A once living piece of history has been preserved in the form of sculpture that's a symbol of reflection and hope at the Sharon Temple National Historic Site and Museum in East Gwillimbury.
In the summer of 2021, an historic 200-year-old sugar maple tree fell on the grounds. Rather than discard this once living piece of the site’s long history, it was decided that the tree should be preserved as a sculpture that would rest on its stump, according to a news release.
The Hope and Truth Reflection Sculpture was designed by Anishinaabe artist Donald Chrétien and sculptor Shane Clodd, with consultation throughout the design process with the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.
The 12-foot-tall tree has been carved into a female hand gracefully holding an aluminum feather engraved with Indigenous pictographs.
"This almost two-year-long project represents a commitment to support and encourage equitable partnerships among settlers and Indigenous people," the news release stated.
"The museum hopes that the addition of the Hope and Truth Reflection Sculpture and soon-to-be-added surrounding garden will serve as a permanent reminder that Truth and Reconciliation is an ongoing process, and that the area can provide a safe and welcoming space for community members to participate in that process."
The project was aided by a grant from Central Counties Tourism as a part of the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.