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Walk of Sorrow passing through Timmins

Supporters will be walking along Highway 655 to Hollinger Park tomorrow (Aug. 5)
2021-08-1 Patricia Ballantyne DB
Residential school survivor Patricia Ballantyne in Timmins in 2021. Her Walk of Sorrow is passing through the city again on Friday, Aug. 5.

Patricia Ballantyne's Walk of Sorrow is back in Timmins to raise awareness about the impact residential schools have had on Indigenous peoples.

Ballantyne is expected to arrive in Timmins around 11 a.m. tomorrow (Aug. 5). She'll walk with supporters from Highway 655 and Laforest Road to Hollinger Park, where she'll address the crowd. From 1-5 p.m. there will be vendors, drumming, activities for kids and a barbecue at the park.

Her journey is honouring and recognizing the residential school survivors across Canada.

Originally from Deschambault Lake, Sask., Ballantyne was taken to Prince Albert Residential School when she was four and a half years old. She spent 10 years there and suffered emotional and physical abuse.

Last year, after the remains of children were found in graves at a former residential school site in Kamloops, B.C., Ballantyne decided to do a Walk of Sorrow across Canada.

That journey brought her through Timmins, where she was joined by dozens of supporters to walk to Hollinger Park.

SEE: Walk of Sorrow arrives in Timmins

During the 2021 ceremony, local resident Vanessa Genier, the founder of Quilts for Survivors, presented handmade quilts to Ballantyne.

"I am excited that Patricia is able to do it again in recognition of ... our dark history of Canada," said Genier.

Genier also will be a part of the Walk of Sorrow tomorrow. Her efforts to present quilts for survivors is being widely appreciated.

Like last year, she plans to offer quilts to the first-generation survivors who haven't received one.

"We have about 40 quilts. But (I'm) not sure how many we will present," she said.

The Pope's apology during his recently concluded Canada visit has evoked mixed reactions. Though many people consider it brings acknowledgement, Genier says, "an apology means nothing without an action behind it."

She added that the community would continue to recognize and honour the survivors.

Timmins Police is asking drivers to be cautious on the road during the event.

"Strict adherence to posted speed limits and an extra level of attentiveness is called for in order to allow this procession to reach its destination in the safest manner possible," said police in an advisory. 

A 24-hour residential school crisis line offering support to former students and their families is available at 1-866-925-4419.