Gabrielle Scrimshaw, a member of the Hatchet Lake First Nation, moved to Toronto from Northern Saskatchewan for a job opportunity two years ago. She admits that the move was a scary one. She had only been to the city twice before. She didn't know anyone. There was a lot to take in.
"I had no friends here, no family here, and naturally when you find yourself in a situation like that you try to connect yourself with people and find a sense of community," she recalls. "Being Aboriginal, I wanted to continue down the path of developing my indigenous and cultural knowledge while also developing myself from a young leadership perspective."
But her search for potential organizations that would meet her needs turned up nothing. There simply was no network for young Aboriginal professionals in Toronto to connect. Scrimshaw was astounded. Out of that astonishment grew the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada (APAC). Founded just over a year ago, the organization for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit professionals living and working within the Greater Toronto Area, was, for Scrimshaw, borne of necessity.
"The Aboriginal community in Canada is the fastest-growing demographic," Scrimshaw says. "We're growing at twice the rate of the non-Aboriginal population. In Toronto we're the fastest-growing demographic between 2001 and 2026, the census years."
It just so happened that, as a 2011 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow, Scrimshaw was ideally positioned to realize her vision for the organization.
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Yonge Street Media