A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto creating first indigenous business district”

Metro Toronto‘s Gilbert Ngabo reported this morning about plans to create an indigenous business district in downtown Toronto, around Dundas and Jarvis. I like the idea, but I’m also reminded of the 2011 initiative to create a French neighbourhood. (Coincidentally enough, Toronto’s Francophones are concentrated near Dundas and Jarvis.) That project may have failed because of the diversity of Toronto’s different Francophone populations, and because of the lack of a historic centre. Can this First Nations quarter encounter a different fate? I wonder, and hope.

The city boasts ethnic enclaves from Little India to Little Italy – there are even two Chinatowns – but there’s no area dedicated to the city’s indigenous roots.

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam wants to change that. Through partnerships with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, she’s working to secure 1,300 square metres of land near Dundas and Jarvis streets for the project.

The district could be a gathering place for indigenous entrepreneurs, Wong-Tam said, or serve as a venue for cultural events.

As someone of a Chinese descent who can always trace her heritage in the city, Wong-Tam says the lack of indigenous visibility in Toronto is “shocking.”

“They’ve been here the longest but you’ll not find an Aboriginal BIA that’s not tied to a land treaty or a reserve,” she said.

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm

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