This weekend, let’s have a quick look at the 2014 election results in Wards 9 and 10, York Centre. Both wards are located north of Highway 401 in the former City of North York. Allen Road and Dufferin Street separate Ward 9 to the west and Ward 10 to the east. Ward 9 contains Downsview Park, and was my home from 2006 (when I moved from my parents’ house in Brampton) through 2011, when I sold a condo I owned there and moved closer downtown.
Fifty-nine percent of Ward 9’s residents were born outside of Canada. Many of Ward 9’s residents are long-established Italian-Canadian families, but they are joined by immigrants from Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The ward has a somewhat low average household income ($60,550 compared to the city-wide average of $87,038).
Doug Ford won Ward 9 by a huge margin. Ford took 61.9% of the vote and came first in every poll, while John Tory was preferred by only 19.0% of the electorate; Olivia Chow only got 14.5% of the vote.
Ward 10 is somewhat wealthier than Ward 9; it includes the affluent Armour Heights neighbourhood. Ward 10 has a large Jewish population, and it has hosts Russian-Canadian and Filipino-Canadian communities (the two largest immigrant populations in the ward). In Ward 10, John Tory came first with 46.7% of the votes (Ford got 36.7% and Chow 13.0%). Tory did best in Armour Heights, while Ford did best in areas with higher proportions of immigrants and lower incomes, especially in the high-rise residential towers at Bathurst and Steeles. The only major surprise is that despite charges of the Fords’ anti-Semitism, Doug Ford came in first in several polls located in Jewish seniors’ homes.
Ward 9 has been represented for many years by Maria Augimeri, a left-leaning councillor who has served longer in municipal politics than anyone else on Toronto City Council. She was first elected to North York City council in 1985, elected to Metro council in 1988, and served on Toronto city council since amalgamation.
In 2010, she was nearly defeated by challenger Gus Cusimano, who she faced again in 2014. Cusimano nearly defeated Augimeri in 2010 thanks to Rob Ford’s populist (and popular) run for mayor; Cusimano had Ford’s endorsement in that election. The 2008 Sunrise Propane explosion took place here; Augimeri told a hostile constituent, Tony Di Santo, to “shut up” after he crashed a city news conference after the explosion and heckled the councillor. (Di Santo was a prominent supporter of Cusimano’s election bids in 2010 and 2014.)
The first map shows how the city council election played out in 2010. Cusimano’s support was strongest in the Ancaster Heights area, closest to the explosion, but he did well in other areas of high home ownership. Augimeri won by only 89 votes; she did well in the advance polls and in the Keele-Sheppard and Jane-Sheppard areas.
Cusimano sought a judicial review of the 2010 election results and won, political observers were expecting a by-election to be called, but Augimeri won on appeal. In 2013, Cusimano pleaded guilty to breaking the Municipal Elections Act for improperly voting in the ward.
In 2014, Cusimano tried to unseat Augimeri again, even taking out suspicious billboards along Wilson Avenue, supposedly to promote his insurance firm, and failed. He managed to place first in only three polls and won 28.4% of the vote, compared to Augimeri’s 42.7%. Anthony Fernando came in a solid third place with 22.6% of the vote.
Interestingly. Ward 9 is one of a few wards that overwhelmingly voted Ford for mayor in 2010 and 2014, yet returned a left-leaning councillor. (Ward 33, represented by Shelley Carroll, is another instance of this occurring.)
Ward 10 is represented by James Pasternak, who was elected in 2010 in an open race; Mike Feldman, the of long-time councillor for the area retired that year. In 2014, Pasternak easily won re-election with 57.8% of the vote. Igor Toutchinski, Pasternak’s chief rival in 2010, placed a distant second place with only 16.1 percent of the vote and won no polls. Pasternak won every poll but one; an apartment residence near Steeles Avenue, selecting third-place David Epstein.