Guelph is home.
Leanne standing

I know first hand what a great place Ward 5 is to raise a family, work, go to school and build community!  First elected under the name Leanne Piper, I have proudly served the residents of Ward 5 on Guelph City Council since 2006.  

I grew up near Arkell, moved away for university, and returned to Guelph to raise my family in Ward 5.  Prior to being elected to public office, I was involved in community advocacy and political engagement through my work, my neighbourhood association, school councils and numerous community organizations (see below).  I have spent decades as a strong champion for the  environment, education, sustainability, water protection, heritage, sound planning and zoning, arts and culture.   

In 2003, I was elected to the Upper Grand District School Board as a trustee.  In that role, I focused on advocacy for strong libraries, funding for music and arts education, neighbourhood-based schools, smaller class sizes, community-use space, anti-bullying programming, and adequate funding for enrichment programs, resources and support for at-risk students. 

My term of office as a trustee was also focused on city-wide boundary reviews that involved working with City Hall on planning new schools in growing subdivisions, while simultaneously protecting downtown schools from closure.  Through this experience, I knew that running for City Council was the next logical step towards protecting and growing the city that I love.

I believe in hard work and continuous improvement. I got my first job at 14 and haven't stopped since, including while attending school.   I graduated from McMaster University with an Honours BA in History and English, and an MA (Leadership) from the University of Guelph.  

I've worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including over 25 years as a student affairs manager at McMaster University and University of Guelph, five years as director of communications and marketing with 4-H Ontario, and as a professional writer, photographer and publisher.  I currently work at the University of Guelph in Admissions and Marketing.  

As a fellow resident first, and as your councillor second, I have been involved in many roles within the Guelph community, offering me a diverse opportunity to understand what makes Guelph tick.  Here are just a few of the organizations where I have played an active leadership role, past and present:

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

Boards: 

  • Downtown Guelph Business Association
  • Guelph Junction Railway
  • Guelph Police Services Board
  • Macdonald Stewart Art Centre Board
  • Heritage Guelph
  • Family and Children’s Services Board 

Additional Background Information

  • Proud daughter of an RCAF navigator/airline pilot and a Registered Nurse (operating room)  
  • I am the super-proud mom of four amazing children, and my angel-granddaugher Emilia, all raised in Ward 5
  • In my "spare" time, I have been busy restoring a stone house with my husband Arni Mikelsons, and cheering for the Raptors.

Arni and Leanne

I am very thankful to all of my family for their unwavering encouragement and support!