Whose Land is Your Condo On?
From the Spring 2023 issue of CCI Toronto Condovoice Magazine.
You May Find it Interesting to Look into History and Show it Respect
Believe it or not, there was a time that the land your condominium was built on was not yet owned by the developer. A time long before the TARION stopwatch started, before local school boards scrambled to avoid being looked at to properly accommodate the children of your community. The time we are referring to even pre-dates the construction of your condo’s sales office and those cool little miniature models that aren’t legally binding depictions but could fetch a small fortune on Etsy these days.
Do we think about that time enough?
Over the past several years, we – and by that we mean society within “Toronto & Area” - have started to think about it more. Specifically, the things that we were not taught about in history class. The truth about the country we take so much pride in… and probably wouldn’t believe if Gord Downie had not told us, it was so.
Many of us now wear orange shirts on September 30th, view the concept of Every Child Matters as a no-brainer and even have grown accustomed to Indigenous ceremonies taking place before the puck drops on Saturday evenings.
We may have even gotten the hang of pronouncing some of those weird names that felt so foreign just a few short years ago. That is, unless – like Marc – you grew up in Mississauga and are surprised that anyone would not know how to pronounce it!
Why not acknowledge the land your condominium was built on?
This is asked without judgment whether you can pronounce the name of the Indigenous Nations that occupied your condo’s land for generations… except, apparently, by Marc if you happen to be in Mississauga.
Acknowledging the land your condominium was built on is not an offer to give the land back.
So, consider how your community could recognize the land where your condominium is located.
- Put up a plaque in your lobby or common gathering space that shares the history of your condo’s land to help visitors and new residents appreciate the history of where you are located.
- Start each Annual General Meeting with a land acknowledgment.
- Look up your local friendship centre and direct a community charitable endeavour in support of it. (The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres maintains a listing on its website - https://ofifc.org/friendshipcentres/find/)
Like sand in an hourglass…
Beyond concerns of the aforementioned warranty period or the potential of facing expropriation, your condominium represents a period of time for the land it was built on. You and others within your community may find it interesting to look into that history and show it respect.
Marc Bhalla Mediator, Arbitrator & Educator (Non-Indigenous)
Professor Andrea Menard Academic Partner & Métis Scholar Authentic Allyship Project
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