What Leaders Are Saying

Please note: all endorsements below are personal endorsements.
We have provided their title and organization as a reference. 

Richard Louv

Author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder"

"Gil Penalosa is among the handful of the world's leading experts on the future of urban life, and how our cities could not only be survivable, or sustainable, but more livable and beautiful than they’ve ever been."

Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods;
Livable Communities, AARP

Brent Toderian

Former Chief Planner, City of Vancouver & Founding President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism

"I advise smart, innovative cities all over the world, and I know this for sure — choosing Gil Penalosa as Toronto’s new mayor would represent an unprecedented opportunity for the city. Imagine a mayor who is an exceptional leader and listener, who cares deeply about people, and who is ALSO one of the world’s most respected and influential experts and champions for better urban livability and quality of life FOR EVERYONE. Imagine a mayor who really understands smart, successful, responsible and equitable city-building, not as political sound-bites, but as the result of a renowned life’s work."

Brent Toderian, former Chief Planner, City of Vancouver

Janette Sadik-Khan

NYC’s superb Commissioner of Transportation (Bloomberg)

"Wherever you find Gil you will find a one-man urban ministry of action and energy that brings out the best in communities. Gil is one of my heroes and for everyone who lives in cities."

Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Commissioner of Transportation

Erion Veliaj

Mayor Tirana, Albania, renowned for transforming the city around creating a great city for children

"It's always great news for democratic societies when activists challenge the status quo, but it's particularly encouraging to see an outstanding leader in city transformation like my friend Gil Penalosa run for Mayor of Toronto.

Gil has run major city operations, and has advised dozens of mayors on how to run great cities! His expertise has been paramount to us changing the City of Tirana from the post-communist hermit town, to European Youth Capital 2022 - child-friendly, massive greening and bike revolution at once.

Toronto has a chance of a lifetime to have an activist mayor that gets cities and has transformed countless of them worldwide through top knowledge and guts! Go Gil, shape a Toronto for everyone and make it a leading global city!"

Erion Veliaj, Mayor, Tirana, Albania

Carlos Moreno

Creator of 15-Minute City, Advisor to Anne Hidalgo, Mayor Paris

"Gil Penalosa is an internationally recognized personality for his commitment to making cities more friendly, livable, and above all for the citizens. Gil belongs to this rare category, those who think but also act to build quality of life in an urban world threatened by the climate crisis and now the health crisis. I have discussed with Gil the happy proximity, the 15-minute city, the 30-minute territory and our convergence is ever-present. We need personalities like Gil, open to dialogue, who think the city and who create and participate in eco-systems to transform it here and now.

Gil's footprint in many cities around the world is that of a better way of living, a humanistic ecology for a happier city. Gil knows that he can count on me because he is part of those with whom we reflect and act for a better urban world."

Carlos Moreno, Creator of 15-Minute City, Advisor to Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris

Leah Shahum

Founder & Director, Vision Zero Network
Personal Endorsement

"As a member of the Vision Zero Network Advisory Committee, Gil helped us build a Vision Zero movement that is resisting the idea that roadway deaths and dangers are inevitable. With his support, we are growing the commitment to safe mobility among hundreds of mayors and policymakers at every level of government, as well as agency leaders and community-based advocates. And thanks to Gil's inspiring vision and his unwavering commitment to help people thrive, communities across the continent and the world are changing the status quo and ensuring that streets and public spaces prioritize people's safety, health and happiness."

Leah Shahum, Founder and Director, Vision Zero Network

Rehana Moosajee

Former Head of Transportation, Johannesburg, South Africa

"Gil Penalosa and I first met when he was a keynote speaker in Bonn, Germany. I was so struck by his depth of knowledge and experience in what it takes to create cities that are warm and welcoming to 8 year olds as well as 80 year olds and everyone in between.

Upon my return to Johannesburg, South Africa, the City of Johannesburg, invited Gil to come and share his progressive ideas for rapidly urbanising cities. His perspectives were welcomed by a range of civil society urban activists as well as city staff.

Over the years Gil and I have kept in touch. I am delighted that he will be putting his warm heart, genuine love for people and place and wealth of global knowledge and expertise to use in the service of a city he now calls home.

Toronto needs Gil Penalosa if it is to realize its true potential!"

Rehana Moosajee, former Head of Transportation, Johannesburg, South Africa

"Gil Peñalosa is one of the world’s greatest urban thinkers—and doers. Gil has spent his life making cities around the world healthier and more inclusive.

Gil has proven through a lifetime of work that cities really do work better for everyone, when they are built for everyone."

Charles Montgomery, author of award-winning book Happy City

"I am delighted that Gil Penalosa is running for Mayor, as I know him as one of the true leaders in the effort to make cities like Toronto greener, more liveable, and more resilient. His professionalism, creativity, and immense enthusiasm have inspired cities across the world to do better and I am confident the same will be the case for Toronto if Gil gets elected."

Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk, Director, Nature-Based Solutions Institute

Dr. Melissa Lem, MD, CCFP, FCFP,

Nature and Health Advocate

"Gil is a proven leader and innovator who has helped make cities around the world more equitable and sustainable. His vision to transform Toronto into a place where everyone can live, work and play safely and healthily is inspiring."

Dr. Melissa Lem, MD CCFP FCFP, Nature and Health Advocate

Fred Kent

Creator NYC’s Earth Day, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) & PlacemakingX

"There is no one I know anywhere in the world that is better suited for the job of Mayor in a major world city. Gil can deliver for all citizens a future defined by and for communities for their future.

