With a population of 108,805, Parkdale-High Park includes the neighbourhoods of Swansea, High Park North, The Junction, Runnymede-Bloor West Village, Lambton Baby Point, Roncesvalles, and Parkdale. Just 26 percent of the Ward’s residents are visible minorities, far below the city average of 51 percent. Gord Perks, the current councillor, has served on city council since 2006.
City Council Candidates
Siri Agrell is a former journalist and political adviser. She previously worked at The Globe and Mail as their urban affairs reporter where she covered culture, politics, and infrastructure developments in Toronto. She’s the author of two books, Bad Bridesmaid and How To Get Laid Without Your Phone. Agrell left her position at the Globe to become Kathleen Wynne’s deputy director of communications and then worked as John Tory’s director of strategic initiatives from 2015 to 2018, where she was involved in projects like the Bloor Street bike lane pilot and King Street Transit Priority Project. An FOI request published earlier this year showed that during her time as a Tory staffer, Agrell was part of the personnel working to include police back into Toronto’s Pride parade. She has also consulted on urban projects for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the 519 Church Street Community Centre, and led a now-shuttered technology incubator, OneEleven, as its executive director. Agrell’s platform includes creating safe and beautiful neighbourhoods, improving road safety, making public transit more efficient, making government services more widely accessible and representative of constituent needs, and making the city more affordable for all. Agrell recently criticized incumbent councillor Gord Perks’ leadership after a police crack down on cyclists for speeding in parks in Perks’ ward. She has been endorsed by Mayor John Tory.
Andrew Gorham is a former journalist with the Globe and Mail. His platform includes affordable housing, which he wants to accomplish by freezing all building developments immediately unless they will house individuals and households with an annual income below $49,000, freezing all current rent levels for 10 years, and abolishing the Ontario Land Tribunal. His platform also includes better transit, which he wants to accomplish by banning the sale of cars within the city and the use of cars within the downtown core, making the TTC free, and providing free bicycles and locks for every citizen who wants them. Gorham also wants to offer a $100 rebate for every citizen who votes in the City of Toronto regardless of who they vote for, and one free bag lunch every day for every citizen.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Chemi Lhamo is an activist and community organizer with a background in neuroscience and psychology. She currently works as the community health lead for Parkdale People’s Economy while also also serving on the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust board and on the International Tibet Network’s Steering Committee as its Canadian representative (Lhamo is Tibetan-Canadian). Lhamo previously worked as a communications coordinator for the City’s COVID response team. She was also involved in the University of Toronto Scarborough Students Union, serving as the vice president of equity from 2018 to 2019 before being elected president from 2019 to 2020. Lhamo’s platform prioritizes affordable housing, bold climate action, better transit, and radically rethinking safety by investing in alternatives to policing.
Gord Perks - Incumbent
Gord Perks is the incumbent city councillor for Parkdale-High Park, holding the office since 2006. He is an environmentalist with over 18 years of experience working with several organizations such as Greenpeace Canada and the Toronto Environmental Alliance. During his term, Perks fought for social housing and has proposed a motion to implement “city-wide zoning approach and standardized regulations for rooming houses.” He also voted to expand bike lanes and motioned to reduce speed limits and incorporate road signs to improve road safety. Perks has disagreed with the city increasing its police funding and proposed to redirect the funding to aid the office of the housing commissioner and rent supplements in a motion that was voted down. He also criticized the city for contracting police to clear park encampments and for exploiting a loophole in the Toronto Municipal Code to award $1 million contracts to do so. Perks, alongside councillor Mike Layton, recommended that the city’s climate action strategy plan include transit funding beyond 2022 and commit to a carbon budget. Perks’ platform prioritizes housing for all, which includes advocating for inclusionary zoning and affordable housing in every city-led development, and expanding the Parkdale Hub model, which is a mixed-use housing and community services complex, as well as the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) program, which protects affordable units by bringing them into public ownership. His platform also focuses on creating safer walking and cycling by fixing local roads, expanding the cycling network, and implementing the Western Waterfront Master Plan, which aims to improve public access to the waterfront. Perks has been endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council.
Steve Yuen is a realtor as well as the CEO of Wizards and Warriors Management Agency. Yuen has a background in business and “a demonstrated history of working in the supply chain industry” from his experience working as a business development manager, first at Affiliated Global Logistics from 2010 to 2017 and then at Branson Internation Inc. from 2018 to 2020.
Information in Candidate Tracker was compiled and written by The Local’s team of journalists and fact checkers. Candidates were emailed a questionnaire asking for information about their history, experience, and plans; not all candidates were reachable or responded. The Local also conducted its own research to independently source and verify information about each candidate. Candidate Tracker will expand and be updated as the election campaign continues. If you’re a candidate whose information is not here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Last updated: September 14, 2022.
Contributors: Ann Marie Elpa, Inori Roy, Dhriti Gupta, Zeahaa Rehman, Neville Park, Nicholas Hune-Brown, Tai Huynh, Craig Madho, Steve Combes, Lia Mattacchione
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