RVH unveils Legacy Space, area to reflect on Indigenous history and reconciliation

Barrie hospital the first medical centre in Canada to host such a space

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre took the wraps off a new installation on its grounds on Wednesday, a Legacy Space brought about through a partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, the Indigenous Health Circle, and the Barrie South Simcoe Métis Council.

The space at the north Barrie health centre is designed to offer an opportunity to pause and reflect on Indigenous history and reconciliation in Canada. RVH is the first hospital to host such a space in all of Canada.

“I am honoured to be part of the team celebrating the launch of the first Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Legacy Space in a health care setting,” says Indigenous Patient Navigator, Roberta Manitowabi-Roote. “This launch is an important step toward Truth and Reconciliation, providing space and opportunity for reflection and Indigenous cultural safety education for TEAM RVH. I am hopeful that our commitments to reconciliation will inspire health centres across Canada.”

(from left to right) Kayleigh Jordan-MacGregor, Downie-Wenjack Foundation; Roxanne Shank, president, Barrie South Simcoe Métis Council; Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO; Theresa Sandy, Gladue Caseworker for Aboriginal Legal Services Roberta Manitowabi-Roote Indigenous Patient Navigator; Germaine Elliott, Executive Director of Mamaway Wiidokdaadwi Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Team and co-chair, Indigenous Health Circle; Dr. Matt Follwell,  Chief of Oncology, RVH.

The Legacy Space was brought about through the work of RVH oncologist Dr. Matt Follwell. “I was passionate about bringing a Legacy Space to RVH as a welcoming symbol and something that can put people at least at ease that we’ve acknowledged the past traumas and are working together to move forward,” said Dr. Follwell.

Janice Skot, President and CEO of RVH, points out the hospital has made a commitment to furthering the conversation of reconciliation. The hospital also maintains cultural competency training courses, Medicine Wheel teachings, development of a smudging policy, and the creation of a Healing Circle garden.