He also has a network of change agents globally to help and support him as he creates a shared vision for all the different neighbourhoods that make up Toronto."

Fred Kent, creator of NYC's Earth Day, Project for Public Spaces (PPS), PlacemakingX

Cecilia Vaca-Jones, Executive Director

Urban-95, BvL Fdn, Netherlands

"I met Gil Peñalosa six years ago when through my work we were trying to find champions that could advocate for better cities for people. When I heard Guillermo for the first time, I was immediately convinced that he is the best champion not only because he is convinced to make better cities for people but because he has already done it in his home city Bogotá!

In his position in Bogotá he helped improved the public space and brought a lot of green Infrastructure which is fundamental for the well-being of families. Furthermore, during the last decade Gil has informed, trained and inspired hundreds of leaders around the world to take action.

Guillermo has the vision, skills, network to make Toronto a better city for people. His leadership will support families that are willing to contribute in making Toronto a great place to live and thrive.

His particular interest in making Toronto a better city for babies and toddlers shows how aware he is on how investing in the early years has the highest economic, social and environmental return for any society. I look forward to see Guillermo lead Toronto with empathy and vision!"

Cecilia Vaca-Jones, Executive Director, Urban-95, BvL Fdn, Netherlands

Donnie Rosa, General Manager

Vancouver Board Parks & Recreation
Personal Endorsement

"Gil has been an inspiration to the Parks & Recreation industry with his leadership and vision for walkable and livable cities. I have enjoyed his workshops and keynotes throughout my career and I know he has influenced my thinking as a parks and recreation professional."

Donnie Rosa, General Manager, Vancouver Board Parks and Recreation

Sarah Mulligan-Toffler, President & CEO,

Children & Nature Network
Personal Endorsement

"Gil Penalosa is a global leader in inspiring common sense solutions for cities, and has been for decades. Toronto would be lucky to have him in their corner. He fights for children and the elderly, knowing that if we build cities that work for them, they will work for everyone. I cannot think of anyone who would fight for a better Toronto with more tenacity or creativity than Gil."

Sarah Mulligan-Toffler, President and CEO, Children and Nature Network

Danielle Arigoni

Director of Livable Communities, AARP
Personal Endorsement

"Gil Penalosa is the right choice for Toronto, bringing passion, expertise, and a collaboration mindset to solve the greatest challenges of our time.  He is the rare internationally-renowned visionary who can also lead locally by identifying immediate actions that every member of the community can take to build towards a more equitable, sustainable, healthy and just future.  Gil is a compelling and effective leader who can and will help Toronto achieve a future that truly includes all ages and all abilities – the kind of future that Toronto deserves."

Danielle Arigoni, Director of Livable Communities, AARP

Dr. Nadina Galle

Founder, Internet of Nature

"Whether as parks commissioner of Bogotá, founder of his non-profit 8 80 cities, or advocate for liveable cities, Gil has dedicated his life to fighting for the way cities should be — places where all people can live healthier and happier lives. As Mayor, I know Gil will prioritize Toronto's parks and open spaces to improve physical and psychological health, strengthen community ties, and make neighbourhoods more attractive places to live and work."

Dr. Nadina Galle, Founder, Internet of Nature

Jenny Roe, PhD

Co-author of Restorative Cities. Professor, Director, Center for Design & Health, University of Virginia, USA

"I have known Gil since 2015 in his role as Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities and have witnessed first-hand the critical role he has played in building just and healthy cities worldwide.  Gil has worked tirelessly in over 350 different cities around the world to improve public health, equity and sustainability sparking the worldwide Ciclovia / Open Streets Movement (as Commissioner of Bogotá) that is contributing to mobility, improved health and the revitalization of public space globally.  His vision, values and commitment to building healthy cities – alongside his ability to galvanize people from all walks of life in that mission – promises to lead Toronto into a bright new future revitalizing the city for people, culture, equity and sustainability."

Jenny Roe, PhD., Professor and Director, Center for Design and Health,
University of Virginia, USA

Jeff Speck

City Planner and Author of Walkable City

"The most successful cities are livable and equitable because they are walkable and bikeable. Other candidates may support these qualities with words; only Gil Penalosa has supported them with a career of practice. Jane Jacobs, another worthy immigrant, never decided to run for Mayor, but Gil has. A vote for him is a vote for the city that Jane imagined."

Jeff Speck, city planner and author, Walkable City

Dr. Sarah Sabry

Global Lead – Urban at Save the Children/ Founding Chair of Cities4Children – The Global Alliance
Personal Endorsement

"Gil Penalosa is a leading figure in the field of urban development. His transformative work in Bogota and his work to advocate for inclusive cities for the youngest as well as the oldest, both bear witness to his commitment and ability to transform cities to be better for everyone."

Dr. Sarah Sabry, Global Lead - Urban at Save the Children;
Founding Chair of Cities4Children - The Global Alliance

Giselle Sebag

Executive Director, The International Society for Urban Health
Personal Endorsement

"Gil Penalosa is a lover of cities large and small and has an unrivaled track record of transforming cities for people across the world. The people of Toronto would benefit greatly from the passion, knowledge, and experience that only Gil could bring to the job—ensuring a more affordable, safer, more prosperous and equitable future for all Torontonians, regardless of postal code, age, origin or income."

Giselle Sebag, Executive Director, The International Society for Urban Health

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