The Walk of Sorrow has finished up after 79 days.

Patricia Ballantyne, who is originally from Deschambault Lake, set out on a walk from Prince Albert to Ottawa in June to raise awareness about Canada’s Residential School System.

Ballantyne arrived in Ottawa on August 23 in the late afternoon where she was met by a small crowd of supporters.

“I got to do a three day closing ceremony and event, I got to meet the different groups,” she said.

On the over 70 day trip Ballantyne said she got to meet a range of different people who came out to support her. She added she was thankful for all the people who came out to show their support.

“I’d like to thank everybody that came out and supported us and acknowledged that this was a healing journey and not a protest,” she said.

Over the course of the walk Ballantyne said she and those accompanying her got invited to a number of communities both First Nations and non First Nations. Ballantyne explained many of the people they met along the way helped the walk keep going.

“They were all very [supportive] with getting us on the road and also giving us donations so we can purchase our gas along the way,” she said.

When the walk stopped in First Nations communities, Ballantyne said they had the chance to speak with elders and community members who shared their own stories. They also got the chance to speak with local leaders.

“The non First Nation communities they were able to listen to our stories and learn the different things that happened to the First Nations people in the residential schools and also through the 60’s scoop,” she said.

Overall Ballantyne said she was happy with how the walk went and enjoyed having the chance to listen to the stories of other people. She added the non First Nation people who came out were interested in learning.

“I’d say over 1,000 people came out, not at the same time but at different times and different durations of time,” she said.

When it came to the physical part of the 79 day walk, Ballantyne said the most difficult part of the journey proved to be the last part, where the weather conditions made it much more challenging.

“I’d say like the very end, the last days of the walk was very grueling because of the heat wave,” she said.

(The Walk of Sorrow crossing into Ontario: Photo Courtesy of Patricia Ballantyne Facebook)