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June 24th - Algonquin Wayfinding Wheel unveiled at Pimisi O-Train Station

Earlier today (June 21st), the first Algonquin Wayfinding Wheel installed in an O-Train Line 1 station was unveiled at Pimisi Station on National Indigenous Peoples Day.


Designed by Algonquin artist Simon Brascoupé, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and inspired by the traditional four sacred directions, the Wayfinding Wheel reflects Algonquin culture and the history of the Algonquin territory. The Wayfinding Wheels are attached to boulders found in Algonquin territory from the beginning of time. They will be installed at all O-Train stations and at Ottawa City Hall along with plaques that describe the significance of the depicted animals and symbols to the Algonquin peoples.


The Wayfinding Wheel was designed through a participatory process involving Algonquin Elders and community members from Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, as well as representatives from the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) organization. The design includes representations for all four compass directions and an orienting arrow that points north, along with important Algonquin symbols such as the canoe for transportation and animals that are important to the Algonquin peoples, including the moose in the centre of the design symbolizing food and strength.


Pimisi Station is near Chaudière Falls, also known as the Kana:tso or Akikodjiwan Falls. The surrounding area has been a significant meeting place between peoples in the region for millennia and the station design reflects the historical and current significance of the Algonquin peoples. “Pimisi” is the Algonquin (Omàmiwininìmowin) word for eel, which is sacred and has been considered a source of spirituality, medicine and nutrition for thousands of years.


Pimisi Station is a key access point to LeBreton Flats and the closest O-Train station to the new Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, scheduled to open in late 2024. Elders from Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation led a blessing ceremony on the site in October 2020 prior to the start of construction.


O-Train Line 1 service began on September 14, 2019, on the 12.5-km line that connects 13 stations from Tunney's Pasture Station in the west to Blair Station in the east. It features underground stations, including Lyon, Parliament and Rideau in the downtown core.


The development and production of the Algonquin Wayfinding Wheels was funded through the Government of Canada Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) to help accelerate municipal investments to support the rehabilitation of transit systems, new capital projects, and planning and studies for future transit expansion to foster long-term transit plans.


Quotes


“The installation of artist Simon Brascoupé’s Wayfinding Wheel at Pimisi Station, and LRT Stations across Ottawa, will provide a unique opportunity for travelers to engage with images and symbols that represent the culture and history of the Algonquin Anishinabeg people. As we all make our way through the Ottawa transit system, and go about our daily routines, this is a beautiful acknowledgement and reminder that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people, and serves as a uniting symbol for travelers while highlighting the historical and contemporary importance of this people and place.”

  • The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“The inclusion of Wayfinding Wheels at all O-Train stations honours the people and land of the Algonquin communities in Ontario and Quebec and provides transit users with a unique opportunity to increase their understanding of Indigenous heritage, culture and traditions.”


- Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ontario


“The installation of Wayfinding Wheels is respectful of traditional Algonquin territory, history and culture and provides general direction and orientation for travellers while subtly exposing them to meaningful Algonquin symbols. I am proud that the City of Ottawa is a partner in sharing this rich Algonquin culture with residents and visitors.”

  • Mayor Jim Watson

“The design of the Wayfinding Wheel is an interpretation of what I heard and learned. The design is to help travellers’ wayfinding in their journey on the land. The wheels are attached to boulders called Grandfathers that honour Algonquin history in the territory since the beginning of time.”

  • Algonquin artist Simon Brascoupé

Video Resources

Please note, video resources were developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca

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