September 30, 2020

In recognition of National Orange Shirt Day, honouring and respecting the Indigenous people who attended Residential Schools in Canada, Loyalist College acknowledged the completed construction of the A’nó:wara Learning Circle,  an outdoor space on campus dedicated to the promotion of Indigenous culture, tradition, and ceremony. During a small smudging ceremony, the Circle was cleansed with sacred smoke to ensure a safe, positive learning environment.

“Supporting our Indigenous community members by having a designated space for traditional practices and cross-cultural understanding is an important step in the process of Truth and Reconciliation,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President and CEO. “We are proud to have this representation of Indigenous knowledge and heritage on campus where it will be used for teaching outdoor classes, facilitating workshops, and holding traditional ceremonies.”

Named for the Mohawk word for ‘turtle,’ the A’nó:wara Learning Circle incorporates several symbols of Indigenous culture into its design. The circular layout was chosen in accordance with the role of the circle as the foundation of all Indigenous ceremonies. Within the circle is a stone turtle design: the outer ring of the turtle shell is made up of 28 stones, representing the 28 days of the lunar month, while the 12 larger stones in the interior of the turtle’s shell, plus the central firepit feature, represent the 13 Grandmother Moons. A medicine wheel signifying the four races of people surrounds the fire pit.

“The relationship with Mother Earth is sacred, and the interconnectedness of Indigenous Peoples with the land and the natural world is a lived experience,” said Paul Latchford, Manager of Indigenous Services. “The A’nó:wara Learning Circle provides a safe space on campus to share Indigenous teachings and cultural ceremonies.”

Wentworth Landscapes’ construction of the Learning Circle, which began in April 2019, includes intricate stonework, landscaping, and a pergola. Click here to watch this video of the new A’nó:wara Learning Circle.

About Loyalist College

Loyalist is Ontario’s Destination College, empowering students, faculty, staff, and partners through experiential, industry cluster-based education, training and applied research programs. The College provides job-ready graduates for, and knowledge transfer to, industry and the community. Of 2017-18 Loyalist graduates, 88.5 percent were employed within six months after graduation. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, the College is perfectly positioned between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loyalist offers more than 70 full-time diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs in biosciences, building sciences, business, community service, health and wellness, media studies, public safety, and skilled trades. Continuing education options are available through, including hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, and through the College’s 100+ university transfer agreements. Loyalist is a key driver of social and economic health in eastern Ontario. It contributes 3.7 percent of the Gross Regional Product, representing $382 million annually to the regional economy – based on a March 2020 report by Emsi. For more information on Loyalist’s Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto campuses and Port Hope satellite location, visit

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Contact: Kerry Lorimer, Director, Marketing, Communications and Recruitment
Loyalist College,, 613-969-1913, ext. 2536