28 Mayor of Vancouver Sam Sullivan

The Sullivan family were tenant farmers in Ulster. They lived in County Armagh in the Parish of Tartaraghan in the town of Cloncore which is not so much a town as a collection of small farms. Sam Sullivan’s great grandparents, Thomas Sullivan and Charlotte (Sinnamond) Sullivan started their family in Cloncore where the first two children were born. They moved to Glasgow, Scotland, where Thomas worked as a laborer in the Dawsholm Gas Works.

Sam Sullivan’s grandfather, Samuel Cinnamond Sullivan, was the third child and was born in Glasgow. He came to Vancouver as a young man, joined the Duke of Connaught’s Own, the 158th (Overseas) Battalion and was wounded. He played in the Battalion Football Team. He worked as a baker in Vancouver. Sam Sullivan was born in Vancouver on November 13, 1959, the second of five children. He graduated from Vancouver Technical School and suffered a severe skiing accident at 19 years of age which left him a quadriplegic.

Sam Sullivan served from 2005 to 2008 as the 38th Mayor of Vancouver. He was a Vancouver City Councillor from 1993 to 2005.

He is a recipient of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian award, on account of his work on behalf of people with disabilities.

He founded four national disability groups that have provided services to 10,000 people with significant disabilities and raised $20 million under the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation. Sullivan became a quadriplegic as a result of a skiing accident when he was 19 years of age.


In 2006 he accepted the Olympic flag in Torino on behalf of Vancouver and devoted considerable effort as Mayor to preparing the city for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

His EcoDensity Initiative won the 2009 Canadian Planners Institute highest award for City Planning. In 2010 he became the only Mayor in history to be given an Honourary Membership in the College of Family Physicians of Canada for his “efforts on behalf of marginalized inner-city populations”.

Sam Sullivan founded the Global Civic Policy Society to encourage healthier cities and a more knowledgeable citizenry. He also serves as Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.