After a string of emotional stories and anecdotes about her life, city council unanimously passed a motion to rename the Greenboro Community Centre in honour of Diane Deans.

Deans, who served as councillor for the Gloucester-Southgate ward for 28 years, died on May 14 after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer and almost two weeks after announcing she’d entered palliative care. 

In a statement announcing her death, her daughter Megan McGovern said: “My mom was my role model but also a role model for so many other girls and women, demonstrating that no dream is beyond reach.”

In her career as a municipal politician, Deans chaired many committees and boards. She was the first woman to serve as chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, in one of its most tumultuous times during the Convoy Occupation of downtown Ottawa.

In fact, Deans was removed from the police board in one of city council’s most emotional meetings following the resignation of then Ottawa Police chief Peter Sloly. Deans had hired an an interim police chief from outside the city without a competition and without telling council.

Council observed a moment of silence and contemplation for Deans on Wednesday before moving forward with the regular council meeting. 

Coun. Jessica Bradley of Gloucester-Southgate introduced the motion to rename the Greenboro centre to the Diane Deans Community Centre, and that a stand and plaque be installed displaying the name and including a brief history of her many contributions. 

“The news of Diane’s passing was a devastating blow for me, for the residents of Gloucester-Southgate ward, and for the city,” said Bradley, who at one time worked in Deans’ office at City Hall. Renaming the community centre will remind residents of the city of a woman who made a difference, Bradley told council.

“We’ve lost a good friend, mentor and champion, for a number of social issues, but Diane was simply a very good person,” said River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington.