TTC customers who pick up a copy of the TTC Ride Guide this summer may notice a special illustration on the cover. In recognition of National Indigenous History Month, the cover features artwork from Nipissing-born, Toronto-based Anishinaabe artist: Manitou Nemeen (Que Rock), and depicts the teachings of the Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel.
"The Medicine Wheel is a tool that is used to help yourself understand balance, to create balance, and to heal yourself. All First Nations have a version of the medicine wheel," said Manitou Nemeen. "When I was asked to create the cover, my intention was to share a tool from my culture that has been very useful to me and it's a great introduction to the Anishinaabe way of life."
He explains that, "The medicine wheel shows us how the laws of nature work, including the direction nature is moving. For example, the sun rises in the east, then moves south, then west and finally north during the evening here in Ontario. Essentially the medicine wheel is not only a compass physically but a moral compass that allows us to find peace, harmony and enlightenment by creating balance not only in our environments but within our own natures. To the Anishinaabe people this is called circular thinking."
"I'd like to extend my thanks to Que Rock for his excellent contribution to this year's Ride Guide. Que Rock's work serves as a starting point to recognize and celebrate the diversity that makes our City great - a critical step in creating a more inclusive community, not just at the TTC but throughout Toronto," said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson.
"The Ride Guide cover is seen by people all over Toronto and the GTHA and we are very pleased to feature Que Rock's work this summer," said TTC CEO Rick Leary. "Because of its reach, the cover of the Ride Guide can be an important podium. By featuring the work of an Indigenous artist on the cover, we aim to reinforce the inclusivity and diversity that this city is known for, as well as recognize the rich history and traditions of the First Nations."
This year, the TTC will print approximately one million Ride Guides. TTC Ride Guides come in two formats, a Ride Guide "Lite", which is available on all buses, streetcars and subway trains, and a more comprehensive Ride Guide, which is available at all subway stations. Both versions feature Que Rock's cover art. Additionally, the cover can be purchased as a poster from the TTC online store at ttcshop.ca.
During the month of June, the TTC is honouring the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples in the GTHA through an Indigenous History Month awareness campaign. Other initiatives that are taking place include streetcars that are wrapped with a land acknowledgement, printed posters that highlight eight locations that are significant to the traditions and historical and present day influence of Indigenous peoples, digital/web messages and social media posts.
Those who want to see more of Que Rock's work can follow him on Instagram at @miangunclan.