A Sunrise Ceremony was held to formally launch the construction phase of the 412 Barton project, honouring the site as it becomes home for Black and Indigenous seniors facing homelessness in Hamilton.
“St. Matthew’s House has been a place of hope for this community, and we are delighted to support this important work as this project is all about offering hope, as an outworking of our call to love our neighbour and a concrete demonstration of our commitment to the ongoing work of healing and reconciliation,” said Bishop Susan Bell referencing the diocese’s $100,000 contribution to support the project.
The ceremony sought to recognize the land as originally belonging to First Nations people, and that St. Matthew’s House, founded by local Anglicans, is working on this project as an act of truth and reconciliation. The project is also intended to be an act of reconciliation and inclusion of the Black community by fostering equity and justice together.
The ceremony included expressions of gratitude to the land for hosting a food bank for many years and serving thousands in the city who have faced hunger and poverty. “We give thanks for this rich legacy of compassion and care,” said Bishop Bell.
The land and people were honoured through words and rituals celebrating the future residents who will call 412 Barton home, with a smudging ceremony and African drumming. The event was held outside, in solidarity with future residents who are currently or close to being homeless.
In addition to the bishop, speakers from the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, the Afro-Canadian Caribbean Association, the City of Hamilton, and building partners Assembly, New Commons and Jackman Construction shared excitement for the 412 Barton project and its unique vision. Performer, artist, and community champion Tom Wilson spoke of building community with love, understanding and awareness of each other’s humanity, and of thinking and working ahead for seven generations ahead.
Through this project and its partnerships, the 15 deeply affordable apartments that will be built will create the space for people at risk of homelessness to thrive. Learn more at stmatthewshouse. ca/412-barton