Mapping the council race in Ward 3 – Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Etobicoke-Lakeshore represents the southern third of Etobicoke, stretching from Dundas Street in the north to Lake Ontario in the south, encompassing the historic villages of Islington, Long Branch, New Toronto, and Mimico, as well as sprawling industrial areas and post-war subdivisions. It also includes the rapidly growing high-rise communities of Humber Bay Shores and Six Points.

In 2014, Etobicoke-Lakeshore elected two city councillors, veteran Mark Grimes in Ward 6, south of the Gardiner Expressway, and a new councilor, Justin Di Ciano, in the north half. The pair are friends and were close allies on council prior to the 2018 election.

For many years, Ward 5, located north of the Gardiner Expressway, was represented by Peter Milczyn. Milczyn, an architect by training, was a thoughtful centrist on Toronto City Council. In Spring 2014, Milczyn, a Liberal, was elected to the provincial legislature. James Maloney (elected as a Liberal MP in the 2015 federal election) was appointed by council as a caretaker representative until the Fall 2014 election, which was won by Justin Di Ciano.

Di Ciano, a real estate executive, won Ward 5 with 54.1 percent of of the vote in 2014 and placed first in all but two polls. Nobody knew it at the time, but the 2014 election was the start of Justin Di Ciano’s problems.

Meanwhile, in Ward 6, incumbent councillor Mark Grimes was re-elected in 2014 with 43.6 percent of the vote. Grimes was challenged by community leader Russ Ford (who got 34.1 percent of the vote) and former Toronto Police spokesperson Tony Vella (who got 10.5 percent of the vote). Russ Ford had a strong campaign, but Grimes’ incumbency, and John Tory’s late endorsement and robocalls, gave the sitting councillor the advantage.

During the last term of council, both Di Ciano and Grimes came under increasing scrutiny by the press and the Ontario Provincial Police. Both councillors backed a controversial residential development adjoining GO Transit’s Willowbrook yards and maintenance centre despite Metrolinx’s objections.

Under mayors Ford and Tory, Mark Grimes was the appointed chair of Exhibition Place, the board that controls the city-owned waterfront land where the Canadian National Exhibition is held. The CNE, a separate entity, is a tenant of Exhibition Place. Other important tenants include a hotel, two convention centres (Beanfield Centre and Enercare Centre), Medieval Times, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Three MLSE teams — the Toronto Argonauts, Toronto FC, and the Marlies play at Exhibition Place, while the Raptors (also a MLSE property) have their training centre on the lands. Exhibition Place is also the home of Muzik, a controversial nightclub supported by Grimes and fellow councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.

Workers represented by the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had been locked out by Exhibition Place for months. Last week, IATSE members, who provide technical and staging work for all Exhibition Place events and venues, agreed to a long-overdue contract from the city and are finally going back to work. The union had to take concessions, and claims the lockout was a “union-busting attempt.”

Councillor Di Ciano was found to have close ties to that development’s proponent, Dunpar Homes. Meanwhile, Councillor Grimes got into trouble for improperly promoting specific condominium developments in his ward, including the defunct “On the GO Condos” at Mimico Station.

Di Ciano also became notable as council’s most vocal opponent of ranked ballots, getting city council to vote against adopting them in future elections. Di Ciano also strongly opposed the new 47 ward boundaries, decided after years of planning and consultation; he became a major cheerleader for Doug Ford’s Bill 5.

In the end, though, Councillor Di Ciano decided not to run for re-election. His executive assistant, Mary Campbell, registered in Ward 5 instead. Also running in Ward 5 was Pamela Gough, a long-time local Toronto District School Board trustee. As a school trustee, Gough was especially concerned with traffic and road safety.

In Ward 6, challengers to Mark Grimes included Amber Morley and Iain Davis. Morley, like Russ Ford, worked at the LAMP Community Heath Centre and in Ward 4 Councillor John Campbell’s office. Iain Davis is the son of former TDSB chair Bruce Davis; he ran on a centre-right platform.

With the 25 wards confirmed, Grimes, Morley, Gough, and Davis re-registered in Ward 3. Mary Campbell withdrew her nomination, perhaps to avoid a vote split with Grimes.

The Toronto Star, Progress Toronto and the Toronto and District Labour Council backed Morley. Not only did Morley offer the most progressive platform, she also had the best chance of defeating Grimes. It would have been great to see another younger woman of colour elected to a council that is disproportionately white and male.

