An Ottawa-based ice cream shop will be closing its doors this Canada Day as an expression of reconciliation following the recent discovery of 215 childrens' remains at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
The Merry Dairy says that while July 1 is an opportunity for Canadians to celebrate what they love most about their country, the shop will be using the holiday to pause and "reflect on what we are celebrating," owner Marlene Haley told CBC.
"The Truth and Reconciliation Commission told us that countless children suffered and died in residential schools. The discovery this week of the remains of 215 children is almost too much to bear," the business wrote in a statement.
"Imagining the loss and the suffering of those children, and their families, and the others who are yet to be named and remembered is simply overwhelming. There is no way for us to separate the joy of one day, from the agony of another."
"On Canada Day, we come together to celebrate Canada as one of the best and greatest countries on earth. But to truly be the best and greatest country means owning up to the brutal facts of our past and present. Each of us needs to do our own part to atone, reconcile, and live together as fellow human beings with the respect and dignity each of us deserves."
Their gesture comes as Canada mourns the deaths of the 215 children found in Kamloops by lowering flags to half-mast, dimming the lights at city landmarks and participating in moments of silence. The federal government announced that it's allocating $27 million for Indigenous communities to conduct more burial site searches at former residential schools across the country.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available across Canada 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-925-4419.
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