As a city, Greater Sudbury strives for acceptance and inclusion, said Mayor Brian Bigger.
Diversity means something different to every person, he said. That's why the city embraces that which makes each resident different.
“Our city is best when we all belong,” Bigger said, during the unveiling of the city's Diversity Plaque at Tom Davies Square.
The plaque design was developed by the city's Newcomer Immigration Refugee Advisory Panel as a promise to accept the differences every resident, regardless of where they come from, he said.
The concept of a diversity policy for Greater Sudbury was first advanced by the city's Diversity Advisory Panel and Chair Leonard Kim. The Diversity Advisory Panel worked for many months to develop the content, scope and audiences for the Diversity Policy and statement to ensure clear intentions and direct connection to human dignity, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Following these efforts, the Diversity Advisory Panel presented the Diversity Policy and Statement to Council who adopted it unanimously in May 2014.
The policy was then taken on by the Newcomer, Immigrant and Refugee Advisory Panel, which was established to provide advice to city council on strengthening support in the community. This panel worked to develop the artwork and layout of the policy to engage audiences and display publicly in municipal facilities.
Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh is co-chair of the panel. She said city council wanted to have the words of the diversity policy posted across the city to highlight the message of inclusion.
“Our strength in Sudbury is our diversity, and the broader the diversity, the stronger we are. Everyone has a different point of view, and when we bring a wide variety of those viewpoints to the same table, we will make better decisions for this city.”
The plaque features the same mural that is on a brick wall on Elgin Street, between Durham Street and Larch Street. It's the old Roy's Furniture building. If you are familiar with the downtown, chances are you've seen it.
But, like McIntosh, who travels that route regularly, you may have stopped noticing it after a time. She said even though she has been driving that way for many year, she just stopped seeing the mural, because it was always there, and it just became a part of the background.
“When someone brought the idea of including it in the mural, I thought it was the perfect example (of diversity),” she said.
The main plaque will be located at Tom Davies Square, however, smaller plaques will be put up in many other municipal buildings throughout Greater Sudbury.