Wards 5 and 6, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, were both interesting races in the 2014 municipal election, but for different reasons. In Ward 5, there was no incumbent city councillor seeking re-election. Peter Milczyn, the long-time councillor for the area, was elected as the area’s MPP in the June 2014 provincial election. James Maloney was appointed as a caretaker councillor to serve Ward 5 until one was elected in the October election; Maloney promised that he wouldn’t stand for election in 2014.
Meanwhile, in Ward 6, Russ Ford and Tony Vella were both serious challengers to incumbent Mark Grimes. In the 2010-2014 term, Grimes was a conservative councillor that rarely made a mark. Grimes voted with Ford on most of the important decisions at council meetings. Despite not having much power, Rob Ford gave him the nickname, “the midnight mayor” and seems to have been one of the Ford Brothers’ closest friends on council.
In the mayoral race, John Tory came in first in both wards. He took 51.2% of the vote in Ward 5 and was selected by 41.1% of the electorate in Ward 6. Doug Ford came in second place in both polls, taking 32.3% of the vote in Ward 5, and a much closer 37.4% in Ward 6; Olivia Chow came in a distant third place, winning only one poll, in Ward 6.
Despite the Toronto Star calling Ward 5 one of “15 races to watch,” it wasn’t. Local businessman Justin Di Ciano won 54.1% of the vote and all but two polls. I didn’t count Poll 040 as only two votes for councillor were cast; Poll 030, a Ukrainian seniors’ home, chose fourth-place candidate Walter Melnyk. In 2010, Di Ciano ran against Peter Milczyn, losing to the incumbent by only 109 votes. Clearly, Di Ciano had the name recognition and organization to succeed in 2014.
Poll results of the council race in Ward 5
Ward 6 was a little bit more interesting. Russ Ford, the executive director of the LAMP Community Health Centre, (a local health, recreational and social service agency and a former city staffer) made his first run for council. (He is not related to Rob or Doug Ford, or for that matter, former Long Branch reeve Len Ford, whom a waterfront park there is named for). Russ Ford ran a strong campaign on a progressive platform, winning the endorsement of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, NOW Magazine, and the Toronto Star.
Unfortunately, Russ Ford lost to Mark Grimes, 43.6% to 34.1%, a difference of just over 1500 votes. Tony Vella, a former spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, also put his name forward as a candidate. Despite his local ties and name recognition, he was only able to get 10.5% of the vote.
After my first tweets in November sharing early drafts of these maps, Russ Ford replied and shared some interesting information. He claimed that John Tory’s campaign was robo-calling residents in order to support Grimes by the end of the campaign. Tory and Grimes won Ward 6, both doing very well in the new condominium neighbourhood of Humber Bay Shores. Grimes also did well in the Alderwood neighbourhood, which also supported Doug Ford in the mayoral race.
Russ Ford won some polls in New Toronto and Mimico; he did best in Polls 042 and 045, the same polls where Doug Ford won by the highest margin. In fact, every poll that Doug Ford won by at least a 30% margin, Russ Ford also came in first place. Russ Ford insisted that this was no mistake; that the same voters who were motivated to vote for Rob or Doug Ford were supportive of Russ Ford and his commitment to the community.