Toronto city councillor Jaye Robinson dies at age 61

Toronto city councillor Jaye Robinson has died at the age of 61. Robinson, who represented Ward 15 – Don Valley West for 14 years, was diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer in 2019 forcing her into a part-time role.

Toronto city councillor Jaye Robinson has died.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Councillor Jaye Robinson passed away last night in the presence of her family,” her office confirmed in a post on X on Friday.

No immediate cause of death was given. She was 61.

Robinson was diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer in 2019 forcing her into a part-time role. She resumed her council duties in November 2020 after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Robinson represented Ward 15 – Don Valley West for 14 years, holding several key leadership positions at City Hall during that time including TTC Chair and Chair of the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee. Before running for councillor, she served as the city’s director of special events, becoming the driving force behind programs like Summerlicious, Winterlicious and Nuit Blanche.

“She was deeply dedicated to the residents of Ward 15, a strong voice on City Council, and a beloved mentor to her team. We are honoured to have had the opportunity to work with her,” read the statement.

At the time of her death, Robinson was the Mayoral Designate to the Toronto Hydro Board as well as serving as Vice-Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee and on the Board of Directors for the Art Gallery of Ontario and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She was also named to a special role leading preparation for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Toronto.

Her office says a celebration of life will be held in Jaye’s honour with details to be shared in the coming days.

Mayor Olivia Chow said flags at City Hall will be lowered to half staff in honour of Robinson and a book of condolences will be available for the public to sign at North York Civic Centre starting Saturday and at City Hall starting May 21.

“As council members and as a mayor, we miss her work. We miss her passion in serving her communities and her dedication to supporting the arts and culture of this city,” Chow said during an unreleated announcement Friday morning. “She’s done phenomenal work and she is just really loved.”

Budget chair Shelley Carroll, who represents the nearby riding of Don Valley North, joined with several other fellow councillors in expressing their condolences to the “sad news.”

“My condolences to her family and to her hardworking and loyal team,” wrote Carroll.

Councillor Josh Matlow expressed his “heartfelt condolences” on Robinson’s passing, adding “We will always be grateful for her service, and passion, for our city. I will miss her.”

Former Toronto mayor John Tory called Robinson a “principled representative who fought for the things she believed in and more importantly fought hard for the people she represented.”

“In the past few years she fought a determined fight against cancer, and did it with grace and determination,” said Tory. “She has been taken from us way too soon. It is never too late to say thank you for a life well lived and great public service career.”

Premier Doug Ford said in a social media post he was “devastated” to hear of Robinson’s passing.

“She was a dedicated public servant who I was fortunate to work with at city hall and who was devoted to the people she served in Don Valley West. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones as they grieve this terrible loss.”

Robinson leaves behind three sons.

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