Adam Giambrone

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Adam Giambrone
Adam Giambrone @ Human Train Rally in Sorauren Park 2009.jpg
Giambrone at the Human Train Protest, 26 September 2009
President of the New Democratic Party
In office
Preceded byDave MacKinnon
Succeeded byAnne McGrath
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 18) Davenport
In office
December 1, 2003 – December 1, 2010
Preceded byMario Silva
Succeeded byAna Bailão
Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission
In office
December 1, 2006 – December 1, 2010
Preceded byHoward Moscoe
Succeeded byKaren Stintz
Personal details
Born (1977-03-08) March 8, 1977 (age 45)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Sarah McQuarrie
Residence(s)Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ProfessionPolitician, transportation analyst

Adam Giambrone (born March 8, 1977) is a Canadian transportation consultant and retired politician who served on Toronto City Council from 2003 to 2010, representing Ward 18 Davenport. Giambrone served as the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) from 2006 to 2010. Following his tenure on council, Giambrone now works in transportation consulting.

As chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, Giambrone oversaw the largest expansion of bus service in Toronto. Giambrone secured over $8 billion for the Transit City project new funding to build light rail into areas of the city currently not served by rapid transit.[1] An expansion of two subway lines also forms part of an overall $18 billion long-term expansion plan driven by Giambrone.[2] He was the 2008 recipient of Now Magazine's "Best City Politician" award.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Growing up in the Davenport area of Toronto, he first became active with the New Democratic Party in its youth wing at age 15. While attending Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto, he was active in the model UN club and took great interests in politics. While studying at McGill University in Montreal, he served as treasurer of the New Democratic Youth of Canada. At age 20, he ran for the NDP in the riding of Mount Royal in the 1997 federal election, in which he finished fifth out of six candidates.[4] He graduated from McGill with a bachelor's degree in archaeology.[5]

At McGill, Giambrone ran for the position of vice-president finance of the Students' Society (undergraduate student union) and lost to fellow student Duncan Reid by a wide margin, but was later elected to the student council as one of three ad hoc councilors representing McGill's student clubs.[citation needed]

Early political career[edit]

Returning to Toronto, he took up employment at the Royal Ontario Museum. He ran for Toronto City Council in the southern Davenport ward against Mario Silva in the 2000 municipal election, losing 6,037 to 3,338.

Federal NDP President[edit]

At the federal NDP convention of 2001, Giambrone won a first two-year term as president of the party. He was a grassroots challenger to the "official slate" candidate customarily supported by the party brass, but the official slate candidate stood down in Giambrone's favour. The president of the NDP is the administrative chairperson of the party, chairing party conventions, councils and executive meetings. Giambrone was 24, and no younger person had ever become president (or leader) of a major Canadian party. He became a frequent guest on television and figure in the news, and travelled the country extensively speaking to New Democrats.

Seeking re-election at the 2003 convention at which Jack Layton was elected party leader, Giambrone faced a strong challenge from respected New Brunswick NDP leader Elizabeth Weir. Midway through the convention, Giambrone and Weir decided to seek a co-presidency. Many delegates balked, especially at the assumption that they could push through a sudden constitutional change in a party often dearly concerned with internal process. The joint ticket was withdrawn, and Giambrone won a second term against Weir and a challenger from the NDP Socialist Caucus.

He announced in the summer of 2006 that he would not seek a third term as federal NDP president. Anne McGrath was elected to succeed him at the party convention in Quebec City.[citation needed]

Toronto Councillor[edit]

Giambrone continued his attempts to win the south Davenport seat on Toronto city council. When Silva left city council and was elected a federal Liberal Member of Parliament in Davenport in the 2004 federal election, Giambrone became a leading candidate to replace him in the 2003 municipal election. With the endorsements of the Toronto Star, Now Magazine, Bloor West Villager newspapers and councillors Joe Pantalone and Fred Dominelli, Giambrone defeated Ana Bailão, Silva's former assistant, by a 51-40 margin in a field of six candidates.

As Vice-Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, he helped develop solutions to Toronto's garbage challenges, and promoted recycling and organic collection. Giambrone worked with the Mayor to implement a multibillion-dollar road and water infrastructure upgrade program.

