Submitted by: MNO Toronto and York Region Métis Council Chair Todd Ross

Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers With TYRMC At Rendezvous
Members of the MNO Toronto and York Region Métis
Council (TYRMC) with the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers (left
-right): MNO TYRMC Women’s Representative Shirley
Debassige, MNO TYRMC Councilor John Budarick, MNO
TYRMC Secretary Treasurer Marilyn Hews, MNO TYRMC
Councilor Kezia Picard, Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers Jacob
Harris, Cieanna Harris, MNO TYRMC Citizen Mike Berg,
MNO TYRMC Citizen Michael Harris, MNO TYRM Senator
Constance Simmonds, MNO TYRMC President Tera
Beaulieau, MNO TYRMC Youth Representative Christine
Skura and MNO TYRMC Chair Todd Ross. Click here for
larger picture.
On October 14, 2017, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Toronto and York Region Métis Council (TYRMC) hosted its first ever Rendezvous at Black Creek Pioneer Village on the border of the MNO TYRMC’s jurisdiction.

The MNO TYRMC Rendezvous was a celebration of Métis culture and provided an opportunity for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people alike to gather together to learn about and celebrate the Métis Nation in the Toronto and York areas.

The event featured entertainers, children’s activities, Métis Voyageur Games, traditional teachings, vendors, beading, jigging lessons, historical and cultural displays.

The space at Black Creek Pioneer Village was divided into several zones including a main stage. At the main stage, MNO Youth Council President Mitch Case was the host. He introduced and bridged each performance with education about Métis history and culture.

The day featured some of the best musicians and fiddlers around including: Amy Pinkus and Nathan Rideout who played folk-indie fiddle and guitar duets; the Métis Fiddler Quartet members Conlin and Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk, who were joined by double bassist Scott Kemp; the country band Southbound, all the students in the Humber College Bachelor of Music program; and Alicia and Liam Blore who played fiddle and guitar while the Toronto Métis jiggers demonstrated traditional jigs. The final act was the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers who travelled from Winnipeg and practically lit the stage on fire with their high energy traditional dances mixed with modern and hip hop jigs.

At the center of the grounds was a fire pit where MNO TYRMC Senator Constance Simmonds and Virginia Barter provided traditional teachings and storytelling. Virginia and MNO Credit River Métis Council Traditional Knowledge Keeper Jim Tolles also set up historical and cultural displays where they were on hand to educate the guests about Métis culture and heritage.

Other areas included vendors and tents for learning and fun: Métis dot art painting, colouring and finger weaving was facilitated by Elani Pappas and MNO Métis Family Wellbeing Coordinator Justin Dufour; Kyle Burton and Megan Southwell led a jigging workshop for participants; MNO Community Relations Manager Hank Rowlinson facilitated riffle shooting and hatchet throwing; and Brittany Matthews and Connor McNamara facilitated Métis beadwork workshops throughout the day. They were assisted by a number of York University students who participated as part of a course credit offered through a collaboration with York University.

The day took an incredible amount of planning which began in the fall of 2016. The Council put a tremendous amount of effort into planning and was incredibly fortunate for all of the support numerous volunteers who came forward to assist with the planning as well as the help throughout the day.

All of this was made possible by some very generous donations.

The Toronto Foundation Canada 150 Community Foundations of Canada provided a grant for the Rendezvous. It was with careful consideration that the Council applied to a grant tied to “Canada 150,” however, the Council agreed the opportunity to offer MNO citizens the Council’s own grand scale celebration to honour the Métis stories and history outweighed those concerns and the Council’s was incredibly grateful to the Toronto Foundation for providing funding for their precedent setting Rendezvous.

The Council was also received support from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada (CIBC), Printing House, York University, the Bank of Montreal Sharing Circle. Scociabank, JobReady CPR, Taking IT Global and Gangster Cheese.

The Council was very pleased that so many people were able to join them throughout the day and engaged with their Senator, artists and Knowledge Keepers to learn about Métis life and traditions.

After an opening prayer by Senator Simmonds, President Beaulieu offered a welcomr to all participants.

Special guests at the Rendezvous included members and/or representatives from the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario, the MNO Youth Council, the MNO Veterans’ Council, the MNO Women’s Council, the MNO Oshawa Durham Métis Council, the MNO Credit River Métis Council, the MNO Niagara Region Métis Council, Mississauga’s of New Credit First Nation, Regional Municipality of York, Toronto City Council and the Toronto Foundation. Greetings were also sent from the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation David Zimmer. who was unable to attend.

This precedent-setting event would not have been possible without the Council’s dedicated volunteers, planning committee, partners, generous sponsors and a lot of work from the Council.

The Council thanks all who made this event very successful.