Ward 17 Davenport was the first set of ward-level election results maps I posted to Twitter. With a resurrected rivalry between a right-leaning incumbent and a left-leaning challenger, Ward 17 was one of the closest council races in 2014; indeed, it was one that several news outlets declared ‘one to watch’ (even if most political observers were focused on the mayoral race). Unfortunately, change did not come to this part of Toronto. (As it turns out, only one incumbent councillor seeking re-election, John Parker in Ward 26, lost his seat.)
Ward 17 is relatively compact as far as Toronto’s wards go. It is bounded by the Canadian Pacific Railway to the south and Eglinton Avenue to the north, it extends east to Oakwood and St. Clair, and bounded by more railways to the west. It where the old City of Toronto meets the former City of York; it’s a transitional area where the pre-war inner city meets the inner-ring suburbs. Ward 17 has been represented by right-leaning councillor Cesar Palacio since 2000, though it has been contested by candidates in every election since.
I’ll start off by admitting my personal bias. While the maps that I produce are completely objective (they only show which candidate placed first in each poll and by what margin), I am not afraid to acknowledge my left-leaning political views. I found myself disappointed by how Ward 17 voted. The incumbent, Cesar Palacio, was one of Mayor Rob Ford’s most loyal councillors. He voted with the mayor over 70 percent of the time in 2011, 2012, and 2013 and failed to make much of an impression over his fourteen years in office. On the other hand, hard-working Alejandra Bravo promised to be a more responsive representative for the community; she’s in tune with local issues such as transit, local infrastructure, and high unemployment. Torontoist’s endorsement of Bravo published on October 16 expresses these thoughts much more eloquently than I can.
Interestingly, Ward 17 is one of only two polls in which the newly elected mayor, John Tory, came in third place (the other was Ward 8, which I will discuss later). Doug Ford came in first place, with 40.6% of all votes cast for mayor, while Olivia Chow came in second with 31.6%. John Tory came in third, at 24.6%. Chow and Tory were able to place first in several polls south of St. Clair Avenue and east of Dufferin Street, but polls in the northwest quadrant of the ward came out (relatively strongly) in favour of Doug Ford.
Similar trends can be seen in the map above, that illustrates the results of the councillor race. Alejandra Bravo again ran a strong campaign, but lost to Cesar Palacio for the third time (Bravo ran against Palacio in 2003 and again in 2006; Jonah Schein ran in 2010). With one exception (Poll 016), every poll that voted for Chow or Tory for mayor voted for Bravo. She also won Poll 20, which voted, albeit by a low margin, for Ford. None of the other council candidates came first in any poll.
For this post, I crunched the results and created similar maps showing the results of the 2010 election in Ward 17. Interestingly, the 2010 maps look almost the same if one substitutes Bravo for Schein in the bid for city council and Chow for Smitherman in the mayoral race. In 2010, Rob Ford won 41.7% of the mayoral votes, compared to 30.6% for runner up George Smitherman. Palacio took 46.2% of the vote in 2014; he won 42.8% of the vote in a more crowded field in 2010.
Voter turnout was higher in 2014 (52.3% in 2014 vs. 45.1% in 2010), and voters in advance polls voted differently, but Ford (be it Rob or Doug) and Palacio won by similar percentages in both elections. I am hopeful things might finally change in 2018.
2010 council race results in Ward 17