Toronto Council unanimously approved a September 2007 motion to allow the Toronto Parking Authority to proceed with a plan to expropriate the Matador, a famed Toronto music hall and cultural landmark. After considerable media attention,[6] an organised group of citizens, including noted author Michael Ondaatje and folk singer Sylvia Tyson, lobbied Giambrone to successfully reverse the expropriation.[7][8]

On May 7, 2009, Giambrone sent an email from his mobile phone, warning fellow councillor Cesar Palacio to "stop messing in my ward" or face "problems". Giambrone apologized for the "hastily composed" email when Palacio distributed copies to local media.[9]

Shortly after taking office, he was appointed as a commissioner of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). He also served along with Greater Toronto Area mayors and regional chairs on the board of Metrolinx from its inception in 2006 until 2009.

During the TTC workers' wildcat strike on May 29, 2006, Giambrone was prominent in the media representing the TTC's position as commission chair Howard Moscoe was out of town. After being re-elected in the 2006 municipal election, taking almost 67 per cent of the vote in his ward, Giambrone was elected as Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission on December 6, 2006.[citation needed]

TTC Chairman[edit]

As chair of the TTC, Giambrone oversaw a large expansion of bus service in Toronto, which saw then-record ridership,[10] and the launch of a new, improved TTC website [11] electronic service advisories,[12] as well as next vehicle arrival information systems,[13] and an affinity discount program for the Metropass. Some of these ideas were discussed at Transit Camp, a community consultation early in his term as chair.

Giambrone also established the station modernization and station renaissance renewal programs for TTC subway stations, the latter in conjunction with the Toronto Community Foundation. Giambrone also started a program to install bicycle racks on all TTC buses.[14] although naysayers complained that they were not worth the expense and seldom used.[15]

Giambrone together with Mayor David Miller unveiled Transit City, a $10 billion expansion[16] of light rail into neighborhoods and areas not served by rapid transit, and reaching into the GTA.[1] Transit City calls for 120 kilometres of electric light rail along seven new routes.[17] Premier Dalton McGuinty announced funding for Transit City as a component of its MoveOntario 2020 plan on June 15, 2007.[18] Transit City was also included in Metrolinx's "Big Move" funding plan when it was released on November 27, 2008.[19]

On April 24, 2009, Giambrone announced that the TTC had opted to replace its aging fleet of Canadian Light Rail Vehicles and Articulated Light Rail Vehicles with 204 new streetcars, procured competitively from Bombardier Transportation. New streetcars began to enter service in 2012. The deal, valued at more than $1.2 billion, called for the streetcars to be manufactured in Thunder Bay.[20]

Giambrone announced the launch of the TTC's Transit City Bus Plan on August 21, 2009.[21] The plan took the 'network approach' of the Transit City Light Rail Plan and applied it to buses, creating a network of 10-minute service on 21 of its 139 bus routes which began in the fall of 2010.

Giambrone appeared on CP24's monthly television show called On The Rocket in which he rides a streetcar and discusses daily transit operations, improvements, plans and concerns.

In the wake of a sex scandal (see 2010 mayoral campaign), fellow councilor Brian Ashton called for Giambrone to resign as chairman of the TTC, which had been beset by bad publicity. Ashton said "The TTC is under serious assault around issues of customer relations and performance. The union is now fragmented from the management. I think his moral authority has been totally debased and undermined," said Ashton. "I think mentally he's going to be distracted by both his mayoralty bid and this sex scandal. His ability to come to terms with the TTC issues is tremendously weakened."[22] He did not step down, but also did not seek re-election and so his term as TTC chair ended in December, 2010.[citation needed]

2010 mayoral campaign[edit]

Giambrone launched a campaign for Mayor of Toronto in the 2010 municipal election to succeed David Miller on February 1, 2010,[23] ending it on February 10, 2010.[24] Before Giambrone entered the race, two polls showed him in second place among declared mayoral candidates,[25] though he also had a high unfavorability rating of 40 per cent.[25][26] He remained a leading candidate until February 9, when the Toronto Star published an interview with undergraduate student Kristen Lucas, who revealed that she had a past sexual relationship with Giambrone, including acts in his city office.[27] Giambrone apologized for an "inappropriate relationship" and admitted to intimate relationships with women other than his live-in partner, to whom he is now married.[28] In the immediate wake of the revelations, Giambrone initially pledged to continue with his mayoral campaign,[27] but announced his withdrawal the following day.

