10/23/2014 12:55 EDT

Brian Bowman Elected Winnipeg's First Aboriginal Mayor


Brian Bowman will be sworn in as Winnipeg’s new mayor next month, becoming the first person of aboriginal descent to hold the position in the city’s 140-year history.

“Winnipeg wanted positive change and today they voted for it,” Bowman said during his victory speech on Wednesday evening.

The Metis University of Toronto-educated privacy lawyer will replace outgoing mayor Sam Katz, who has held the position for the past ten years.

Bowman touched on the violence in Ottawa earlier in the day, where a gunman shot and killed a Canadian honour guard Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he stood watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The suspected shooter was later shot dead after making his way inside the Parliament buildings.

“The horrifying and the senseless death reminds us of the importance of this fundamental right that we were able to exercise today in our great country of Canada,” he said, adding, “We should be mindful of these tragic events as we celebrate a day of democracy.”

Pegged as an underdog since he announced his bid in May, Bowman’s fortunes shifted earlier this week when a poll suggested a tie with his rival, former NDP politician Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

Bowman won with 47.54 per cent of the vote.

The city is home to the country’s largest aboriginal population, according to data collected from the National Household Survey.

Winnipeg wasn’t the only major municipality in Manitoba to pick a new leader. Brandon elected local political veteran Rick Chrest for the city’s top job Wednesday.

Chrest beat incumbent Shari Decter Hirst by 4,836 votes.

With files from The Canadian Press


Photo gallery Canadian Politicians' Uncanny Lookalikes See Gallery