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Canadian Heritage

Connecting Indigenous languages to the places we call home

An outdoor exhibition highlighting the origin and significance of Indigenous place names in Canada

A group of outdoor exhibit panels in front of a downtown skyline. The front panel is bright yellow and shows an image of a yellow sunset over a beach, with the title "In the Languages of These Lands" in English and French.
Canadian Heritage
Project type
Outdoor exhibition

Each summer since 2016, we have worked with Canadian Heritage (PCH) to develop and install a themed outdoor photo exhibit at Plaza Bridge, a pedestrian space in downtown Ottawa overlooking the Rideau Canal. For its 2023 installation — and in connection to the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages — PCH partnered with the Geographic Names Board of Canada to showcase the diversity of Indigenous place names in Canada, and their importance in preserving endangered Indigenous languages.

Working closely with both project partners, we designed the exhibit’s photo panels to bring strong focus to the place names, showcasing each name in a large, bold font. The secondary reader rails were used to describe the significance of each name in English, French, Algonquin, Inuktitut syllabics, and other languages, with QR codes linking to audio of each pronunciation, and display map showing each location within Canada.

The final installation was celebrated by officials and visitors alike. At an exhibit opening highlighted by a special address by Indigenous Elder Claudette Commanda, the exhibit was described as “playing an important role in  educating Canadians about Indigenous history and reconciliation.”

Be beautifully accessible.

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