City Councillor & Deputy Mayor
Born in Vila Franca de Xira.
Raised in Alenquer.
Based in Toronto.
When given opportunities, people and communities are enabled. We need to ensure that thesse opportunities are not lost in Toronto. This is essential and the most Canadian thing there is, this way of giving opportunities to people – Ana Bailão.
Raised in Alenquer, in the Ribatejo region of mainland Portugal, Ana Bailão immigrated to Canada with her parents in 1991 when she was 15 years old. Her family settled in Toronto’s Little Portugal, where Ana learned about the social issues impacting working-class immigrants. After working in Portuguese community organizations and at City Hall, she was elected Toronto City Councillor in 2010, representing Ward 18, which includes Little Portugal. She would later become Deputy Mayor of Toronto.
Ana Bailão was born in Vila Franca de Xira in 1976 and raised in Alenquer, in the central mainland region of Ribatejo. In 1991, when she was 15 years old, Bailão immigrated to Canada with her parents and settled in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood. She went to high school at West Toronto Collegiate, after which she graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and European Studies. While at the university, she co-founded the Luso-Can Tuna in 1998, the only Portuguese academic tuna in North America.
That same year, Bailão began working as the executive assistant to Mário Silva, the Portuguese-Canadian city councillor for Ward 18 (Davenport), which includes the Little Portugal neighbourhood. In 2003, after Silva left office to run in the upcoming federal elections, she succeeded him as the Liberal-backed candidate in that year’s municipal elections and finished in second place behind the NDP-backed Adam Giambrone. After this, Bailão became the president of the Federation of Portuguese Canadian Business and Professionals in 2005-2006 and the Working Women Community Centre in 2007. In 2010, when Giambrone ran for mayor of Toronto, Bailão again ran for city council in Davenport and won with a 44% share of the votes (6,777). She was re-elected in 2014, 2018 (with over 80% of the votes), and 2022.
As city councillor, Bailão was most active in community housing policy. In 2011, during Rob Ford’s mayoralty, she was appointed chair of the Affordable Housing Committee. That year, she hosted a Symposium on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness that brought together close to 250 experts, non-profit organizations, businesses and other community stakeholders to produce policy recommendations. As committee chair, Bailão led multiple initiatives addressing the lack of social housing stock and the extensive repair backlog in the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. She led a special housing working group that studied the proposed sale of a large number of social housing units to pay for repairs. The resulting report, Putting People First, published in September 2012, proposed private-public partnerships and innovative measures to fundraise $120 million and reduce the need to sell social housing units. As chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, Bailão also led the development of the 2020-2030 Housing Action Plan, which called for the amending of Toronto’s zoning regulations to allow for “missing middle” densification within single-family dwellings. She also led the related programs Modular Housing Initiative, Open Door Affordable Housing Program, and the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition; and advocated for a vacant home tax. In 2017, Mayor John Tory appointed Bailão as Deputy Mayor for Toronto and East York, where she continued to focus on affordable housing. During her time in office, Bailão received multiple local and national government officials from Portugal, and facilitated or participated in numerous Portuguese community initiatives in Toronto.
Bailão decided not to seek re-election in the 2022 municipal election. In January of the following year, she became the Head of Affordable Housing with the real estate company Dream Unlimited. In March, she resigned that position and announced that she was running for Toronto mayor in the June by-election.
Hora dos Portugueses
Short description: Luso-Can Tuna Cape
Description: Traditional academic tuna black cape with patches from the Toronto-based Luso-Can Tuna, co-founded by Ana Bailão in 1998, as an effort to introduce Portuguese-Canadian youth to modern Portuguese culture, and youth in Portugal to the diasporic communities.
Short description: Campaign lawn sign
Place of origin: Toronto, Canada
Description: Ana Bailão’s campaign lawn sign when running for city councillor in Ward 18 during the 2010 Toronto municipal elections.
Short description: Political advertisement
Place of origin: Toronto, Canada
Description: Political calendar, card and flyer for Ward 18 (Davenport), with information about city councillor Ana Bailão.
Short description: Framed Toronto Star article
Date: April 14, 2012
Description: Framed Toronto Star article by urban affairs bureau chief David Rider titled “To The Front of the Pack,” featuring an interview with Ana Bailão. The article focuses on Bailão’s story as a young working class Portuguese immigrant, her emergence as a leading voice in council during her first term at Toronto City Council, and the role she played in opposing Mayor Rob Ford’s cuts to social housing and other essential services.