Today, Mayor Olivia Chow officially assumed her role as the 66th Mayor of Toronto and fifth Mayor since amalgamation. Mayor Chow took office after making the Declaration of Office administered by John D. Elvidge, Toronto City Clerk, at a special ceremony held this morning in the Council Chamber in Toronto City Hall. The ceremony was attended by City Councillors, Indigenous leaders, City of Toronto staff and agency representatives, former mayors and guests of the Mayor.
Following the Declaration of Office for the Mayor, the Chain of Office was presented to Mayor Chow and worn for the duration of the ceremony. More information about the Chain of Office is available on the City‘s Symbols webpage.
Indigenous teachings, ceremonial elements and special performances
The Declaration of Office featured several ceremonial elements including an Indigenous Welcoming Ceremony held on the podium roof of City Hall prior to the main event. Led by Elder Garry Sault and Grandmother Tina Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the ceremony welcomed the Mayor-elect as a partner in peace, friendship and respect and included a smudging, the lighting of the fire, pipe ceremony and water teachings. The inner circle of the ceremony included the Mayor-elect, Members of Council and senior City staff. It was also attended by Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Chief Carlo Gros-Louis, Gros-Louis/Rock/Duchesne Family Chief, part of the Huron-Wendat Nation, and Shirley Debassige, President of the Toronto and York Region Métis Council, Metis Nations of Ontario.
The Declaration of Office ceremony opened with a smudging of the Council Chamber. The Mayor-elect was welcomed to the Chamber to the sound of ceremonial drumming and singing by the Young Creek Big Drum, Anishinaabe from the Wikwemikong First Nation.
Master of ceremonies and renowned actor Jean Yoon read the land acknowledgement and Elder Dr. Duke Redbird from the Saugeen Ojibway Nation provided welcoming remarks for the Mayor-elect. The African Ancestral Acknowledgement was presented by Sandra Whiting, storyteller, community programmer and a prominent member of Toronto’s Black community. Elder Garry Sault and Grandmother Tina Sault recounted the significance of water from the morning’s Indigenous Welcoming Ceremony that was contained in the silver teapot displayed in the Council Chamber. This teapot is a symbolic representation of the City’s commitment to its Reconciliation Action Plan.
The ceremony also featured a poetry reading by Lillian Allen, Toronto Poet Laureate, JUNO Award winner and professor of creative writing at OCAD University, and a musical performance by JUNO Award-winning singer and songwriter Lorraine Segato with Retrocity. The program concluded with the singing of the Canadian national anthem by the classically trained, multi-award-winning singer Jennifer Uy.
High-resolution images of the Indigenous Welcoming Ceremony and the Declaration of Office ceremony will be available to media by request. Media can request images by contacting email@example.com. The video recording of the Declaration of Office ceremony is available on the City’s YouTube channel.
On June 28, the Toronto City Clerk certified the official results for Toronto’s 2023 by-election for mayor and declared Olivia Chow as Mayor-elect. Election day was June 26. A fact sheet about the Mayoral by-election and Election images and b-roll are available in the City’s online Media Room.
“Today we commit ourselves to the hard work ahead. Our city can find its feet again. Let’s give ourselves permission to believe that, together, we can move the needle of progress for the people of Toronto. Let’s build a Toronto that is more affordable, safe, and caring, where everyone belongs.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow
“The declaration of office by the Mayor is an important occasion that marks the official start of the new mayor’s term of office following the recent by-election. We were glad to welcome so many Torontonians to City Hall and online today to watch the ceremony.”
– John D. Elvidge, Toronto City Clerk
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