By Gerald V. Paul
The Caribbean community’s leading strategist behind Mayor-elect John Tory’s victory is St. Lucia-born Gwyn Chapman.
Prominent in the TV coverage as she welcomed Tory, gave him a hug and stood on the stage as he delivered his victory speech on municipal election night, her supporters say she brings to bear an intellect and a magnetic presence beyond her years.
There have been several calls for her to move from all her community and professional work to run for office – and win – but Chapman told The Camera, “I am here to continue to serve Mayor-elect Tory.”
Focused on doing good in the community, Chapman works with young people, gleaning among her many accolades the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“I choose to do the calling with a passion because it is the right thing to do. My desire is to continue to mentor young people and envision them to do the same,” Chapman noted.
She recalled her days growing up in Ottawa and her journey to Toronto. “It came naturally, as I inspired youth via spoken word, motivational speeches and several events over the years.”
Chapman made her mark with her ‘baby’, the Inspiring Leaders Forum, which brought together respected elders from politics, business, law, etc, to connect with youth personally at Queen’s Park.
“This was necessary for young people to learn from the personal experiences of past and present elected and respected leaders and engage in dialogue on progressive ideas and practical solutions,” Chapman said.
She said she believes in Tory’s vision obout young people looking for their first job. And as positioned by Tory, “The thousands of new Torontonians seeking hope and opportunity, but often finding frustration despite superior qualifications.”
Like Tory, she is attracted by a strong work ethic mixed with an even stronger volunteer spirit. And she is committed to Tory’s goal of “Making the City more liveable, building transit, including the Yonge Street Relief line and the Scarborough Subway.”
Chapman appreciates that the Caribbean community has responded in a positive way to Tory when he said, “So, I say to Torontonians: Give me your trust and I will give you my best, my very best. We can’t go on as we are, and we can’t go back either. That’s our choice this year.”
Chapman was there at the launch of Tory’s campaign and today, she concurs with Tory’s words: “For the love of Toronto we must and we will go forward.”