But yet again, Mayor Tory endorsed Grimes and robocalled on his behalf, citing Grimes’ “determination and experience”. It didn’t matter that Grimes was called out by Toronto’s integrity commissioner or that he was under OPP investigation. It was clear that Tory wanted Grimes back on council.


Poll-level map of the council race results for Ward 3Thanks partly to Tory’s support, Grimes won, with 40.9 percent of the vote. Morley came in second with 27.2 percent and Gough placed third, with 18.1 percent. Grimes placed first in both former Wards 5 and 6, though with a larger percentage of the vote in the old Ward 5, south of the Gardiner Expressway.

Morley did the best in the southern most part of Ward 3, south of the GO Transit railway in New Toronto and Mimico. She also did well in Humber Bay Shores and the Six Points area. Grimes did best in Alderwood and in polls in the exclusive Palace Pier condos at the mouth of the Humber River. Pamela Gough placed first in six polls, all near the Bloor Street and Royal York Road intersection.

On November 15, 2018, less than a month after the election, the OPP charged Di Ciano and Grimes with campaign finance violations. It is alleged that Grimes and Di Ciano benefited from research and polling work paid for by Dunpar during the 2014 election. If convicted, Di Ciano and Grimes could face a fine up to $25,000, and could also be forced from office or barred from running in future municipal elections.

What’s puzzling is why Tory endorsed Grimes, whose reputation was well known among City Hall watchers. Perhaps it had something to do with the Exhibition Place lockout. Or maybe Tory just wanted a reliable right-wing vote on a smaller council.

Meanwhile, I hope Amber Morley considers another run. She was a great candidate and was able to prove her determination. With name recognition from her first run, she has a strong chance to finally take out Mark Grimes in 2022.

Ward 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Candidate Total votes Percentage
Svitlana Burlakova 1218 3.0
Iain Davis 2722 6.7
Pamela Gough 7301 18.1
Mark Grimes 16527 40.9
Robert Gunnyon 167 0.4
Michael Julihen 320 0.8
Loomans Michael 199 0.5
Amber Morley 10985 27.2
Peggy Moulder 575 1.4
Patrizia Nigro 394 1.0
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Mapping the council race in Ward 12 – Toronto-St. Paul’s

As mentioned in my last post, Bill 5, introduced by Premier Doug Ford in the middle of Toronto’s municipal election campaign, had a silver lining: it finally rid Toronto City Council of its greatest embarrassment, Giorgio Mammoliti. Otherwise, though, it had terrible effects. It removed the opportunity for many new voices to get elected to City Council by reducing the number of seats from 47 to just 25. In Ward 12, voters had a very difficult decision to make, as Josh Matlow and Joe Mihevc found themselves running against each other. Previously, both councillors expected to cruise to victory; neither were facing any prominent challengers under the 47-ward model.

Joe Mihevc, allied with the New Democratic Party, is one of the best arguments against council term limits. Representing old Ward 21, Mihevc has been a very popular and effective community representative. Ward 21 includes wealthy neighbourhoods such as Cedarvale, Wychwood Park, and the west half of Forest Hill. It also includes more modest neighbourhoods north of St. Clair Avenue and west of Bathurst Street. Two of Mihevc’s signature accomplishments were championing the St. Clair Avenue streetcar right-of-way and the Wychwood Barns project, where a former TTC streetcar yard was transformed into a wonderful park, art space, and community hub.

Josh Matlow, a Liberal, was elected to City Council in 2010 in old Ward 22. Matlow’s ward includes much of Toronto’s midtown area, affluent neighbourhoods such as Deer Park, Rathnally, and the eastern half of Forest Hill, as well as highrise apartments near Yonge and Eglinton and along Davisville Avenue. Matlow started his first term as an idealistic centrist, but made his mark as a sharp and informed critic of Rob Ford and John Tory, especially the Scarborough Subway.

Both Mihevc and Matlow became well-known for their involvement in local and city-wide issues. Mihevc has been very active in public health and anti-poverty matters. While Matlow is well-known for pushing for smarter transit infrastructure, he was also busy managing growth in his ward, especially in the Yonge-Eglinton area. Both have been very active in their wards, working on community improvements which make it so unfortunate that only one of the two could be re-elected.

Though Joe Mihevc is well to the political left of John Tory, the mayor backed Mihevc. This wasn’t surprising given the amount of bad blood between Tory and Josh Matlow. The mayor robocalled for Mihevc, like he did for Brad Bradford in Ward 19, and Mark Grimes in Ward 3.

But the voters in new Ward 8 chose Josh Matlow by a comfortable margin. Matlow got 51.6 percent of the vote to Mihevc’s 42.1 percent. The other four candidates shared the remaining 6.3 percent of the vote. This was one council race the mayor couldn’t influence.


