Gus Harris

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Augustus John (Gus) Harris
5th Mayor of Scarborough, Ontario
In office
Preceded by Ken Morrish, interim
Succeeded by Joyce Trimmer
31st Reeve of Scarborough, Ontario
In office
Preceded by Oliver E. Crockford
Succeeded by Albert Campbell
Personal details
Born July 1908
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died February 20, 2000(2000-02-20) (aged 91)
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Political party CCF
New Democrat

Augustus John (Gus) Harris (July 1908 – February 20, 2000) was a Canadian politician. He was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. He was the mayor of Scarborough, Ontario from 1978 to 1988.

He was first elected to Scarborough Township council following World War II, and was elected reeve of the township in 1956. He served on the Board of Control when the township became a borough and then a city in 1983.

Although he was a relatively conservative, pro-development mayor, Harris' political roots were in the labour movement, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the New Democratic Party. He was also progressive on social issues calling for gay rights at a 1979 human rights rally.[1]

Harris never accepted financial donations to his political campaigns from any source so that he would not be captive to any interests. Shortly before the nomination deadlines for the 1988 municipal elections in Ontario, Harris announced he would not seek re-election as mayor, and was officially succeeded by Joyce Trimmer as mayor, in early December 1988.

Although retired from active politics, Harris occasionally spoke on various municipal issues in the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as transit concerns and the proposal for the potential amalgamation of Metropolitan Toronto. He died at the age of 91 due to complications from Parkinson's disease.[2] A nature trail that passes through Warden Woods Park on Taylor-Massey Creek was named in his honour.[3]

Memorable quotes[edit]

On 11 December 1973 during a debate on the fate of the community on the Toronto Islands, Harris, a Controller at the time, was firmly against the idea of retaining the houses. He said at one point, "These people have launched as vicious a propaganda campaign as I've ever seen. You can see the fine hand of Island public relations in this City proposal. I've had it with their heart-rending stories."[4] It is ironic that Joyce Trimmer, Harris' successor as mayor originally lived on the Toronto Islands.[5]

In July 1988, just prior to his retirement as mayor, he spoke about how Scarborough was maturing as a city. He said, "They won't be calling this place Scarberia much longer."[6]


  1. ^ Way to Go: CLGRO 1975 - 2000: A Short History. Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario. [1]
  2. ^ Gus Harris was a no nonsense politician. CBC News. February 21, 2000. [2]
  3. ^ City of Toronto officially names the Gus Harris Trail. City of Toronto. May 30, 2002. [3]
  4. ^ Jon Caulfield. The Tiny Perfect Mayor. 1974. John Lorimer & Company. Toronto. p. 88.
  5. ^ Tracy Huffman (2008-05-21). "Joyce Trimmer, 80: Former mayor of Scarborough". Toronto Star. 
  6. ^ Robert Fulford. Accidental City. 1995. MacFarlane, Walter & Ross. Toronto. p. 112.

Political office[edit]

Preceded by
Ken Morrish - interim
Mayor of Scarborough
Succeeded by
Joyce Trimmer