Indigenous Cultural Markers at Humber College

A physical land acknowledgment embedded in the fabric of Humber College’s campuses

Guided by the knowledge of Ojibwe Anishinaabe Elders Shelley Charles (Chippewas of Georgina Island) and Jim Dumont (Shawanaga First Nation), Humber College’s Indigenous Cultural Markers at its North and Lakeshore Campuses place the College in the context of the geography, history, and landscape of Indigenous Peoples in the Greater Toronto Area. A physical land acknowledgment, these markers act as a bridge between cultures, encouraging learning and sharing of Anishinaabe stories in the everyday context of students, staff, faculty, and the wider community at Humber College.

The markers weave seamlessly into a mix of architecture and landscape settings from various periods—from the high Victorian architecture of the 1900 former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, to the newly-opened CTI Building at the North Campus. In so doing, these projects serve as a model on how to integrate design that acknowledges, and celebrates, Indigenous culture in our built environment.

Site A, a sculptural beacon in the Barrett Centre for Technology and Innovation, is a representation of the seven stages of life. Site B, the Welcome Centre, is a reimagined concrete entry pathway with embedded markers symbolizing migration stopping points and cultural iconography related to the story of the migration of the Anishinaabe People along the Great Lakes.

Site C, the Courtyard installation, honours the Carrying Place Trail, the pathway that links Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe and beyond. Installations raise the knowledge of specific places along the route of the trail. Each marker has a unique pattern and name in Ojibwe.

Custom patterns were carried throughout the three sites in order to create unity and consistent language across the campuses. Consultations included a broad College stakeholder group and the design proceeded as an iterative process with Elders and collaborator David Thomas (Peguis First Nation).


Humber College North and Lakeshore Campuses, Toronto, ON


Humber College




Landscape Architecture
Public Art


Toronto Urban Design Awards, Award of Merit: Elements, 2019
an aerial view of a park and a house.
a group of tall orange poles sitting next to each other.
a couple of people that are walking by a building.
an aerial view of a bridge with a river running through it.