Like so many people, my family chose to immigrate to Toronto. I was 13 and we lived in an apartment in St. James Town.

It was a different time. Toronto was a city of hope. It was much more affordable. Even though my dad struggled to hold down a job, my mother could pay the rent and feed our family by working as a hotel maid. It wasn’t easy, but with a single income, we got by.

We would not have survived today. Right now, people across Toronto feel stuck. Stuck waiting for housing. Stuck in traffic. Stuck waiting for buses, a childcare space, and recreation programs. And even stuck on hold when they call 911. For many of us, life in our city is getting harder, and we urgently need to build a city that cares.

I know what it feels like to worry about having enough money for rent and food. That’s why I’ve never been able to just stand by. I have spent my life building bridges between communities, leaders, and politicians on all sides to get things done. That’s who I am.

It has been my life’s work to empower communities, and together we’ve delivered results. We’ve built programs that feed thousands of kids in schools across the city. We made sure 911 was available in hundreds of languages so everyone could get help in an emergency, and we brought access to dental care for families in need.

Right now, Toronto has a choice.

We can give in to fear and pessimism and do nothing. Or we can choose to channel our frustration into hope. We can open up city hall and work together to build a more caring, affordable, and safer city.

I’ve made my choice. I’m running for mayor. Choose me, and together we will make Toronto a city that cares - a city where everyone belongs.

— Olivia Chow

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