When Alain D’Amours moved to Toronto from Montreal 16 years ago, he had the goal of learning English — he could have hardly imagined that he would end up running for political office.
Now in the race for the Ward 27 council seat, D’Amours, a contractor by trade, thinks back on his time in Montreal as inspiration for some of the ideas he would like to see implemented in Toronto.
For one, he’d like to see Church Street closed to car traffic during the summer months, similar to how a stretch of Saint Catherine Street in Montreal is a pedestrian-only thoroughfare in the summer. “In the beginning, all the stores were against that,” D’Amours says. “And now — try to take it out? No way.”
His campaign has simple goals. He wants more bike lanes, more parks and more services for seniors, especially those in the LGBT community. He’s proposing building a seniors’ home for openly gay seniors, a place where people who are part of the Church Street scene can feel comfortable to be themselves. He says he would pay for it via a private-public partnership.
Taking another cue from Montreal, he would like more streets to be turned into one-ways, with separated bike lanes, to help improve traffic flow. He also proposes basic improvements to Church and Yonge streets, saying benches and trees go a long way.
Whether or not a candidate lives in Ward 27 has become an issue for some during this election campaign — Jordan Stone is running his campaign around it. D’Amours lives just east of the Don River, but it’s his connection to the Church Wellesley Village that made him want to run there instead of in Ward 30. “I’m known in the area,” he says. “I’m an openly gay person.” The owner of the renovation company Woodstuff 2000, his business has taken him into many of Ward 27’s neighbourhoods.
This is his first time running for political office, a decision he made because he feels it is time for change. “I would say for quite a while I was thinking I should run,” he says. “It’s more to have a [word] in city hall.” And if he isn’t elected? He still wants to be involved with municipal politics somehow.