Sheguiandah First Nation Community Court
The Sheguiandah First Nation Community Court is a landmark project located at the heart of Sheguiandah First Nation, an Anishinaabe First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Over the course of a year, ERA worked with local community and youth leaders, listening, sharing meals, and testing ideas for a legacy space that provides greater access to recreational and communal gathering. The court brings together basketball play, new skateboarding ramps, landscape-integrated seating, a fire pit zone, lighting and native plantings. Led by ERA Architects as the Landscape Architect, this dynamic project organized play for all ages and abilities in an integrated landscape right at the centre of the community’s residential zone. The project was in partnership with the Sheguiandah First Nation, MLSE Foundation, the NBA and the Toronto Raptors.
Through ERA’s unique collaborative design approach, ERA worked with local youth leaders to develop a court design that meets the needs of the community while reflecting the values and unique identity of the Sheguiandah First Nation. This included assisting the community through an artist selection process that brought Anishinaabe artist Emily Kewageshing (@emilykewageshig) to co-design the court’s mural that reflected the community identity and traditional values.
To address the core challenge of developing a landmark design within a modest budget in a remote community, ERA began establishing relationships with local contractors and suppliers early in the design process. The design prioritized locally sourced materials and local Indigenous owned businesses to control cost while investing in the local economy. ERA also worked collaboratively with key project advisors including Infrastructure Specialists for the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising and Ellis Don to ensure that almost half of the construction work was completed by local Indigenous-owned companies and to ensure that the design reflected the capacity of the local construction industry of Manitoulin Island.
photographs and video by Airbazoo