Meet your Councillors


Headshot Leanne Piper

Born in Winnipeg, I lived in various places in my early years while my father was in the RCAF.  Eventually, we settled on a piece of land just outside the Guelph city limits near Arkell.  Edinburgh and Stone was a "T" intersection and backhoes were digging the foundations of Stone Road Mall.  I was introduced to municipal politics at the kitchen table when my father was Chair of the Puslinch Planning Board.  Growth, gravel pits and water protection were big issues back then.  And still are today.  

I attended school in Guelph (Brock Road, College Ave and Centennial CVI) before moving to Hamilton to go to university.  Ten years later in 1992, when it came time to make a conscious decision about where to raise a family,  Guelph was the obvious place.  

Ward 5 became my home for the next 25 years. I quickly became involved in neighbourhood zoning issues which was the start of a long history of community involvement and political engagement related to heritage, environment, education, river systems, water protection, planning and zoning, arts and culture.   

In 2003, I was elected to the Upper Grand District School Board as a trustee.  I focused on advocacy for strong libraries, funding for music 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 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 that city that I love.

First elected in 2006, I have proudly served the residents of Ward 5 on Guelph City Council for the past twelve years.  During this time, I have 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.   I currently work (since 2011) at the University of Guelph in Admissions and Marketing.

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:


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



  • 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

I graduated from McMaster University with an Honours BA in History and English, and an MA (Leadership) from the University of Guelph.  

I am the proud mom of four children, raised in Ward 5 (two still living in the ward).   

In my "spare" time, I have been busy restoring a stone house with my fiance Arni Mikelsons, and cheering for the Raptors.


About Cathy 



CathyCathy was first elected as Councillor for Ward 5 in 1994. During her 12 years on Council, she worked on many committees and boards, including Planning, Works and Environment, Heritage Guelph, Family and Children’s Services, Loretto Convent Task Force and Guelph Non-Profit Housing. She was also chair of the City Hall/Courthouse Redevelopment Committee. After serving four consecutive terms, Cathy decided not to seek re-election in 2006.

Cathy continued to enjoy contributing to the wellbeing of the community. She was on the Boards of the Guelph Community Health Centre and the Guelph Youth Music Centre, where she is still involved in many of its activities. She is also a volunteer mediator with Community Justice Initiatives and the John Howard Society. Cathy was a member of the City’s Committee of Adjustment adjudicating minor variance and lot severance applications from 2012 to 2014.

Cathy was elected again to City Council in October of 2014.

Cathy has an Advanced Mediation and Conflict Management Certification 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 currently works in private practice as a mediator.

In addition Cathy was the provincially appointed Returning Officer with Elections Ontario for Guelph from January 2011 until December 2013. She continued to play a significant role in the organization of the recent 2014 Provincial Election in Guelph.

In 2007, Cathy received the Guelph YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Public Service.

Cathy is a long time resident of Ward 5 and has 3 cherished children, 2 adorable grandchildren, 2 friendly dogs, one mischievous cat and a charming husband, Bob.