Following the discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, the Canadian flag at the Peace Tower in Ottawa was lowered to half-mast on Sunday. According to the Department of Canadian Heritage, flags will be lowered at all federal buildings and establishments across the country until further notice “in memory of the thousands of children who were sent to residential schools, for those who never returned, and in honor of the families whose lives were forever changed.”
The bodies of the 215 children were discovered during a search of the former residential school premises, according to the Tk’emlps te Secwépemc First Nation. The lost children, some as young as three years old, were unrecorded fatalities, according to a statement from the First Nation.
Flags have been down or will be lowered across the country in commemoration of the children, including at the legislatures of British Columbia and Manitoba, as well as in Montreal, Edmonton, and much of Ontario. On Twitter on Sunday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced that flags at city hall would be flown at half-mast “for one hour for every child whose life was taken.”
Throughout the weekend, vigils and memorials were organized in cities and towns across the country, including outside the Alberta and Ontario legislatures, as well as at Nathan Philip Square in Toronto. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson stated on Twitter on Sunday that city hall flags would be flying at half-mast for “one hour for every kid whose life was taken.”
Throughout the weekend, vigils and memorials were organized around the country, including outside the Alberta and Ontario legislatures, as well as Nathan Philip Square in Toronto. A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been established to assist former students and those who have been affected.