May, 2017

Aanii Everyone,

As an extension of the work on strategic planning and wealth creation, our journey with the Indigenous District continues to see great progress. As you will recall, MNCFN is leading the way in carving out a space in downtown Toronto where we can celebrate our culture and history as well as showcase Indigenous business and entrepreneurship.

The Indigenous District will be the first of its kind in Canada. Centrally located at a proposed Dundas East site, the District will be in close proximity to major transportation hubs and sites in the City of Toronto, and will become a premiere destination for tourists and businesses alike.

For the Indigenous District, we saw a range of factors that make us think the time is right to launch this initiative. In particular, there is an opportunity to build on the current momentum and leverage government and community support to establish an Indigenous footprint in Toronto.

Also, an Indigenous District will help to re-affirm MNCFN’s historical ties to Toronto as part of MNCFN’s Treaty Lands. The district offers opportunities to co-locate Indigenous businesses, allowing for mentorship and training opportunities to develop. In addition, the MNCFN members that participated in our process were highly supportive of a district, at 81%.

To help inform the development of the Indigenous District strategy, a robust, multi-step process was undertaken with Deloitte. In the initial stages of work, perspectives were gathered from multiple sources to identify key priorities. Following this initial information gathering, a series of workshops were conducted to determine an overall vision and strategy for the District that aligned with MNCFN’s
goals and objectives.

For MNCFN, the proposed District offers a number of benefits, including: the opportunity to create Indigenous jobs and support local businesses, promote Indigenous arts, culture and education to non-Indigenous visitors, strengthen MNCFN’s ties with the urban Indigenous community and showcase the historical significance of Toronto as First Nations land, and generate wealth that can be reinvested back into the community.

Once validated, key findings and recommendations will be shared. This is, of course, only the first step in a long and exciting journey that we are looking forward to continuing.
Councillor Casey Jonathan
Chair, Wealth Creation Strategy Committee