Meet your Councillors


Leanne Caron




Leanne has a long history of community involvement and political engagement related to neighbourhood and urban planning, heritage, environment, education, river systems, water protection, and arts and culture.   Leanne was first elected to office as a School Board Trustee of the Upper Grand District School Board (2003-2006) where she was actively involved in several school boundary reviews, and realized that growth and urban planning were key to successful city building.   

First elected to City Council in 2006, she has proudly served the residents of Ward 5 on Guelph City Council for the past twelve years.  During this time, she has also worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including 15 years as a student affairs manager at McMaster University, five years as director of communications and marketing with 4-H Ontario, and as a professional writer, photographer and publisher.  She currently works at the University of Guelph in Admissions and Marketing.

Leanne graduated from McMaster University with an Honours BA in History and English, and an MA (Leadership) from the University of Guelph.  She is the proud mom of four children and in her "spare" time, she is busy restoring a stone house with her husband Arni Mikelsons, and cheering for the Raptors.

Here are just a few of the organizations where she has played an active leadership role:

 Community Organizations

  • Chair, Heritage Guelph
  • Chair, John McCrae Parent Council, College Avenue Parent Council and Centennial CVI Parent Council
  • Member, SmartGuelph Steering Committee
  • Vice-President, Old University Neighbourhood Residents Association
  • Founding member, Glass Guild of Guelph
  • Board member, Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (Ontario),
  • Board member, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario
  • Board member, Guelph Historical Society
  • Board member, Career Education Council

Council Committees

  • Chair, Corporate Services
  • Past Chair, Planning, Building and Engineering and Environment Committee
  • Past Chair, Land Ambulance and Social Services Committee
  • Operations, Transit and Emergency Services,
  • Infrastruture, Developmen and Environment Committee
  • Governance Committee

Boards as Council Representative: 

  • Guelph Public Library Board
  • Art Gallery of Guelph Board
  • Downtown Guelph Business Association
  • Guelph Junction Railway Board
  • Guelph Police Services Board
  • Macdonald Stewart Art Centre Board
  • Chair, Heritage Guelph
  • Family and Children’s Services Board


Cathy Downer



Grassroots community work is what originally inspired Cathy to become involved in local politics and it is what continues to inspire her to continue to serve the residents of Ward 5 on Guelph City Council.

Cathy was first elected to City Council in 1994. Yes, a long time ago! She did not run for re-election in 2006 but continued to stay active in the community for the next 8 years volunteering and serving on community boards. She was elected again in 2014 and continues to serve as a Ward 5 Councillor. Cathy is a Board Member on the Association Municipalities of Ontario.

Cathy has an Advanced Mediation and Conflict Management Certificate from the University of Waterloo – Conrad Grebel Peace and Conflict Studies. She also holds a Chartered Mediator designation from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario/Canada and works in private practice as a Conflict Management Specialist.

In 2007, Cathy received the Guelph YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Public Service. She is a long time resident of Ward 5 where she raised three children with her husband, Bob.  

Community Organizations

  • Guelph Youth Music Centre – Board Member
  • John Howard Society- Restorative Justice Mediator
  • Community Justice Initiative – Volunteer Mediator and Coach
  • Guelph Community Health Centre – Board Member
  • Suzuki String School of Guelph – Board Member – Treasurer
  • Guelph Planning Advisory Committee – Board Member
  • Old University Residents Association – Board Member

Council Committees

  • Planning, Engineering and Environment – Chair
  • Public Works – Chair
  • Finance and Administration
  • City Administration Centre and Courthouse Redevelopment Committee – Chair
  • Loretto Convent Task Force

Boards as Council Representative

  • Town and Gown Committee
  • University of Guelph’s Homecoming Committee
  • Downtown Guelph Business Association
  • Heritage Guelph
  • G & W Family and Children’s Services – President, 2000 -2006
  • Kindle Communities – founding Board member
  • Guelph Non Profit Housing