Olivia Chow

Champion of Community and Change

Olivia Chow is a prominent figure in Canadian politics, renowned for her unwavering commitment to public service, social justice, and community empowerment. Born in British Hong Kong on March 24, 1957, Olivia immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 13, settling in Toronto. Her early experiences navigating the challenges of immigrant life instilled in her a deep sense of empathy and drive to make a difference in her community.

Early Life and Education
Raised in Toronto’s St. James Town neighborhood, Olivia faced adversity as her family worked hard to establish a new life in Canada. Despite these challenges, Olivia excelled academically, graduating from Jarvis Collegiate Institute before pursuing higher education at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph. With an Honours Bachelor of Arts in fine arts, Olivia embarked on a career as an artist, educator, and advocate for social causes.

Political Career
Olivia’s political journey began in the 1980s when she became actively involved in the New Democratic Party (NDP), working alongside local MPs and community leaders. In 1985, she was elected as a school board trustee, marking the beginning of her dedicated service to the people of Toronto. Olivia’s passion for social justice and community empowerment propelled her to seek higher office, leading to her election as a councillor on the Metro Toronto Council in 1991.

Throughout her tenure in municipal politics, Olivia was a vocal advocate for affordable housing, public transit, and initiatives to support marginalized communities. Her collaborative approach and tireless advocacy earned her widespread respect and admiration among her constituents. In 2006, Olivia transitioned to federal politics, serving as the Member of Parliament for Trinity—Spadina until 2014. During her time in Parliament, she continued to champion progressive policies and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of Canadians.

Mayoral Leadership
Olivia’s dedication to serving her community reached new heights when she ran for mayor of Toronto in 2014 and again in 2023, ultimately securing victory in the latter election. As the 66th mayor of Toronto, Olivia has prioritized addressing pressing issues such as housing affordability, transit expansion, and social equity. Her “new deal” approach to city finances and commitment to community-driven solutions have garnered widespread support and optimism for the future of Toronto.

Community Engagement and Legacy
Beyond her political career, Olivia remains deeply committed to community engagement and leadership development. In 2016, she founded the Institute for Change Leaders, an organization dedicated to empowering grassroots activists and organizers. Olivia’s memoir, “My Journey,” offers insight into her remarkable life and serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring changemakers.

Olivia Chow’s legacy is one of resilience, compassion, and transformative leadership. As a trailblazer in Canadian politics and Toronto’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor, Olivia continues to inspire individuals across the GTA and beyond to engage in civic life and work towards a more inclusive and equitable society. Through her unwavering commitment to community and change, Olivia Chow embodies the spirit of service and activism that defines the fabric of our city.