Lakeridge Health’s Oshawa Hospital Launches Indigenous Sacred Fire Space

Posted on Monday April 22, 2024

A new initiative to support the cultural and spiritual needs of patients and families

(Durham Region) – April 22, 2024 –  Lakeridge Health celebrated Earth Day with the lighting of the first sacred fire at a Durham Region hospital, officially opening a new Indigenous Sacred Fire space at the Oshawa Hospital. The new Indigenous Sacred Fire space will provide an opportunity for Indigenous patients and families to access culturally appropriate services and supports, participate in ceremonies and community programming, and mark days of significance throughout the year.

“We honour the Earth as our Mother and give thanks to her for all that she provides to us to bring forth life,” said Kathy MacLeod Beaver, Indigenous Navigator, Central East Regional Indigenous Cancer Program. “Lakeridge Health’s creation of a permanent place for the sacred fire provides a welcoming and supportive space for all, including Indigenous patients and families.”

Tim Smoke, Firekeeper at Alderville First Nation, was on hand to light, maintain, and watch over the sacred fire for the duration of the ceremony. Showna Smoke, Knowledge Keeper, also from Alderville First Nation, provided Teachings on the importance of the sacred fire.

"We’re honoured to partner with the Central East Regional Indigenous Cancer Program and the local Indigenous communities and organizations to launch this important initiative," said Cynthia Davis, President and CEO, Lakeridge Health. "The Indigenous Sacred Fire space is part of Lakeridge Health’s commitment to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and anti-racism within our organization and our broader Durham Region community, and to providing high-quality and compassionate care that respects the cultural and spiritual needs of patients and families."

The Indigenous Sacred Fire space is located near the southeast corner of the Oshawa Hospital within the Healing Garden, outside the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre. The space will be available for use by Indigenous patients and families, as well as staff and community members, with guidance and support from the Indigenous Navigator and the Central East Regional Indigenous Cancer Program. This is the first Indigenous Sacred Fire space within Lakeridge Health. The organization is planning to install Sacred Fire spaces at all hospital locations across its entire regional system of care. 

Kathy McLeod Beaver


About Lakeridge Health
With five hospitals, four emergency departments, three critical care units, a long-term care home, a full range of medical and surgical specialties, more than 20 community health-care locations and a state-of-the-art surgical centre within the Jerry Coughlan Health & Wellness Centre, Lakeridge Health offers some of the broadest and most comprehensive acute care, ambulatory care, and long-term care services in Ontario.

Lakeridge Health is also home to several regional specialty centres and services, including the Central East Regional Cancer Program, R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, The Shoulder Centre, and eye care and chronic kidney disease services. Additionally, we are proud to serve our community with a full suite of inpatient, ambulatory, and community-based mental health and addictions services, and provide safe, high-quality, compassionate care in our state-of-the-art long-term care home, Lakeridge Gardens.

Guided by our vision of One System. Best Health. and supported by a dedicated team of more than 8,700 staff, physicians, and volunteers, Lakeridge Health is a proud member of the Durham Ontario Health Team (Durham OHT) and works in collaboration with the Durham OHT, as well as primary care, and community and government partners to foster a truly integrated, regional system of care. Together, we are focused on empowering people to live their best health and fostering an accessible, inclusive, and equitable environment for all.

For more information, please contact:

Sharon Navarro
Manager, PR and Digital Communications
Lakeridge Health