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Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Kurban Nenshi, business consultant, professor, mayor of Calgary, AB, 2010–21 (born 2 February 1972 in Toronto, ON). Naheed Nenshi was elected Mayor of Calgary for three terms, from 2010 to 2021. He was the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city. He was also the first Canadian mayor to be awarded the World Mayor Prize by the British-based City Mayors Foundation. Nenshi was known for pioneering the use of social media in political campaigns, promoting civic engagement, completing various large infrastructure projects and guiding Calgary’s recovery following devastating floods in 2013.

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Denis Coderre

Denis Coderre, politician, federal cabinet minister, mayor of Montreal 2013–17 (born 25 July 1963 in Joliette, QC). A federal politician for 16 years, Coderre moved into municipal politics and was elected mayor of Montreal in November 2013. Although credited with cleaning up the city’s administration, Coderre lost the November 2017 election to Valérie Plante, becoming the first Montreal mayor in 57 years to lose after only one term.

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Calgary and Edmonton Elect First Female Mayor and First Racialized Mayor, Respectively

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After campaigning on a platform to increase Calgary’s public transportation and property tax revenue, former city councillor Jyoti Gondek won a landslide victory with 45 per cent of the vote to become Calgary’s first female mayor. Meanwhile, former Edmonton city councillor and federal cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi also took 45 per cent of the vote in Edmonton’s municipal elections to become the first racialized person to be elected mayor in the city’s history.

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Balarama Holness

Balarama Holness, professional football player, jurist, political activist, social entrepreneur (born 20 July 1983 in Montreal, QC). Balarama Holness put a wayward youth behind him to become a Grey Cup-winning professional football player with his hometown Montreal Alouettes. He then pursued a career as a jurist and political organizer and ran for mayor of the borough of Montréal-Nord in 2017. His community organizing efforts led to two separate reports (in 2019 and 2020) that acknowledged the existence and extent of systemic racism in the province, while also recommending solutions. In 2021, Holness ran to become mayor of Montreal but was defeated.

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Nathan Phillips

Nathan Phillips, QC, lawyer, politician, mayor of Toronto 1955–62 (born 7 November 1892 in Brockville, ON; died 7 January 1976 in Toronto, ON). Known affectionately as “the mayor of all the people,” Nathan Phillips was Toronto’s first Jewish mayor. His mayoralty marked a turning point in the city’s history as it transitioned from a Protestant enclave to a multicultural metropolis. He was influential in demolishing old buildings and neighbourhoods to create a more modern cityscape. He was also a key figure behind the innovatively designed New City Hall and the large public space in front of it, which was named Nathan Phillips Square in his honour.

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Jyoti Gondek

Prabhjote “Jyoti” Gondek (née Grewal), university professor, consultant, municipal politician, Mayor of Calgary 2022–present (born 1969, in London, UK). Joyti Gondek started out in community consulting and academia before serving one term (2017–21) as city councillor for Calgary’s Ward 3. She was then elected to succeed Naheed Nenshi as mayor of Calgary and became the city’s first female mayor on 18 October 2021.

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Kennedy Stewart

Kennedy Stewart, politician, academic, mayor of Vancouver 2018–22 (born 8 November 1966 in Halifax, Nova Scotia). Kennedy Stewart served as a Member of Parliament for Burnaby-Douglas and Burnaby South and was a member of the federal NDP caucus. He is also an associate professor on leave at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy. Stewart was elected the 40th mayor of Vancouver on 20 October 2018. He presided over a gridlocked and dysfunctional city council and lost his re-election bid on 15 October 2022.

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Amarjeet Sohi

Amarjeet Sohi, politician, federal cabinet minister, mayor of Edmonton 2021–present (born 8 March 1964 in Banbhaura, Punjab, India). After being falsely accused of terrorism and imprisoned in India for 21 months, Amarjeet Sohi became involved in municipal politics in Edmonton. He served on city council for eight years before being elected as a Liberal MP for Edmonton’s Mill Woods riding. Sohi served as Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of Natural Resources before losing re-election in 2019. On 18 October 2021, he became the first person of a racialized minority to be elected mayor of Edmonton.