The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation hosted various first nations representatives and partners during the Pan Am Opening Ceremony. Mississauga Nations Chiefs and political representatives, along with the Regional and National Chiefs, were in attendance and celebrated the strong aboriginal cultural influence showcased within the performance.
Cirque Du Soleil began the performance with an opening that celebrated the traditional keepers of the lands of Ontario – Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Huron – Wendat, Six Nations and the Metis. Each nation was represented through a group of traditional dancers, which continued on throughout the opening segment with the parade of international dancers to celebrate the multicultural influence of the City to Toronto. The show included various stunts including a BMX bike performance, aerial acrobatics, and performances featuring fire hoop dancers. The show was a spectacular event for all in attendance and for all watching at home through the live coverage provided by the CBC.
With the Mississaugas of the New Credit as the first ever Host First Nation for the Pan am/Parapan am Games, it was also the first time that First Nations’ representatives were seated within the ‘Box of Honour’. As directed through protocol, The Box of Honour is host to the National Olympic Committee representatives, Pan American Sports Confederation representatives, and political representatives from the host country to the games, including the Head of State and Mayor of the host city to the games. The Opening Ceremony to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games was unique as it featured Chief Bryan LaForme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, Regional Chief Isadore Day, and National Chief Perry Bellegarde. The inclusion of the Host First Nation and First Nations representatives was symbolic and displayed the importance of recognizing the indigenous peoples of Ontario and Canada.
It was an exciting evening that concluded with a dramatic fireworks display from the top of the CN tower. The energy within the venue was positive and filled with excitement for what was to come during the course of the following two weeks of the games. The Mississaugas of the New Credit were proud to be in attendance to welcome all visitors and athletes to their traditional territory for sport, kinship and competition.