- 1928 -
Jane Bigelow (1928 - ) was a politician and the mayor of London, Ontario from 1972 to 1978. She also served as controller on the city's Board of Control before and after her term as mayor.
She was born in Toronto in 1928 and educated at St. Clement's Girl's School and the University of Toronto where she completed a B.A. in Physical and Health Education in 1950. She trained as a teacher and taught in high schools in Ottawa, Hamilton and Edmonton.
After settling in London in 1965 with her husband and two children, she took courses at the University of Western Ontario towards a B.A. and began a master's program in urban studies. She participated in the founding of the Central London Association and the Urban League, a group that was designed to coordinate the efforts of local citizens' groups. She also became involved in the London Council of Women, serving on the committee which helped save the Broughdale Lands. Bigelow was active in local and provincial NDP organizations, serving as vice-president of the provincial party from 1968 to 1972. She organized several conventions for the party and was responsible for the Handbook for Municipal Politicians, published in 1968.
In 1969, she was elected to the Board of Control and when she was re-elected in 1971, she received the most votes out of all the controllers making her the deputy mayor. When mayor Fred Gosnell resigned for health reasons in February 1972 she took over as acting mayor. In March 1972, Bigelow was elected mayor by council and in 1973 she was elected mayor by the public in a general election. She was re-elected in 1974 and 1976 but was defeated in the 1978 election by Al Gleeson, an instructor at Fanshawe College.
As mayor, Jane Bigelow advocated for accessible day care, better public transit with special fares for senior citizens, neighbourhood improvement schemes, funding for the arts, more parks and better city planning. She was criticized for being uninterested in development. During her mayoralty, London received a triple A rating from two independent American organizations. In her last years of office, she became interested in financial planning and tax reform for municipalities. She was actively involved in several joint municipal-provincial organizations and represented London's interests at both higher levels of government. In 1974, she was invited with six other Canadian mayors to visit Israel and in 1976, she was a representative to the Habitat Conference and the Conference of Mayors held in Milan.
Some of the major issues during her term as mayor included the Talbot Square development, the London Regional Art gallery, the restoration of the Middlesex Court House and the possibility of siting a prison in London.
She was elected to the Board of Control in 1980 but did not run in 1982. She was later employed by Employment and Immigration Canada. She was honoured with several awards and recognitions for her public service.