWGT2S+ Memorial Monument in the park, and our peace park committee agreed that the monument would be a great fit for a peace park. Kenora City Council voted unanimously to approve our request to develop the city-owned property on First Avenue South.
 
We received a letter of support stating:
“This is definitely exciting and more importantly, an opportunity to strengthen the reconciliation efforts the city has with local First Nations. I don’t see this as being a step forward, I see this more as a leap forward. Looking forward to our continued friendship and great working relationship. Meegwetch!” Waylon Scott, Chief of Wabaseemong Independent Nations. Waylon also said he “can’t think of a more ideal location for the park.” He said he has the support of all 12 area chiefs in the development of this park.
 
October 4th is a national commemoration day and hundreds of peaceful community-based solidarity events happen across Canada and is our expected date for the unveiling of the MMIWGT2S+ Memorial Monument and the Rotary Peace Pole. This day will continue to be recognized in Kenora to honour the lives of the MMIWGT2S+.
 
The plans for the park will depend on how successful our fundraising is, but at this time we have a landscape architect working on preliminary drawings and we’ve chosen a granite peace pole to balance the granite memorial monument. The pole will be 6 sided with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” engraved in 6 languages. The budget is approximately $50,000 for the pole and landscaping and excluding the MMIWGT2S+ monument which is being funded through the government. The Rotary Club of Kenora will attempt to raise funds through a combination of donations, grants, and fundraisers. All donations of $50 or more will be receipted for tax purposes by the City of Kenora.
 
Why a peace park now?  With racism in the forefront, especially in North America, this is a good time for Rotary and the City of Kenora to show leadership in moving towards peace in our community and in our world.  This is an opportunity for both the Rotary Club of Kenora and the City of Kenora to continue to take steps towards Truth and Reconciliation within our City. 
 
Submitted by Deb LeMaistre, Co-Chair
          Kenora Rotary Peace Park