Every Child Matters community project

A group of children with their hands on each others shoulders, walking in a field. Transparent orange overlay

About this project

The Every Child Matters community project is an initiative to create a pedestrian space that honours the victims, survivors and families of the Residential School system and reflects the commitment of our community to the Truth and Reconciliation process.

Youth aged 7 to 11 are invited to create an artwork that reflects the theme “What does Truth and Reconciliation mean to me?”

The selected artwork(s) will be adapted to a stencil design that will be painted on the surface of a sidewalk or trail crossing in the City of Peterborough.

Encouraging participation of local youth, the project speaks to ongoing education about the legacy of Residential Schools, and the importance of reconciliation actions. It will be a space that encourages reflection and inspires further conversation and learning.

The Every Child Matters project is expected to be installed in September 2024, aligning with National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The location will be confirmed later this summer.

An exhibition of artwork submitted for this project will be displayed throughout September at the Peterborough Public Library.

Who is eligible to participate?

Children aged 7-11 who are residents of the City of Peterborough, Peterborough County, or a local First Nation community are eligible to participate.

Artwork criteria

  1. All entries must be original works completed by the child/youth within the past 12 months.
  2. Any medium (e.g. crayon, pencil crayon, paint) may be used.
  3. Entries must not exceed the parameters of a standard concrete sidewalk slab, one metre by one metre. A design may be repeated to fill the space required.
  4. The use of words, images, and symbols are acceptable.
  5. Artwork should be simple enough to be turned into a stencil.
  6. Up to three colours may be used, with a preference for orange, black and white.
  7. Any works that copy or plagiarize another work (completing someone else’s work) will be disqualified.

Evaluation and selection of artwork

Entries will be reviewed by a committee including representatives from the City's Arts and Culture department, Peterborough Museum and Archives, and People and Culture division.

Evaluation criteria

The following will be considered by the committee as they assess the entries:

  • creativity and originality
  • artistic skill and technique
  • composition and design
  • colour - use of medium
  • reflection of the theme
  • effort and presentation

How to participate

Entries must be submitted either online or in-person by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 15, 2024. It is free to participate.


Enter your artwork online using digital images by completing our online form.

Online entry form: Every Child Matters community project


Entries can be dropped off at one of the following locations:

  • City Hall, 500 George St. N.
  • Peterborough Museum & Archives, 300 Hunter St. E.
  • Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer St. N.
  • Art Gallery of Peterborough, 250 Crescent St.
  • Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre, 775 Brealey Dr.

Along with artwork, please ensure that the following information is provided: contact information for caregiver; the title of the artwork; name of artist; age and school (if applicable).

Education and Resources

An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children passed through Canadian residential schools between their opening, around 1883, and their closing in 1996. 

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission stated reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In order for that to happen, there must be awareness of the past, an acknowledgement of harm, and action to change behaviour.  

The Downie-Wenjack Foundation (DWF) recognizes that reconciliation is not easily defined. It is not linear and does not have a clear endpoint. To us, reconciliation is a continuous process, a journey, that leads to improved outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. 

Visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Commission to learn more about the tragic legacy of residential schools, the experiences of families and Survivors as well as the 94 Calls to Action. 

Learn about Orange Shirt Day and related initiatives.

Reconciliation: A Starting Point mobile app is a reference tool for learning about First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including key historical events and examples of reconciliation initiatives.