Beverley Salmon — Toronto’s first Black female city councillor known for her advocacy for more inclusive policies and practices within municipal government — has died at the age of 92.
Salmon’s daughter, Heather Salmon, confirmed on social media that she passed away on Thursday.
She said in a Facebook post that the family will be announcing her funeral arrangements shortly.
Salmon was born in Toronto to a Jamaican father, Herbert McLean Bell Sr., and a Canadian mother, Violet Bryan, according to an article on York University’s website. In the early 1950s, she trained in nursing at Wellesley Hospital and received her public health nurse certification in 1954 from the University of Toronto. She began her nursing career in earnest in 1956 in Detroit. During this period, she became involved with the civil rights movement, and this experience inspired her to continue her work as an activist when she returned to Toronto in the 1960s.
In 1985, Salmon became Toronto’s first Black female city councillor, representing North York until her retirement from municipal politics in 1997.
Salomon was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2016, and the Order of Canada on Canada in 2017.
We’re ‘deeply saddened’: Urban Alliance
Urban Alliance on Race Relations — a non-profit charitable organization founded by Salmon — says it’s “deeply saddened” to learn of her passing.
“As Toronto’s first Black woman to become a city councillor & a founding member of UARR, Bev was an extraordinary trailblazer who tirelessly ignited social change & amplified marginalized voices in our community,” the organization said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jill Andrew, the Member Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Toronto-St. Paul’s, described Salmon as a “trailblazer.”
“She was TO’s 1st Black woman city councillor and so so much more,” Andrew wrote on Twitter.
“Our community has lost a giant. May her footprint of leadership continue to inspire.”
Andrew said her heart goes out to Salmon’s son, Warren, and her entire family.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.