Media Advisory: Michael Garron Hospital celebrates opening of ‘The Bear’s Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge’ with multi JUNO award-winning rock band Arkells

On Tuesday, August 13, 2019, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), Toronto East Health Network and members of The Aboriginal Healing Program will host the official opening of its first “The Bear’s Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge” on hospital grounds.

The event will also honour members of the Arkells for creating space and extending their love and gentle kindness toward their Aboriginal brother and singer-songwriter Jeremy Dutcher at this year’s JUNO awards. After Dutcher was cut off during his acceptance speech, the Arkells offered their speech time to him following their win for rock album of the year.  

Under the leadership and guidance of Elder Little Brown Bear, Manager of Aboriginal Culture at MGH, community members of The Aboriginal Healing Program gathered to construct the Sweat Lodge.

The lodge is constructed of flexible saplings, in a dome shape approximately four meters in diameter. Participants sit on the ground encircling the sacred pit to concentrate on the spirits invited to the ceremony and brought in with the 'grandfathers'. The entrance faces east creating an umbilical cord between the sacred fire and Eastern Doorway. The stones are heated in the fire by the fire keeper. Medicinal cedar water is poured over the grandfathers in the sacred healing pit at the centre.

The Bear’s Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge is open to everyone and provides a safe, sacred place of healing, a spiritual reunion with the creator and respectful connection to the earth.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 13 2019

10a.m. Formal Ceremony

  • Opening songs, Georgian Bay Singers and Ogichidaa Kwe (Warrior Woman)
  • Welcome and land recognition, Sarah Downey, President and CEO, MGH
  • Blessing, Elder Little Brown Bear, Manager, Aboriginal Culture, MGH
  • The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
  • Greetings on behalf of the Mississaugas of the New Credit: Chief R. Stacey Laforme and the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Gary LaRocca (for Chief Kelly LaRocca)
  • Special recognition and acknowledgement to members of Canadian rock band, Arkells
  • Reflections from Community Members, local health services and agency representatives 

*Her Honour The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario will also be in attendance.

11:30 a.m. Photo/Video/Interview Opportunities

  • Sweat Lodge tour and interviews with Elder Little Brown Bear and community members.

Join us for a feasting ceremony following the event.

WHERE: Michael Garron Hospital Grounds – Corner of Coxwell and Mortimer  


Erica Di Maio, Manager, Corporate Communications
@email | Phone: 437-993-8419

Shelley Darling, Director, Corporate Communications
Email: @email | Phone: 416-500-8334

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