Teacher Bus Tour under Old Mill bridge with Phil Cote and teachers from Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies, December 8, 2017.
It was so great to get out of the school and take an adventure for a PD day. We ordered a bus and Phil took us on a tour of his Toronto murals featuring local histories with his portable speaker and mic. Our first stop was at Massey College on the University of Toronto campus where we gathered around the Niagara Treaty mural. Phil explained his research of the different leaders depicted, and the symbolism embedded in the work in an engaging lesson on 18th century Crown/First Nations relations around the Great Lakes. We then hopped on the bus and made our way to Spadina and Dupont to view another recent commission: The History of the Land. There we learned about the original nations of Toronto and the plants that are associated with the medicine wheel. We took Davenport across town because it is an ancient Carrying Place route that follows the curvature of the land rather than the city grid. Our final stop was under the Old Mill bridge where Phil walked us through a series of paintings depicting the Anishinaabe creation story. We had planned to end our tour in High Park, but realized we were having so much fun that we ran out of time! On the bus ride home participants won posters from Phil’s Indigenous Warriors series for answering skill testing questions. We made it back to Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies just in time for teachers to end their work day. Everyone had a blast. It was an awesome day!
One Reply to “Teacher Bus Tour with Phil Cote”
It was a fantastic PD. There was a lot of learning through the art pieces about Indigenous presence on the Land of Tkaronto. There were moments of unlearning of the colonial logics of how we as Settlers view Land and Nature. With these murals tagging the urban fabric of colonial Toronto, it does ensure the enduring presence of the Indigenous peoples, and how vital it is for educators to continue infusing Indigenous knowledges within one’s pedagogy in a respectful manner.