About Dyanoosh

Dyanoosh is the face of Toronto:

A Jewish-Iranian Canadian woman whose family escaped Iran when she was 11-years-old, Dyanoosh embodies the spirit of contemporary Toronto, a world-class city that embraces civic engagement, diversity, and compassion.

A resident of Ward 16 (to be 14 or 8) for the last 13 years, this mother of two has volunteered at her children’s schools, Allenby Junior Public School and Associated Hebrew Day School.  Her older daughter started attending Glenview Senior Public School this year.

Dyanoosh has dedicated much of her life to helping others.

“Building inclusive communities where everyone is connected and where neighbours can thrive reflects an integral part of who I am.  It is my passion,” says Dyanoosh.

Dyanoosh wants to focus on responsible development that improves neighbourhoods.  This includes building an integrated, modern system of transit, bike lanes, and transportation measures that help all Torontonians get around in easier, healthier, and more environmentally friendly ways.  It also requires ensuring that Toronto has housing for all, and helping local residents with issues that affect our neighbhourhoods.

“Being available and engaged with residents is an integral part of a City Councillor’s job.  And I look forward to working with and helping the dedicated and passionate residents of our ward.”

Those who know Dyanoosh say that improving communities and people’s lives and working for more equitable societies is what Dyanoosh has been doing all her life.

Indeed, Dyanoosh’s professional career and her rich history of volunteerism are a testament to her dedication to community-building.  If you want to know what Dyanoosh will do as City Councillor, how she will collaborate with residents and other City Councillors, and how hard she will work for you and the city, you just need to look at her past contributions.

Dyanoosh is an accomplished professional with a long history of community-building, volunteerism, and political engagement: 

Dyanoosh is a lawyer, a professor, a writer, a non-profit leader and a social justice advocate, who has, since the age of 13, volunteered consistently with diverse groups and organizations, including,

  • Four years of volunteerism with seniors at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care;
  • Four years of volunteerism with the homeless and the indigent at Lawyers Feed the Hungry;
  • Three years of volunteerism with people with mental health and addiction issues at Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, serving on the Board of Directors as Chair of Governance;
  • Five years of volunteerism with Canadian citizens who work to create the political will to address poverty world-wide, serving on the Board of Directors of RESULTS-Canada as Chair of Governance and Vice-Chair;
  • Years of work with youth-at-risk, immigrants, and people with mental health issues;
  • Volunteer at her children’s schools: Allenby Junior Public School and Associated Hebrew Day School;
  • Volunteer internationally in Israel and in Zimbabwe;
  • Founder and Director of of All IN, an organization committed to building inclusive communities;
  • Member of the First Narayever Synagogue; the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Law Union of Ontario, and Eglinton Park Residents’ Association;
  • Trained in alternative dispute resolution, cross-cultural mediation, and victim-offender reconciliation
  • An active and engaged citizen, Dyanoosh has made submissions on housing, policing, and criminal justice issues before municipal, provincial, and federal government committees

What makes this community advocate, lawyer, and professor, run for office?

“My involvement in politics is an extension of who I am and what I have wanted to accomplish since childhood,” Dyanoosh says.  “As a member of Iran’s small and vulnerable Jewish community, I realized early in life the importance of building bridges and helping others.”

When an elementary school classmate proclaimed that she did not want to “sit next to that dirty Jew,” Dyanoosh reached out and built a friendship with that classmate, breaking down the barriers and prejudices that some of her friends carried.

Dyanoosh’s earliest memories are those of helping anyone around her who was distressed, and of trying to address injustice and inequality.  She was a peacemaker among her friends.  Even at a young age, she dreamt of one day helping children in war zones and bringing peace to Israel and its Arab neighbours.

In her first years in Canada, Dyanoosh faced many of the typical struggles of an immigrant whose family had left most of their belongings behind and was starting from scratch.  Despite that, she soon took on the role of listening to and comforting new friends and classmates.

She also quickly learned English, French, and Hebrew.  She began her volunteer work shortly after her arrival to Canada.  In addition to her volunteerism, Dyanoosh’s high school (Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto), university (U of T), and law school (McGill) activities often revolved around improving human relationships.  She organized events that brought together Jewish, Israeli, Arab, and Mediterranean students at U of T for cultural celebrations.  She participated in Jewish-Palestinian dialogues, and conducted programming between the Jewish Law Students’ and Black Law Students’ Associations at McGill.  She was one of the Editors and founders of Dmuyot (Images), a Jewish campus magazine.  “I love to use writing as a means of engaging the public and raising awareness, particularly on social justice, criminal justice, and city-building issues.”

Ward 16 has been home to Dyanoosh and her family for 13 years. She has deep connections in the community, has friends across all sections of the Ward, and has been an active member of the Eglinton Park Residents’ Association.

Dyanoosh believes that City Council has a responsibility to “move the city forward.”

“We need a more innovative, bold vision for Toronto: one that uses advancements and technology to build a vibrant, successful city AND one that is inclusive, supportive, and provides neighbourhoods where everyone fully belongs.  We need to move beyond the rhetoric that pits cars against bicycles, the environment against business, and that sacrifices long-term benefits and thriving communities for short-term gains. We need to identify our priorities and find ways of achieving our goals.”

Dyanoosh loves her neighbourhood, and on the rare occasion when she has a free afternoon, she loves to take her daughters to the city’s many beautiful parks and neighbourhoods.

Dyanoosh and her daughters, Sipora and Ramona, Rosh Hashanah, 2017
Dyanoosh and parents, Max and Flora, during her 2014 campaign
All IN community 2015 federal election event, with (then candidate) M.P. Marco Mendicino
All IN community 2015 federal election event, with (then candidate) Andrew Thomson