NAME: Cheri DiNovo
SHOW US YOUR FUN SIDE:
Cats OR DOGS?
Oh, I have one of each. I won’t choose one or the other will be angry.
LEFT OR RIGHT?
Left! Far, far left!
COFFEE OR TEA?
Coffee—I have to say that as my son owns a coffee shop in Parkdale.
1) WHO ARE YOU, HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I am Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, Member of Provincial Parliament for Parkdale – High Park—but you can just call me Cheri.
I’ve run the gamut to get here—I started out as a child performer, I was a street kid for a while sleeping on the lawn of Queen’s Park, I was an activist, demonstrating in the first ever Pride Parade, I was a business owner, and I was a church Minister. I was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in a by-election in 2006. Last year it was an absolute honour to celebrate my tenth anniversary as your MPP.
2) HIGHLIGHT YOUR CAREER (STANDOUTS/HURDLES)
A big highlight has really spanned the last 10 years: I have passed more Private Member’s Bills than any other MPP in Ontario’s record, and have passed more pro-LGBTQ legislation than anyone in Canadian history. I couldn’t have done it without the support of Parkdale-High Park residents. Together we raised the minimum wage to $10, through which over a million Ontarians saw their income increase by 28% over three years. We succeeded in getting Toby’s Act passed, an amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression–the first of its kind in North America. We made history again by banning “Conversion Therapy” for youth (therapy intended to prevent young people from identifying as LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual or queer]) and by championing parental equality for LGBTQ parents.
What is a huge highlight is how much people in our community really care about each other. It’s reinforced every day, every year. It inspires me.
3) WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW? GOOD, NOT HAPPY?
Oh, I have lots on the go, of course. There’s loads of work still to be done. This year my team and I will continue to push for social, economic and environmental justice. I’m focusing on a few specific things, like bringing local democratic planning to our city by removing Toronto from the jurisdiction of the Ontario Municipal Board; continuing the fight to repeal breed specific legislation and the Safe Streets Act; and, proclaiming Trans Day of Remembrance in Ontario.
4) TELL US A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF
Oh! My guilty pleasure is watching reality TV. It’s so terrible but so great.
5) WHO DO YOU SHARE YOUR LIFE WITH (FAMILY/AFFILIATIONS)
I share my life with my husband, my children, my dog and my cat. I also share my life with my friends, my community, my constituents, and God. It’s a good life.
6) HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY LOVE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE?
I like to keep busy—I’m always doing a million things—but I try, and my family reminds me to, take some time here and there to breathe, take it all in. Yoga has been helpful with that. Traveling also helps, even if it’s somewhere nearby, as long as I’m surrounded by family and friends. But most of the time, I’m focused on social justice and making the world a better place for those who need an advocate.
7) WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS?
Mainly, I want to keep making a difference. My goal as your MPP is, as always, that I want to make sure I am communicating directly with the community, so I am always up to date on what it is that matters to you. I’ve made sure to have as many lines of communication open as possible, from phone to e-mail to social media. I want to keep hearing from the people of Parkdale – High Park. I want to keep making the changes that need to be made.
8) WHAT DOES THE WORD COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU?
Community, to me, means ongoing support of each other. A respect and appreciation for our diversity, and how our differences and similarities are an important and beautiful part of our community as a whole. We take care of each other.
9) HOW DID YOU COME TO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD?
I’ve lived in Parkdale for over 20 years. I came to Parkdale when I was hired as Minister at the church now known as Roncesvalles United.
I love the diversity and character of my neighbourhood; the older buildings and the refurbished ones. I love shopping local; Roncesvalles and West Queen West are so vibrant and interesting and fun. You can’t get a better meal, gift or haircut than you can in our neighborhood. It doesn’t get any better than this.
10) WHO INSPIRES YOU?
- I have to say it again – my community. Local business owners who put their heart and soul into their work.
- Young women, who are our future leaders, in my “Girls Government” initiative who already have such a passion for bettering the world at such a young age.
- Newcomers who left the country of their birth and are making new lives here as our neighbours and friends.
- People living with disadvantages that come to me and advocate for a better society.
- Activists, who volunteer their time for charities and causes that matter to them. There is so much good in the world.