In the penultimate post in my series examining the results of the 25 council races in the October 2018 municipal election here in Toronto, I take a look at the results in Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park and Ward 9, Davenport in Toronto’s west end.
Neither of the two ward-level results were surprising. Ward 4 returned progressive councillor Gord Perks to City Hall, while in Ward 9, there wasn’t much of a contest: centrist Ana Bailão was easily re-elected.
At the start of 2018, once the 47 ward boundaries were confirmed, it looked as though Bailão was going to be in one of the most interesting council races. The west end of the old City of Toronto — old Wards 14, 17, and 18 — had low population growth compared to many other parts of the city, including northeast Scarborough, North York Centre, Humber Bay Shores, and Downtown. These new ward boundaries were designed to improve representation as the old 44 wards were based on federal ridings drawn in the 1990s. Even with three new wards, the west end would lose a seat on council. The way the boundaries were drawn, it meant that Bailão, elected in Ward 18, would be up against Cesar Palacio, elected in Ward 17.
Differences in 2018 ward populations under the old 44-ward model. Toronto’s west end was one of several areas over-represented by the outdated boundaries.
Under the 47-ward model, it would have been the only race in which two incumbents would have ran against one another and Bailão would have had the advantage.
Palacio, a conservative, was vulnerable in the last few elections, challenged by progressive candidates Alejandra Bravo and Jonah Schein, with Palacio narrowly winning in 2010. With the new boundaries extending south to Bloor Street (the area south of Bloor shifting to join old Ward 14 represented by Gord Perks), Palacio’s base in the north half of his old ward would not have been enough — areas that voted for Bravo in 2014 would have certainly voted for Bailão in a two-candidate race.
After Bill 5 was introduced and confirmed into law, things changed. Sarah Doucette, a progressive councillor representing old Ward 13 (Swansea, Bloor West Village and part of the Junction) withdrew from the race when her ward was joined with Ward 14 (Parkdale and Roncesvalles).
Doucette, who was first elected in 2010, said that she wasn’t interested in serving on a 25 ward council. A councillor well-known for her local community activism, Doucette would have represented a much larger area, and would have run against Gord Perks, someone she describes as a friend. For his part, Perks said that “Doucette deeply embodied the values of decency and community at city council. It’s a crime that we’re losing her.”
Meanwhile, Perks, who was running, still had several opponents in the new larger ward. They included David Ginsberg, owner of several restaurants and a coffee shop near Trinity-Bellwoods Park; Kalsang Dolma, a Parkdale-based artist and community activist; and Evan Tummillo, a property manager who ran against Doucette in 2014. Tummillo was endorsed by the Toronto Sun, while the Toronto Star endorsed Perks.
In neighbouring Ward 9, Cesar Palacio quietly dropped out of the race in late September, only a few days before the new post-Bill 5 nomination deadline. This was a surprise, as he and Bailão had known that they would run against each other for a very long time. Only four other candidates had registered, none of whom enjoyed wide name recognition. Had Palacio withdrawn earlier, it is possible that a progressive candidate would have taken a shot at running against centrist Bailão.
In Ward 4, Perks easily won re-election, taking 44.5 percent of the vote and placing first in all but five polls. Ginsberg placed a respectable second, with 21.6 percent. Ginsberg did best in the affluent Baby Point neighbourhood in former Ward 13, while Dolma did quite well in a few Parkdale polls, placing first in one. Tummillo got just 6.2 percent of the vote, coming first in just one poll, a seniors’ residence on Roncesvalles Avenue.
Poll-level results for Ward 4
Meanwhile, in Ward 9, Ana Bailão got the highest winning margin of any council candidate, taking 83.6 percent of the vote. As the councillor in the old City of Toronto most allied with Mayor John Tory, Bailão has since been named to the executive committee and chair of the new planning and housing committee. Perks, on the other hand, was shut out of Tory’s inner circle.
Bill 5 meant losing councillors that knew their wards intimately. While councillors will be able to hire more staff to help manage these local issues, it’s still an unfortunate loss of local representation.
|Ward 4 Parkdale-High Park|
|Ward 9 Davenport|