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Hello TAS Families,

On September 30th, 2022 competitive swim clubs and athletes across Canada wore orange swim caps to honour the residential school experience and support those who continue to be affected by the genocidal residential school system.

Over the last couple of months, Duncan Swim Team (BC), the Indigenous Sport and Wellness (ON) organization, Lakeshore Swim Club (ON), Swim Ontario and Team Aquatic Supplies (Canada) have banded together as a sport community to run an Orange Cap Campaign across Canada in support of Youth Indigenous Sports.

As a response and continued commitment to Reconciliation, we, as a collective swim community have focused and will continue to focus on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Call to Action, #88; “We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.”

We are pleased to announce that we have collected a total of $7, 146.80 from the Orange Cap Day campaign sales at TAS locations across Canada. All proceeds of orange caps purchased through the month of September will be donated to local Indigenous communities and sport organizations across the country through the direction of the Aboriginal Sport Circle.

Thank you to the clubs and individuals who participated on Orange Cap Day in support of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We look forward to seeing you next year!

- Leanne, Gary, Nicole, Dean and Greg


Interested in learning more? Check out the links below to familiarize yourself with upcoming opportunities and organizations that we support.

  • The TRC 94 calls to action (sport ones are #87-91),
  • To learn more about the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2023,
  • The International Governing body for NAIG (NAIG council),
  • The Aboriginal Sport Circle: Canada’s national voice for Aboriginal sport, physical activity, and recreation,



Please read on to learn more about the organizers of this event.

Background on organizers

Leanne Sirup (she/her)
Inuit, Head coach Duncan Swim Team, Head coach Aboriginal team BC

As a former National Team member, Leanne has transformed her love of Swimming to Coaching. In her role as Head Coach of the Duncan Swim Team she works with the Aboriginal communities, locally and provincially, in developing opportunities for involvement in Swimming and in Hockey. In addition, Leanne works with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (ISPARC) as Head Coach of Team BC for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) since 2006.

Leanne’s family history includes her Mom: Owelyah Elisipee E5-301, being taken from her family in Clyde River, Nunavut at the age of 5yrs and placed in a Residential School in Montreal, QC for 11 continuous years. Her sister Qillabuk was also taken and the two were separated with Owelyah going to a Residential School in Montreal, QC and Qillabuk in Ottawa, ON. Upon being released to home, they had to relearn their first language of Inuktitut as their schools forbade them to speak their original language. The sisters were not able to communicate either, being French & English speaking. Owelyah was also forced to adopt her government issued “Eskimo Identification Number” of E5-301 as her ‘surname’. All Inuit were forced to wear the small leather or copper disc inscribed with their specific number. “To many they looked and felt like dog tags.”

It is uncomfortable for many to learn of all the truths coming to light. If you’ve read this far, please do not feel shame. You are educating yourself and by doing so, you have made the choice to be a part of the healing process and ensuring we all do not repeat history. Qujannamik (thank you in Inuktitut).

Gary Lynch (he/him)
Manager of Sport and Athlete Development; Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO)

As a wrestling coach and guidance specialist working within the education system in northwestern Ontario, Gary was able to see the positive affect sport has on youth, as well as some of the barriers that specifically Indigenous youth face in accessing sport. Hoping to address the accessibility gap to sport programming, Gary has taken on the role as Manager of Sport and Athlete Development for Indigenous Sport and Wellness Ontario. Using sport as a conduit for capacity building and human development, Indigenous Team Ontario and the North American Indigenous Games are just one critical piece in moving forward together for reconciliation. 

Nicole LaCoste (she/her)
Age Group Coach, Lakeshore Swim Club

With many years of experience around the pool deck as both an athlete and a coach, Nicole is passionate about giving back to the sport that taught her so much. In 2021, Nicole presented the Orange Cap campaign idea to her swim club, Lakeshore Swim Club (LSC), with hopes of getting more involved with the Indigenous Sport Community and taking long-term action to Reconciliation. Last year as a club, they raised funds and awareness by wearing orange caps and participating in an educational walk. She could not be more pleased to have joined the nation-wide campaign this year as an organizer. Nicole is committed to continued relationship development with the current organizers and looks forward to future partnerships in the swimming as well as in the larger sport community.

Greg Sanderson
General Manager, Team Aquatic Supplies Ltd.

As a lifelong swimmer, Greg transitioned his love of the sport into coaching and, eventually, the business of swimming. Coaching in several small communities on Vancouver Island, Greg has had first-hand experience working with indigenous swimmers and their families. The results of the National Truth and Reconciliation Committee have been an eye-opening experience, one that both Greg and Team Aquatic Supplies Ltd. feel strongly about and are committed to increasing knowledge and awareness about the devastating impact of the residential school system. The Orange Cap project is a positive step in raising awareness across Canada, specifically within the swimming community. We look forward to working with the team on future Orange Cap projects.

Dean Boles
CEO/CTO, Swim Ontario

Dean currently works for Swim Ontario and has been involved with competitive swimming for 47 years, as a national level competitor, a club/university/provincial mentor coach in Ontario. He was the Head National coach for Danish swimming for 3 ½ years and during his time as a coach/mentor, he coached swimmers to five Olympic Games. Upon his return to Canada in 2019, Dean became aware of Truth and Reconciliation, learning the tragedies of the Indigenous people, taking part in a walk of support on Canada Day in downtown Toronto 2021. He then learnt of the initiative by Nicole LaCoste and her swim team that raised awareness and funds by wearing orange caps on September 30, 2021. Dean brought the idea of making it nation-wide across all the swimming clubs to Greg Sanderson, General Manager of Team Aquatic Supplies, long-time supporter of competitive swimming and worked with fellow organizers to make the initiative happen during September 2022.