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Arlene Perly Rae

Journalist, Author and Patron of the Arts

Arlene Perly Rae is a champion for children – their literacy, mental health, well-being at all ages as well as Aboriginal issues and women’s rights. She is married to fellow speaker Bob Rae, the 21st premier of Ontario and former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Defending Politics and Public Service Aboriginal Issues Women’s Issues Children and Mental Health Issues Aboriginal Issues

  • You are totally awesome...What a great, thoughtful and compassionate presentation with such values.

    - Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada

Summary Profile

An engaging speaker with a humourous, down-to-earth style, Arlene has a determined philosophy: “Difficult takes time – the impossible takes a little longer.” For 15 years, Arlene was a director of World Literacy of Canada. She co-ordinated the national Born to Read Project for Grade 1 to 3 students and also for many years, the Mr. Christie Book Awards. For eight years, Arlene wrote a column in the Toronto Star on children’s books. She has served on the Boards of, among others, the United Way, the Centre for Children at Risk, the Stratford Festival and the Campaign Against Child Poverty. She is the author of the Penguin Award Winning Everybody’s Favourites: Canadians Talk About Books That Changed Their Lives. Arlene co-chaired the YWCA Elm Centre Campaign, which raised $15 million for a 350 unit complex of permanent housing for women and Aboriginal families in downtown Toronto. She is a member of the Aboriginal Initiative Committee of the National Reading Campaign. To women’s groups, Arlene has addressed domestic violence, cyber bulling, and income equality, but she also inspires an audience with the opportunities and progressive work initiated and accomplished by women. She is an ardent defender of a life in politics and the importance of public service. Arlene wrote two adaptations for the Royal Conservatory of Music to introduce children to the orchestra. Arlene is a director of Sistema Toronto – an innovative after school music and social service program. Arlene has her MA from the University of Toronto, Centre for the Study of Drama. She and Bob are proud parents of three daughters.