Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is currently working on creating another business district in Toronto, as a hub for indigenous entrepreneurs. The area will also be used as a venue for cultural events to celebrate indigenous heritage.
According to Metro Toronto, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is working with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations in order to create an indigenous business district near Dundas and Jarvis.
Councillor Wong-Tam said they are looking to get 1,300 square meters of space on the East side of Toronto for this district.
Having been a largely oppressed minority in the West for so long, Wong feels the lack of indigenous visibility in Toronto is “shocking.” She also added that as someone of Chinese descent, she knows she can always trace her heritage in the city.
The fact that indigenous people originated in the West, indigenous heritage should be particularly visible.
“They’ve been here the longest but you’ll find an Aboriginal BIA that’s not tied to a land treaty or a reserve,” she said. In the past few years, Toronto has acknowledged its location on traditional land.
Accordingly, City Hall had announced it will start flying the flags of First Nations on a permanent basis. Wong-Tam says that establishing an indigenous cultural and business district is the next step.
Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation said that the interest and support of this project is proof that Toronto has been moving in the right direction in terms of indigenous issues.
“I think we deserve more diversity and this district would be a perfect way to show value and respect,” he said. “You can’t just make those statements and walk away. You have to meet the obligation of helping indigenous people of the country.”