Toronto Election: John Tory Returns for Second Term as Toronto’s Mayor

Toronto voters gave John Tory a strong mandate for a second term as Mayor. The result was unsurprising. Tory’s victory seemed all but confirmed in polling leading up to the election. He earned 63 per cent of the vote. His nearest competitor, former chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat, received 24 per cent.

Mayor Tory drew support from across the city, while Keesmaat’s was centered within Toronto’s old city limits.

Get a copy of StrategyCorp’s City of Toronto election map with links to detailed maps of each Ward in Toronto’s new 25 person City Council.

Tory’s platform focused on transit, infrastructure and affordable housing developments. With his re-election, the mayor’s mandate will pick up where it left off. His key policy planks were:

  • The Municipal Comprehensive Review for major transit station areas. His targeted completion date is Q3 2019.
  • A pledge to keep taxes at or below the inflation rate over the next four years. Tory also promised to secure funding from provincial and federal sources. He aims to expand existing infrastructure to tackle the city’s “capital backlog,” limiting the burden on property tax payers.
  • A housing platform, including an additional 40,000 affordable rental units built over 12 years. This plan was supplemented by an affordable housing secretariat – a group coordinating the city’s affordable housing development plans.
  • Doubling Toronto’s Culture Build Investment Fund to $660,000. Tory plans to find a new target for per-capita funding.

Understanding the new, smaller Council

Big change: Ontario’s Bill 5 reduced Council’s size from 47 to 25 members plus the mayor. Before votes were even cast, it was clear this election would bring more change to council since Toronto’s amalgamation in 1998.

Retirements and ward race results also changed Council’s make-up. New faces include Cynthia Lai, Mike Colle, Jennifer McKelvie, Brad Bradford and Shelley Carroll’s return to council.

A divided electorate and council? At first glance, Toronto’s new council appears split along geographic and political lines. The downtown core elected a left-of-centre bloc: Gord Perks, Mike Layton, Joe Cressy, Kristyn Wong-Tam and Paula Fletcher. Despite the downtown’s left coalition, Progress Toronto largely failed in its attempt to elect more left-of-centre councillors.  

Old boroughs Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough tended to elect councillors from the political center and right. Key leaders include Stephen Holyday, Frances Nunziata, James Pasternak, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Michael Thompson, Jaye Robinson, Paul Ainslie and Gary Crawford.

Overall, however, the Mayor will likely have a council where most agree with his broad strategic vision.

The first few months will show how Mayor Tory will manage these political splits. Known for his inclusive approach to governing, Mayor Tory may draw support from Council on a vote-by-vote basis, sometimes to key allies’ chagrin.

Selecting a new Executive Committee:  How the Mayor populates the Executive Committee and selects committee chairs – including the new Housing Committee’s – will give observers insight into new council coalition dynamics. Many old faces from the Executive Committee are gone.

Incumbents from the following committees either retired or were defeated:

  • Community Development and Recreation,
  • Economic Development,
  • Government Management,
  • Licensing and Standards,
  • Parks and Environment,
  • Planning and Growth Management,
  • Public Works and Infrastructure, and
  • TTC.

Structural Changes? Before dissolution, Mayor Tory’s hand-selected Executive Committee had 13 members. If it stays the same size, the committee would include just under half of Council. With fewer Councillors to populate committees, there may be pressure to reduce their overall number.

New dynamics? It is unclear if the streamlined Council delivers on the province’s promise for more efficient decision-making. Many observers are concerned larger wards will lead to increased work loads, particularly in wards with heavy development pressure. StrategyCorp speculates wards experiencing these challenges will see Councillors’ political assistants holding important (and influential) roles.

Notable Council Races:

Ward 1 Etobicoke North

  • Though Michael Ford only supported Tory on 64 per cent of his votes, Ford mostly supports Tory’s transit initiatives. He will likely play a key role in Tory’s administration.

Ward 4 Parkdale-High Park

  • Councillor Gord Perks was re-elected to Council. He is expected to serve as the unofficial leader of Council’s left-leaning bloc.

Ward 8 Eglinton Lawrence

  • Former MPP and cabinet minister Mike Colle returned to municipal politics after 23 years as an MPP. Colle is poised to take on the role of elder statesman at City Hall. He will likely be named to the Executive Committee.

Ward 9 Davenport

  • Councillor Ana Bailao was re-elected in Davenport. The Mayor’s Housing Advocate will likely resume the role and become the Housing Committee Chair. She is also poised to retain her Executive Committee seat.

Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York

  • Veteran councillor Joe Cressy was re-elected in Spadina-Fort York: a traditional NDP stronghold. A key downtown councillor and leader for Council’s left wing, Cressy believes in public participation in development processes. He also follows working group models for development applications. He advocated and championed transit initiatives like Bloor Street Bike Lanes, the King Street Pilot Project and expanded bike share use.

Ward 11 University-Rosedale

  • Mike Layton, touted as a future Mayoral candidate, was re-elected. He will remain a key and vocal member for Council’s left bloc. Layton supports inclusive consultations with residents and works with the community on working groups and public consultations. In Council, he introduced motions to ensure heritage buildings remain intact.

Ward 12 Toronto-St. Paul’s

  • In a hotly contested race between two incumbents, Josh Matlow defeated Joe Mihevc. Matlow opposed several developments in his ward. He supported Ontario’s Bill 139, allocating greater planning authority to municipalities. Matlow supports the Downtown Relief Line and LRT alternatives to the proposed Scarborough extension.

Ward 13 Toronto Centre

  • Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam defeated Former Deputy Premier George Smitherman. A strong supporter for heritage building protections, the councillor works closely with community groups to ensure any proposed developments compliment neighbourhoods. She requires affordable housing units to be part of developments.

Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth

  • Paula Fletcher returned to Council after defeating Mary Fragedakis. A strong left-leaning champion, she also supports the film and television industry. Her key achievements include expanding the city’s studio space and developing Toronto’s East Harbour.

Ward 15 Don Valley–West

  • Jaye Robinson defeated Jon Burnside in a close race. She is expected to return as a Committee Chair after her work as Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Chair.

Other notable races include:

  • Deputy Mayor Stephen Holyday defeated John Campbell in Ward 3.
  • Anthony Perruzza defeated Giorgio Mammoliti in Ward 7.
  • James Pasternak defeated Maria Augimeri in Ward 6.
  • Jim Karygiannis defeated Norm Kelly in Ward 22.
  • Gary Crawford defeated Michelle Berardinetti-Holland in Ward 20.
  • In Beaches-East York, political newcomer Brad Bradford defeated former MP Matthew Kellway.
  • Denzil Minnan-Wong beat former provincial Liberal cabinet minister David Caplan in Ward 16.
  • In Ward 17, Shelley Carroll returned to council.

The new Council will officially begin their terms on December 1, 2018. Over the next few weeks, staffing and Committee assignments will be arranged.

Click to download StrategyCorp’s City of Toronto election map with links to detailed maps of each Ward in Toronto’s new 25 person City Council.

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