Bill 103 2001
An Act to declare
Martyrs' Shrine Day for Ontario
In the summer of 1615, the first French missionaries and traders led by Samuel de Champlain arrived in Huronia at the village of Cahiague on the shores of Georgian Bay.
Soon after, in 1639, the French Jesuits erected a central mission residence called Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. It became the focal point of contact between the First Nations and the French. It also marks the beginning of Ontario's Francophone community.
The Martyrs' Shrine in Midland pays tribute to the heroism of the early French missionaries and the hundreds of First Nations people who worked with them and welcomed the missionaries into the country.
These are the French martyrs: Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, Gabriel Lalemant, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Noël Chabanel, René Goupil and Jean de la Lande.
Joseph Le Caron, who conducted the first Christian religious service in Ontario, Giuseppe Bressani, the first Italian to come to Ontario, François Gendron, the first medical doctor known to have lived here, and many others are also included among those remembered at the Shrine.
Among the First Nations people honoured by the Shrine are: Kateri Tekakwitha, Joseph Chiwatenhwa, Therese Oinhaton and Joseph the Algonquin, and many others.
Along with Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, restored by the Government of Ontario in 1968, Martyrs' Shrine continues to this day as a living reminder of these heroic beginnings of Ontario.
This year marks the 75th year since the opening of the Shrine in Midland, Ontario. The Shrine continues to promote historical education and awareness of the events of the seventeenth century in this province. It witnesses to the spiritual testimony not only of the early missionaries and First Nations people, but now as well to the multicultural and multi-faith celebration of that heritage.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
Martyrs' Shrine Day
1. To commemorate the arrival of the early French missionaries and traders in Huronia, September 26 in each year is proclaimed as Martyrs' Shrine Day.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Martyrs' Shrine Day Act, 2001.
The purpose of the Bill is to proclaim September 26 in each year as Martyrs' Shrine Day.