This result had more to do with geography than anything else. Both Mihevc and Matlow lost parts of their old wards due to the new boundaries — the part of Ward 22 east of Mount Pleasant Road moved to Ward 15, while the part of old Ward 21 north of Eglinton Avenue went to Ward 8. Mihevc was able to count on the support of 61 percent of the voters in former Ward 21, made up of 27 polls. Mihevc also came first in five of the six polls located in former Ward 15, west of Oakwood Avenue. Matlow placed first in only five of the 33 polls west of Oakwood Avenue, and tied with Mihevc in two.

But there were 39 polls in former Ward 22, Matlow’s turf, where he remained especially popular, getting 66.4 percent of the vote there, and placing first in every poll. The advance poll heavily favoured Matlow as well.

Doug Ford’s late-stage meddling made the 2018 election incredibly unfair, especially as candidates scrambled late to run in much larger wards. Matlow won because the new Ward 8 had a larger electorate from his old ward, rather than Mihevc’s. This wasn’t fair. But Bill 5 wasn’t meant to be fair.

But by sending Josh Matlow back to City Council, instead of a more conciliatory Joe Mihevc, John Tory won’t have such an easy time getting his agenda through.

Ward 12 Toronto-St. Paul’s
Candidate Total votes Percentage
Elizabeth Cook 908 2.3
Artur Langu 290 0.7
Ian Lipton 930 2.4
Josh Matlow 20371 51.6
Joe Mihevc 16634 42.1
Bob Murphy 342 0.9

Note: This post is revised from a previous version to better describe some of the community work done by city councillors. 

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Mapping the council race in Ward 7, Humber River-Black Creek

On October 22, 2018, Giorgio Mammoliti was finally removed from Toronto City Council. That was one of the few highlights in a demoralizing municipal election. When Premier Doug Ford reduced the size of council from 47 to 25 seats in the middle of the election campaign, he undermined local democracy and the city’s authority to conduct fair elections. Bill 5 shut out many great candidates, especially young and diverse voices. Despite a last-minute challenge from former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, John Tory cruised to an easy win for a second term as mayor.

The new larger wards saw many races where two incumbents ran against each other, including allies Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis in Toronto-Danforth, and Josh Matlow and Joe Mihevc in Toronto-St. Paul’s. Sometimes it meant choosing between two good representatives (or a promising challenger), but in Ward 7, it meant finally getting rid of City Hall’s greatest embarrassment.

Under the approved 47-ward model, there were four candidates in Ward 7, represented for many years by Giorgio Mammoliti. Nick Di Nizio, who came in second place in 2014, registered to run again in 2018. They were joined by two young candidates of colour: TDSB trustee Tiffany Ford, and Keegan Henry-Mathieu. Henry-Mathieu ran in 2014, placing sixth.

In nearby Ward 8 (both wards had similar boundaries to the old Wards 7 and 8), incumbent Anthony Perruzza was up against seven other candidates. The most prominent challenger was Deanna Sgro, daughter of Liberal MP Judy Sgro. Deanna Sgro ran for the provincial Liberals in the June election, but lost to the NDP’s Tom Rakocevic. Sgro also carried some baggage: she was reprimanded by the Law Society of Upper Canada for professional misconduct at her debt collection firm.

Wards 7 and 8 (and a small part of Ward 9, represented by Maria Augimeri) were combined under Bill 5 to create a new Ward 7, with the same boundaries as the provincial and federal riding of Humber River-Black Creek. The ward includes York University and Black Creek Pioneer Village, as well as the Jane-Finch neighbourhood and large industrial areas west of Highway 400.

With the new ward boundaries, Anthony Perruzza became the front-runner against Giorgio Mammoliti. Several candidates, including Di Nizio and Henry-Mathieu, withdrew from the race.

Perruzza won Ward 7 with the support of 36.8 percent of the electorate, and he got 2,711 more votes than Mammoliti, who came in second place with 24.8 percent. They were followed by Sgro, who got 19.9 percent of the vote, and Ford, with 14.1 percent. There were four other candidates, none of whom got more than two percent of the total vote.

2018 Election - W7

In the 22 election-day polls within the old Ward 7, Mammoliti’s old turf, he was still able to come in first place, taking 30.3 percent of the vote. Perruzza came in second place, with 28.8 percent, followed by Sgro with 24.3 percent, and Tiffany Ford at 13.1 percent. Despite Mammoliti’s notoriety, he still had the support of a plurality of his constituents.

