My name is Gladys Larbie and I am the youngest of four daughters to Henry and Vivian Larbie. My father and mother arrived from Ghana, Africa, settled, and got married in Toronto over 40 years ago. My father was an Engineer for Spar Aerospace and my mother raised my sisters and I in our home in Toronto. Looking back at my childhood, I remember my father was so proud to be a Torontonian and an Ontario citizen.
My father would take my sisters and I out on weekends to teach us about Toronto’s history. He took us to Yonge and Queens Quay and told us that where we stood was the start of Yonge Street, the longest street in the world! I remember the subway rides in the spring with my family to the St. Lawrence Market. We would take the King Streetcar to buy fresh local fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Afterwards, we would continue the walk in Old Toronto to the Distillery District and have lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. The experience was so magical, as it felt like we were being transported back in time!
Chilly subway rides in the New Year, were very exciting, as it was a sign we were attending the Winter Carnival at Queens Park. I remember the Bonhomme Snowman and the dragon performances celebrating the mark of Chinese New Year. On Sundays, my mother would dress my sisters and I in our finest clothes to attend service at the United Church by our home. I am often reminded of those times as I sit in for Sunday Service at the Metropolitan United Church on Queen Street East.
My favourite meal as a teen was Patty Specials at the corner convenience stores. Every time I visit, it reminds me of when my friends and I would buy pop and candy at Kim’s Convenience on our way home from summer school at Jarvis Collegiate. Growing up in Toronto, I loved the summertime, my friends and I would celebrate Pride Toronto on Yonge Street, and mark the end of summer by watching the live street performers at the Busker Festival.
In my early adulthood, I had to learn and earn my own way. I had experienced economic hardship and ended up living on the streets. Salvation Army Transitional Housing on Jarvis street, took me in and help to rebuild me to become the person that I am today.
I had fallen, and the community of Ward 13 was there for me in my time of need. I am so grateful for this beautiful community and I worked so hard to get back on my feet. I had proven myself that anything in this world is possible, even when you fall on hard times. I became a successful example of hard work, dedication and commitment to anyone that hears my story.
Why I'm Running
My story and memories of Ward 13 is far from over. I want to be the voice for the Centre at City Hall. I am running for City Council in Ward 13, to ensure that our Ward has a voice, a voice that knows the community and knows needs of the community.
I am running so that shelter doors remain open for people who fall on hard times. I am running so that hospitals are well funded to handle emergencies and mental illnesses. I am running so that transportation in the city continues to be regularly funded and service routes continue to grow, so that you and your love ones get to where you need to go.
I will fight for these important issues so that others may have a story like mine, so that they too can be proud to call this great city their own! Join me on my journey to become your City Council representative for Ward 13, and thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. I look forward to serving you at City Hall.
Daughter to Henry and Vivian Larbie, Gladys was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Gladys is an active member of the United Church of Canada and volunteers for the Salvation Army. Gladys graduated from the Canadian Studies program at York University with Honours, and was a Varsity Crew Member for the Rowing Team. Past leader of Rights and Democracy (Droit et Démocratique) as well as President of Canada World Youth, York University Chapter, Gladys is an advocate for Indigenous and Human Rights in Canada. Gladys also educated her peers at Rights and Democracy conferences and forums across Canada. She was on the Dean’s List and Class President at Durham College while she obtained a Diploma in Business Administration and an Advance Diploma in Business Management.
Gladys’ hobbies includes; Muay Thai, weight training, and writing.
Torontonians come together and we will create a center for renewed change and prosperity. Now more than ever, the community of Toronto needs to act and vote.. Vote for change, vote for prosperity and vote for a better Ward 13!