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The Northern Spirit Games

The Northern Spirit Games are annual athletic, cultural and spiritual celebrations that take place at a number of Toronto Catholic District School Board sites. Since 2002, over 24,000 students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 have participated in these games. Students are taught ten indoor and outdoor activities based on traditional First Nations, Métis and Inuit games, which focus on physical strength, agility and endurance. Each day’s activities are run by trained secondary student leaders from the hosting school.

The Northern Spirit Games emphasize team work and introduce students to sports and activities still alive in northern communities, such as snow shoeing, rope skipping, and spear throw. The opening ceremonies are based on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel and honour the gifts of Mother Earth, reminding students of their sacred connection to nature. Métis guest presenters will engage students with storytelling, music and cultural teachings, both before and after the athletic events.

The Games are part of the Board’s larger First Nations, Métis and Inuit initiatives, including curriculum development, teacher workshops and twinning with Northern communities. The Games (formerly called the Arctic Games) arose from the Twinning Initiative which was established by former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable James K. Bartleman.

On February 2020, four sites hosted the games for 300 students in grades 4, 5 and 6 from across the TCDSB. Check out photo highlights below:

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