June Rowlands

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June Rowlands
60th Mayor of Toronto
In office
December 1, 1991 – November 30, 1994
Preceded by Art Eggleton
Succeeded by Barbara Hall
Personal details
Born 1925 (age 88–89)
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal

June Rowlands (born 1925) was the 60th mayor of Toronto, Ontario,[1] and the first woman to hold that office. She had previously been a longtime city councillor, unsuccessful federal candidate, and chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission.

Early political career[edit]

Rowlands was first elected to Toronto City Council in 1976 when she was returned as the junior alderman for Ward 10 covering Rosedale and part of North Toronto. In 1978, she topped the vote in her ward becoming its senior alderman with the added duty of sitting on Metro Council.

She attempted to enter federal politics by running for the Liberal Party of Canada in the 1984 federal election. She ran in the suburban riding of York—Scarborough, far from her electoral base in the old City of Toronto, and was defeated by Progressive Conservative Paul McCrossan.

She remained on both Metro and Toronto city council until the 1988 municipal election in which she did not run in order to accept an appointment as Chair of the Police Commission. She left the commission in 1991 to return to elected politics.

Mayor of Toronto[edit]

Rowlands was elected mayor in 1991 following a campaign that focused on law and order. The election began with a group of three right of centre women: Rowlands, Susan Fish, and Betty Disero. The left was mostly unified behind city councillor Jack Layton. Eventually right wing support coalesced around Rowlands, and she was elected by a two to one margin over Layton.

Shortly after taking office, Rowlands came under fire by hiring a relative for a municipal position without either advertising the position or interviewing candidates.

Rowlands is perhaps best remembered (and blamed) for banning the Toronto pop group Barenaked Ladies from performing at a City Hall function, claiming that the group's name objectified women. (Rowlands herself was out of town at the time and it was a mayoral staffer who thought the band's name objectified women.) The band benefited immensely from the incident and media attention and went on to great national and international success, but the issue became a bit of a cause celebre among many Toronto voters, who felt it an example of political correctness run amok. Later in her term, Rowlands gained further notoriety when she seemed to be staggeringly uninformed about—and even completely unaware of—a large-scale youth riot that had shut down parts of Yonge Street, Toronto's main street located just one block east of City Hall. This widely reported incident did not help Rowlands shed her 'out-of-touch' image.

After one term in office, Rowlands was defeated in 1994 by Barbara Hall, and retired from politics.

June Rowlands Park[edit]

June Rowlands Park
Location 220 Davisville Ave, North Toronto (Davisville Village)
Coordinates 43°42′02″N 79°23′18″W / 43.70056°N 79.38833°W / 43.70056; -79.38833
Created 1923[2]
Operated by Toronto Parks
Website June Rowlands Park

June Rowlands Park, formerly Davisville Park, was renamed in 2004 in recognition for her dedication to the City of Toronto[2] Located on the northwest corner of Davisville Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road (with her old Ward 10), the park is the recreational hub of the area, with a baseball diamond, children’s playground and wading pool.[3] The Davisville Tennis Club[4] operates the six courts along the north side of the park on Millwood Road.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mayor Rowlands: time to reach out". Toronto Star. 13 November 1991. p. A26. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Renaming of Davisville Park to June Rowlands Park". Report No.4 of the Toronto South Community Council. City of Toronto. May 18, 19 and 20, 2004. Retrieved April 2012. 
  3. ^ The Elli Davis Team: Davisville Village
  4. ^ Davisville Tennis Club location
Political offices
Preceded by
Clare Westcott
Chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission
1989–1991
Succeeded by
Susan Eng