Sam Sullivan has been elected twice as Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the riding of Vancouver False Creek. He served as Minister of Communities, Sport and Cultural Development with responsibility for Translink. Prior to that, Sam served as Mayor of Vancouver from 2005-2008. He served as a Vancouver City Councillor from 1993 to 2002. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, Founder of Global Civic Policy Society and Founder of Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation.
Sam is the founder of the Global Civic Policy Society. The Society holds Public Salons at which presenters speak on a broad range of topics. The Society also initiated the Greeting Fluency program which had a smart phone app that served as a resource for greetings in 20 different languages. The goal of the Society is to encourage a more knowledgeable and cosmopolitan citizenry with a strong connection to their community. The Society runs Transcribimus, a network of volunteers that is transcribing documents of early Vancouver from the 1800s. It is also trying to revive the aboriginal trade language Chinook Wawa.
Sam currently acts as an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He organized the 2012 Vancouver Urban Forum which featured 23 urban thinkers from around North America.
Sam has received many honours and awards for his contributions to the community and for his work to improve the quality of life for people with significant disabilities. These include: Board Member of the Rick Hansen Institute, Honourary Member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Christopher and Dana Reeve’s Award, the Terry Fox Award, Board member of the Canadian Club of Vancouver, Honourary Major in the BC Regiment, the Paul Harris Rotary Award and the Peter F. Drucker Award for Innovation.
The Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation was founded by Sam to improve the quality of life for people with significant disabilities. To date it has raised $20 million and served 10,000 people with disabilities throughout Canada and beyond. It consists of six nonprofit organizations: the Disabled Sailing Association, Tetra Society, ConnecTra Society, Vancouver Adapted Music Society, BC Mobility Opportunity Society and the Disabled Independent Gardeners Association. Sam has made significant contributions to the disabled community in making outdoor activities more accessible. Through his work with the Disabled Sailing Association, the Martin 16 Sailboat was created with 150 in use around the world. He also co-invented the TrailRider with engineer Paul Cermak to help disabled people access the wilderness. Disabled people have used it to go to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the base camp of Mount Everest.
As Mayor, Sam championed many policies. Among them was his EcoDensity Intiative which promoted the idea of urban densification and garnered the highest award from the Canadian Institute of Planners for City Planning in 2009.
He also tackled the tough issues of alternatives to drug prohibition, supportive housing and non-police alternatives to solving social problems. His Project Civil City and the appointment of a Civil City Commissioner reflected his belief that social problems needed to be solved using a different approach. In 2010 he was the only non-medical doctor in the country, and the only Mayor in history to be made an Honourary Member of the 22,000 member College of Family Physicians of Canada for his efforts on behalf of “inner-city marginalized populations”.
During his time as Mayor, over 2000 units of social housing were initiated, the largest number in 40 years. His term also witnessed the largest drop in property crime in 50 years; the initiation of almost 100 km of bicycle routes, the largest building boom in history as measured by Building Permits issued and the largest expansion of the taxi fleet. As Mayor he helped found and recruit board members for the Street to Home Foundation and the Inner Change Society.
As Mayor, Sam was recognized for his efforts to prepare the city for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and was appointed Canadian Paralympic Ambassador by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Sam Sullivan has a long history of involvement in improving Vancouver. He was a member of the steering committee that built the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, played a key role in the development of the Canada Line, improvements to the False Creek ferry docks, expansion of the seawalls, reduction in unauthorized moorage, the zoning and development of Coal Harbour, Yaletown, International Village, Concord Pacific and the Olympic Village, the development of the Andy Livingston, Cooper’s and Emory Barnes Parks. He played a role in facilitating the development of the new Convention Center and the new roof for BC Place.
Sam speaks rudimentary French, Cantonese and the aboriginal trade language Chinook. Sam and his partner Lynn have lived in the Riding of Vancouver False Creek for 17 years with their dog Joséphine.