Salmon, Beverley Noel

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Salmon, Beverley Noel

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  • Salmon, Bev
  • Salmon, Bell

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Beverley Noel Salmon, nurse, politician and prominent anti-racism and community activist, was the first Black female commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the first Black woman elected municipally in Toronto.

Salmon graduated as a registered nurse at Wellesley Hospital, Toronto in 1953 and obtained a public health nurse certificate in 1954 from the University of Toronto. After marrying Dr. Douglas Salmon (Canada’s first Black surgeon,hospital medical staff president, and Chief of General Surgery), Salmon worked in Detroit, Michigan until 1960 and left the nursing field.

In 1975, Salmon founded the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, a non-profit organization that works with the community, public, and private sectors to provide education programs and research to address racism in society. Salmon was also a member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. In 1985, Salmon entered municipal politics and encumbent Councillor Andrew Borins to become Councillor of Ward 8 in North York; then elected to Metro Toronto Council until her retirement in 1997. Her career also includes work with the Ontario Status of Women Council, the Toronto Board of Education, and Toronto Transit Commission board member (1989-1994) and vice-chair (1991-1994). In the 1990s, she co-founded the Black Educators Working Group with former school principal MacArthur Hunter to advocate for an inclusive curriculum, teacher training, and anti-racism policies.

Born as Beverley Bell on 25 December 1930, she is the daughter of Herbert McLean Bell Sr., who immigrated from Jamaica to enlist in the Canadian army during the First World War (he remained in Canada to own and operate an automotive repair business in Toronto for twenty-four years) and Violet Bryan, a fifth-generation Canadian of Scottish and Irish descent. Salmon’s younger brother, Dr. David Bell was Professor Emeritus and former dean of York University’s Faculties of Environmental Studies and Graduate Studies.

Her awards and achievements include the African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Politics (1995), Federation of Canadian Municipalities Roll of Honour recipient (1999), an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University (1999), the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), the Order of Ontario (2016), and the Order of Canada (2017). She passed away on 6 July 2023.


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2019/02/04 KCP. Created.
2019/07/19 KCP. Added VIAF.
2023/07/10 KCP. Added date of death.




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