In Toronto in the summer of 2017, during a season of flooding and heightened Canadian nationalism, two processional performances honoured the land and water's sustaining ecology. Freedom Tours, a multi-site performance by the artists Cheryl L'Hirondelle and Camille Turner, was part of the LandMarks2017/Repères2017 project, in which artists created interventions in Canada's national parks. Freedom Tours featured an alternative boat tour of the Thousand Islands National Park highlighting Indigenous and African-diasporic histories and futures, and a procession through Scarborough's Rouge River Urban National Park in which local youth were invited to speak to Mother Earth. The Toronto Island Fire Parade, a community lantern procession with a puppet and shadow performance by Shadowland Theatre, continued its long-running participatory tradition, but without a culminating bonfire on the beach. The parade welcomed visitors from the city to celebrate the power of water, and offered thanks to the community for its mutual aid and resilience after the spring floods. Linking these two projects together allows for a deeper understanding of their contrasting ecologies and choreographies of assembly, which gather humans and other creatures into renewed relation, inviting gratitude to the land and water—to Mother Earth.


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pp. 31-36
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