Giambrone did not run for re-election to his council seat, and his executive assistant Kevin Beaulieu was defeated by Ana Bailão.[29] Giambrone claimed French lessons as a city council expense, as he was Toronto's representative to the Francophone Association of Municipalities of Ontario and does interviews with francophone media.[30]

Scarborough—Guildwood provincial by-election[edit]

On July 5, 2013, Giambrone resigned as co-chair of the candidate search committee and announced his candidacy for the Ontario New Democratic Party's nomination for the August 1, 2013 provincial by-election in Scarborough—Guildwood; he won the nomination on July 7 over community activist Amarjeet Chhabra, reportedly by a margin of 18 to 14.[31][32]

Giambrone's nomination was the subject of a threatened legal challenge by Chhabra who alleged that 12 of the 32 individuals who voted at the nomination meeting were not on party membership lists and may not have been entitled to vote according to party rules that require an individual to be a party member for 30 days and to live in the riding in order to be able to cast a ballot. Chabbra said she would not proceed with her attempt to force a new nomination meeting due to the tight time frame before the election.[32]

Giambrone came in third place with 28 per cent of the vote, an improvement of 9 per cent from the previous NDP candidate in the 2011 provincial election.[citation needed]

Transportation career[edit]

He has been a transit consultant for clients such as the city of Milwaukee and the Société de transport de Montréal.[33]

In 2016, Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio appointed Giambrone to head up the Brooklyn–Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar project.[34][35][36][37]

Giambrone has since left the BQX project to head up transportation infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Giambrone has participated in excavations in Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Guatemala.[5]

He speaks English, French, and Arabic fluently.[2] He is of Italian-American ancestry; his father moved to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War.[5]

Since leaving municipal politics, Giambrone has been a commentator and panelist on the Sun News Network and was a columnist for Now, an alternative weekly newspaper.[39]

Election results[edit]

Results for the 1997 federal campaign in the riding of Mount Royal:[40]

1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Sheila Finestone 30,115 62.3% -20.6%
Independent Howard Galganov 10,090 20.9%
Progressive Conservative Carolyn Steinman 5,006 10.3% +4.6%
Bloc Québécois Jacques Thibaudeau 1,981 4.1% -2.9%
New Democratic Adam Giambrone 966 2.0% +0.3%
Natural Law Ena Kahn 211 0.4% -0.2%
Total valid votes 48,369 100.0%
Toronto municipal election results, 2000, Ward 18 - Davenport
Candidate Votes %
Mario Silva 6,037 61.0%
Adam Giambrone 3,338 33.7%
Janice Cudlip 319 3.2%
Richard Kankis 206 2.1%
Toronto municipal election results, 2003, Ward 18 - Davenport
Candidate Votes %
Adam Giambrone 5,797 51.5%
Ana Bailão 4,537 40.3%
Hortencia Fotopoulos 386 3.4%
Nha Le 234 2.1%
Cynamin Maxwell 155 1.4%
Ana Salaverry-Chuquihuara 141 1.2%
Toronto municipal election results, 2006, Ward 18 - Davenport[41]
Candidate Votes %
Adam Giambrone 6,025 66.9%
Simon Wookey 2,089 23.2%
Jim McMillan 292 3.2%
Lloyd Ferguson 262 2.9%
Nha Le 251 2.8%
Jim Rawling 87 1.0%

Ontario provincial by-election, Scarborough-Guildwood: August 1, 2013
Resignation of Margarett Best
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Mitzie Hunter 8,852 35.83 -13.10
Progressive Conservative Ken Kirupa 7,606 30.79 +2.14
New Democratic Adam Giambrone 7,010 28.37 +8.95
Green Nick Leeson 532 2.15 +0.86
Independent Jim Hamilton 195 0.79 -
Special Needs Danish Ahmed 185 0.75 -
Libertarian Heath Thomas 118 0.48 -0.80
Family Coalition Raphael Rosch 104 0.42 -
Freedom Matthew Oliver 80 0.32 -0.10
People's Bill Rawdah 24 0.10 -
Total valid votes 24,706 100.0
Turnout 24,706 36.19
  Liberal hold Swing -7.62


