Biindigen! Welcome!

Tkaronto, meaning the place in the water where the trees are standing in Kanyan’kéha (Myseum of Toronto, 2019), was a trading hub where people from many Indigenous cultures met long before European contact (Mills and Roque, 2019; First Nations House, 2012; First Story Toronto, 2014). This was due to its geographic position on the north shore of Lake Ontario and the many rivers leading out of it (i.e. Credit, Rouge, Don, and Humber) that connected it to inland communities (First Story Toronto, 2014). Tkaronto It is estimated that 65,000 people lived in the area prior to 1640 (First Nations House, 2012

Our library is located steps away from Spadina Avenue, whose name originates from the Anishinaabemowin word Ishpandinaa, meaning a hill or sudden rise in the land (First Nations House, 2012). Nearly two kilometres north of our location, Ishpadinaa ‘Spadina’ Avenue (whose name there changes to Spadina Road) intersects Gete-Onigaming, which means the old portage, a trail between the Don and Humber Rivers that existed long before European contact. You may know Gete Onigaming as Davenport Road (Andrew-Gee, 2015; Susan Blight, Hayden King).  

In Tkaronto, and all over Turtle Island (today known as North America), land is protected by the Dish with One Spoon inter-nation peace agreement between the Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee nations. This agreement is represented by a wampum belt (see image below) and consists of three rules: take only what you need, leave some for others, and keep it clean (Nandogikendan, n.d.’ Hall, 2003; Simpson 2008). To learn more about the Dish With One Spoon, check out chapter 3 in Skoden: Teaching, Talking, and Sharing About and for Reconciliation on PressBooks from Seneca College.

A wampum belt, which is a visual representation of the resource sharing treaty between Indigenous groups surrounding the Great Lakes, known as the Dish With One Spoon.


Today, Tkaronto is located on Treaty 13 of 1805. This treaty originated in 1787 as ‘the Toronto Purchase’ between the Mississaugas and John Johnson (on behalf of the British Crown). From the perspective of the British Crown, a tract of land on the north shore of Lake Ontario was sold to them for £1700 worth of blankets, kettles, and gunpowder. The Mississaugas interpreted these items as gifts from visitors to their territory. The deed to the land was later found, but contained a blank where a description of the area of land sold could be entered later (MNCFN, 2017). Due to these discrepancies, the Crown entered into further negotiations with the Mississaugas in 1805, but the area of land they claimed was being sold was larger than it was in 1787.