Recap! Finding Our North Star on Canada Day

Posted on Jul 14, 2023 by The Forks Market

Photo by Anthony Urso


More than 30,000 visitors gathered at The Forks on July 1st, to take part in the Finding our North Star celebrations on Canada Day.

The Forks team was fortunate to work with Jade Harper, Creative Director for Canada Day at The Forks, who helped guide the creative process for the event.  

"My collaboration with The Forks this Canada Day was prompted by their initiative to reimagine their celebrations and embracing change,” says Jade. “As Indigenous peoples, we often find ourselves balancing two worlds, especially when it comes to celebrating a nation with a colonial history. This year served as a continuation of people coming together at this historical gathering place to celebrate, share, and learn.” 

Jade’s imagination and support helped create such a successful event.

During the planning phase of Finding our North Star, we had the pleasure of also working with IndigPro, a local Indigenous-owned marketing and graphic design agency. IndigPro helped create the event’s beautiful visual identity. Including the logo and overall aesthetic.

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From noon until sundown, The Forks Market Stage, programmed in partnership with Manitoba Music, offered a great space for live entertainment. Throughout the day, visitors were swaying, dancing, and singing along with local artists who graced us with their magnetic sounds. We were honoured to be able to invite four hosts – Adeline Bird, Michael Redhead Champagne, Jasmine Tara, and Issa Kixen – whose voices brought a personal touch to the stage as they introduced performers and welcomed invited speakers. 

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Over in the CN Stage and Parks Canada field area, the site was animated with family and community programming, including bracelet-making and craft stations, wicked dance battles, and a basketball court. All of the family and community activities were planned and coordinated by Kisa MacIssac. Kisa brought purpose and intention to each of the different elements she worked on.

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In the heart of the community, Oodena Celebration Circle hosted interactive experiences through storytelling, dance, music and teachings that featured Winnipeg’s vibrant multicultural communities. Ojibway Elder Wally Chartrand from Mallard, Manitoba, and member of Key First Nation, Saskatchewan, helped coordinate the events and programming shared at Oodena. We are grateful to Wally, the performers, and the hosts – Jewel Pierre-Roscelli and Marion Jacobs – who together created a connected and meaningful experience at Oodena. 

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Aligning with the theme of Finding our North Star, this year’s Canada Day at The Forks ended with an amazing drone show finale, called Acakos (ah-cha-kos), meaning "star" in Cree. Toronto-based firm, North Star Entertainment, produced this first-ever drone show in our city. The show was curated around the teachings of Elder Wilfred Buck, a member of Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and paired with spectacular motion picture of synchronized drones that lit up the sky, offering a starlit performance often left unseen from within the city’s limits. Upon take-off, the crowd went silent as Wilfred’s narration, paired with a unique score composed by Jason Burnstick, began to play throughout the site. 

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It takes numerous individuals, creators, hosts, performers, workshop leaders, community partners, outside agencies, and of course guests to make a day like this so memorable. We’re grateful to the support of Canadian Heritage in making this event possible. And thank you to all of you that joined us on Canada Day at The Forks!

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