I was born in Egypt and moved to Canada in the 1980s. I grew up in the Markham and Lawrence area, and ever since then, the essence of Scarborough has run through my veins. 

My story is the traditional Scarborough story. We grew up in a tougher part of the city, and my parents couldn’t find jobs that fit their qualifications. Back in the day, I went to school at the University of Toronto Scarborough with my brother, sister and friends. We met some people, made some connections, and I ended up starting my own company, and that’s where it all started.  

The Arrow Group of Companies is a collection of more than 20 corporations including scientific research, diversified finance, temporary labour, health and wellness, sports and recreation, and professional basketball. It was important to us to keep our head office in Scarborough and keep our roots, and we have built the company to the point where it is now Scarborough’s largest corporation and the first Scarborough-based billion-dollar company. I also own the Scarborough Shooting Stars basketball team, which after just two seasons,  won the CEBL Championships. 

My connection to SHN runs deep; my youngest son was born three months premature at under two pounds. We basically lived at the neonatal intensive care unit at Centenary for months, and I’m so grateful for the care all of us received in those difficult months. 

We were there when they were doing some upgrades to the birthing centre, so there was construction and limited space. But despite these obstacles, I’ll always remember the exceptional care my son received from the nurses. 

To me, Scarborough Grit means self-resiliency. It’s almost a force of reality. We’re all dealing with our circumstances, and that grittiness comes from all of our experiences. Across Toronto, we must have the mentality that we’re all connected–one part of the system can’t operate efficiently if another part of it is so neglected.

I encourage people to help make an impact in Scarborough and donate to SHN. I think this region is probably the one that deserves it the most. 

Sam Ibrahim is one of our 11 new faces of the Scarborough Sans Family. To learn more about our campaign please visit LoveScarborough.ca