Virginia Barter Métis Filmmaker & Television Producer


Mayor John Tory apologizes to Métis for injustices of 1885

Teachers note: My story . . . by Virginia Barter

Continuing on the theme of reconciliation, I had a great session at TheStudentSchool last Monday.  The teachers were wonderful and the students really engaged. (grade 11 /12)  It was a mixture of students – some studying history, some English and some art.  The history students were studying late 19th century history and specifically Toronto history.  So the teachers were thrilled when I was able to  talk about the recent apology by Mayor Tory for the City’s role in supporting the military campaign against the Métis in 1885.  I also link the narrative through art (Sherry Farrell Racette’ s poster series) and my own personal family history and stories.

Background . . . The Mayor issued the apology formally at the Annual General Assembly of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) this past summer. I was actually asked to help draft the wording of the apology.  This was a result of the efforts of the local Toronto and York Region Métis Council (TYRMC) and supportive City of Toronto staff.  It has been several years in the making, but it finally crossed the finished line on August 19th, 2022.  It is also part of the City of Toronto’s Reconciliation Action Plan.   As the Mayor said, the apology requires action now.  The education piece is the next step. 

A New chapter in Canadian history . . . This apology by the City of Toronto is truly significant for Métis all across this country. We are definitely part of a new chapter in Canadian history.

Response from the Susan Magerman, teacher at TDSB TheStudentSchool:

Oct 31, 2022 . . . “THANK YOU so much Virginia!! I appreciate all your efforts and your wonderful presentation. The students learned so much. I am especially grateful for you sharing your personal stories with us no matter how difficult. ” Thank you again, Susan



City of Toronto’s Reconciliation Action Plan and Apology:

Watch the video of Mayor Tory’s apology, download the written copy, and hear responses from Métis elders and leaders: Toronto Mayor John Tory apologizes to Métis people for city’s role in Northwest Resistance – Métis Nation of Ontario

Members of the Toronto and York Region Métis Council receiving the formal apology by Toronto Mayor John Tory for the City’s role in the military actions against the Métis during the North-west Resistance of 1885.

City of Toronto Mayor John Tory with TYRMC President, Shirley Debassige on the left holding the apology; next to her is MNO President Margaret Froh; TYRMC Senator, Suzanne Brunelle; and on the far right is Métis National Council President, Cassidy Caron, who shared stories of her own family’s involvement in the resistance and how their home was destroyed during the Battle of Batoche.  She speaks about this in the video link.