The City of Markham’s new Aaniin Community Centre & Library was designed with Markham’s diverse community in mind. This community centre invites diverse peoples of all backgrounds to collaborate, share knowledge and celebrate Indigenous tradition and values, including the seven grandfather teachings of respect, love, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth.
Aaniin [ah-nee] means ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ in Ojibway. “This represents our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “This also represents our partnership with Eabametoong First Nation, a collaboration between our two communities that creates an opportunity to learn from one another. By saying hello or welcome, we are celebrating our diversity as Canada’s most diverse community, not just culturally, but by creating spaces for people and all abilities to enjoy and use.”
In 2017, Markham signed a historic accord with Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope. The agreement of cultural collaboration is a first-of-its-kind between a Canadian urban municipality and a remote northern First Nation community. Aaniin is a state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of southeast Markham and further honours Markham’s partnership with Eabametoong First Nation.
With unique and interesting features like the glow-in-the-dark multisensory room for children with developmental disabilities, a triple gymnasium, teaching kitchen, a Makerspace that houses a 3D printer and laser cutter, a rock climbing wall in the pool, digital training rooms, creation studios, and a common room the size of an airport hangar, Aaniin Community Centre & Library is unlike any other community centre you have seen before.
Local dignitaries joined the many residents at the July 14 grand opening celebration. The event was a free, jam-packed day of fun for the entire family, including cupcake decorating, 3D printing, virtual reality games, on-site food trucks and ended with a big bang of fireworks at sunset.