  1. ^ a b ""Transit City Details" Toronto Transit Commission. November 2009". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  2. ^ a b "Councillor Adam Giambrone Profile" City of Toronto. February 12, 2010.
  3. ^ "Now Magazine // Best Of 2008 // City politician: Adam Giambrone". Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  4. ^ "Montreal Gazette. September 17, 2008". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  5. ^ a b c Francine Kopun (January 6, 2007). "Riding high on the TTC". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  6. ^ Christopher Hume, "43 years of history vs. 20 parking spots", Toronto Star, September 26, 2007.
  7. ^ John Goddard. "Is it closing time for the Matador?", Toronto Star. September 24, 2007.
  8. ^ "Iconic Matador Club saved from expropriation", October 17, 2007.
  9. ^ Allison Hanes. "TTC chair apologizes after e-mail threat to neighbouring councillor"[dead link]. National Post. May 5, 2009.
  10. ^ "Miller champions Giambrone and TTC Plan". Toronto Star, Feb 10, 2010.
  11. ^ Topping, David (2008-06-05). "One Way Or Another". Torontoist. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  12. ^ "TTC TTC launches e-Alert subscription service". 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  13. ^ "TTC Real-time vehicle arrival info is here". 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  14. ^ "bikeToronto: TTC votes to support bike racks on buses program". Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  15. ^ "Bus fleet's bike racks barely used". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  16. ^ ""Biography: Adam Giambrone, TTC Chair" Toronto Transit Commission. February 12, 2010". Archived from the original on 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  17. ^ Tess Kalinowski & John Spears. "Success driven by TTC: Miller". Toronto Star. March 17, 2007.
  18. ^ "McGuinty Government Action Plan For Rapid Transit Will Move The Economy Forward". Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  19. ^ [1] Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "TTC picks Bombardier to supply streetcars". Toronto Star, April 24, 2009.
  21. ^ "TTC unveils proposal to improve bus service". Toronto Star, August 21, 2009.
  22. ^ Diebel, Linda (February 10, 2010). "Emotional Adam Giambrone admits to multiple affairs". Toronto. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  23. ^ Katie Daubs and Paul Moloney (2010-02-02). "Hip hop and squeals greet Adam Giambrone". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  24. ^ "Giambrone offers brief apology, exits mayor's race". The Globe and Mail, February 10, 2010.
  25. ^ a b "Smitherman leads Mayoral race". Toronto Star, January 14, 2010.
  26. ^ "Angus Reid Opinion Poll" Angus Reid. Nov. 3, 2009. Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ a b "Giambrone's career damaged, not crippled, by sex scandal". Toronto Star, February 9, 2010.
  28. ^ "Giambrone admits to multiple 'intimate' relationships". The Globe and Mail, February 10, 2010.
  29. ^ Dempsey, Amy (2010-10-26). "Ward 18: Giambrone legacy ends in Davenport". Toronto. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  30. ^ Rider, David (2010-11-04). "Giambrone continued French studies on his way out". Toronto. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  31. ^ "Adam Giambrone, ex-mayoral candidate, to run for NDP in byelection". Toronto Star. July 6, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  32. ^ "Former TTC chair Giambrone running for NDP in Scarborough by-election". Globe and Mail. July 7, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  33. ^ Justin Davidson (2016-07-16). "The Mayor's Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Plan Gets a Czar". New York magazine. Retrieved 2016-07-16. Tall and athletic with a spiky crew cut and a Boy Scout demeanor, the 39-year-old Giambrone comes to the job with both experience and baggage — and with knowledge of New York sketchy enough that at one point during an interview he referred to the "Downtown East Side."
  34. ^ Bruce Demara (2016-07-16). "Adam Giambrone hired as NYC transit consultant". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-07-16. Former city councillor and TTC chair Adam Giambrone has a new gig in New York City, overseeing the creation of a streetcar line along the waterfront linking the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.
  35. ^ Terry Davidson (2016-07-16). "Ex-TTC chair Adam Giambrone is New York City's new streetcar guru". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2016-07-16. Adam Giambrone — the one-time mayoral candidate who was brought down by a sex scandal — is New York City's new streetcar guru.
  36. ^ "Former TTC chair Adam Giambrone tapped to lead New York City streetcar project". CBC News. 2016-07-16. Retrieved 2016-07-16. Former Toronto politician Adam Giambrone has been appointed director of a new transit project in New York City. The project, called the BQX (Brooklyn Queens Connector) is a plan for a roughly 26-kilometre streetcar route that would run along the waterfront connecting those boroughs.
  37. ^ Rubinstein, Dana. "Stymied in NYC, former BQX czar pursues grander plans in Saudi Arabia". Politico PRO. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  38. ^ "Sun News claims the deck is stacked against it". National Post. April 9, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  39. ^ Election results for Mount Royal
  40. ^ City Clerk's Official Declaration 2006 Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]