Anthony Perruzza was able to win thanks to voters in his old Ward 8. Perruzza was the first choice in each of those 30 polls, and took 48.7 percent of the vote, followed by Ford with 19.9 percent. Mammoliti came in third, with 15.8 percent and Sgro with 14.0 percent.

Had Bill 5 not been introduced, there would have been a very good chance that Mammoliti would have been returned to Toronto City Council. If there was any good that came out of Doug Ford’s meddling, it was this.

Ward 7 Humber River-Black Creek
Candidate Total votes Percentage
Kristy-Ann Charles 147 0.6
Amanda Coombs 445 2.0
Tiffany Ford 3187 14.1
Winston La Rose 247 1.1
Giorgio Mammoliti 5625 24.8
Anthony Perruzza 8336 36.8
Deanna Sgro 4512 19.9
Thomas Kerry-Ann 153 0.7
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Mapping the council race in Ward 8, Eglinton-Lawrence

Ward 8, Eglinton-Lawrence, was one of only two Toronto city council races in which an incumbent councillor was defeated by a non-incumbent challenger (the other being Ward 25). In the 2018 municipal election, Mike Colle defeated Christin Carmichael Greb and eight other candidates. It wasn’t a surprising win, given the name recognition Mike Colle, and his son, Josh Colle, have in the ward, but the dynamics were interesting, if not a bit discouraging.

Ward 8, Eglinton-Lawrence, encompasses three former ward boundaries: the entirety of old Ward 16, represented by Councillor Carmichael Greb, most of old Ward 15, represented by centrist and TTC chair Josh Colle, and a small portion of old Ward 21, represented by Joe Mihevc.

In 2014, Carmichael Greb won with only 17.4 percent of the vote in old Ward 16, whose boundaries were between Yonge and Bathurst Streets, north to Highway 401 and south to Eglinton Avenue. In a race featuring 16 candidates, Carmichael Greb was helped by her conservative credentials (she is the daughter of former Conservative MP John Carmichael) and by John Tory’s endorsement and robocalls. She registered to run again in 2018, first under the approved 47-ward model, then in the new 25-ward model imposed by the province. Dyanoosh Youssefi, who came in third in 2014, also registered. Other challengers included Jennifer Arp, a TDSB trustee, and Beth Levy, a teacher and assistant to local Liberal MP Marco Mendicino.

With several strong challengers against her, it looked likely that Councillor Carmichael Greb, who didn’t have a reputation as a responsive or hard-working representative, would be re-elected in the new 47-ward model.

Josh Colle was also seeking re-election under the 47-ward model in the new Ward 13, which extended west from Bathurst Street west to the GO Transit Barrie Line. In 2014, Colle won re-election with 75.2 percent of the vote. In 2018, Colle’s most prominent challenger in Ward 13 was going to be Rocco Achampong. Achampong, a Conservative and a respected lawyer, ran for mayor in 2010.

But just two days before nominations were set to close, on Wednesday, July 25, Josh Colle suddenly announced that he was retiring from municipal politics, instead looking to work in the private sector. His father, 73-year old Mike Colle, would run instead. The elder Colle was Liberal MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence from 1995 through 2018, when he was defeated by the Ontario PCs. Before 1995, Colle was a North York and Metro councillor. The sudden, last minute father-son swap was a surprising and a rather cynical move. But that wasn’t the only shock that week.

On Friday July 27, the same day as deadline for council nominations, the provincial government announced Bill 5, reducing the number of Toronto city councillors from the approved 47 to just 25. Achampong was one of the first to challenge Bill 5 in court, but unfortunately, he and the other applicants were not successful. Achampong and six other candidates who signed up under the 47-ward council chose not to run in the new Ward 8 and withdrew their nominations.

Poll-level results of the municipal election for Ward 8

Unsurprisingly, Mike Colle won, with 41.3 percent of the vote. He had the advantage of name recognition as the former MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence, as well as his son’s record as councillor for the western half of the new ward. Christin Carmichael Greb ran into controversy during the final days of the campaign, declaring herself the “John Tory candidate” despite not netting an endorsement in 2018. Despite coming in a distant second, she increased her vote share from 2014, netting 21.7 percent of all ballots cast in Ward 8.

Had the 47-ward model prevailed, it’s quite likely Carmichael Greb would have won despite her unimpressive first term. Incumbency and name recognition form a huge advantage in municipal elections, especially without political parties or ranked ballots. But Mike Colle was able to get the most votes even in old Ward 16 — 31.7 percent to Carmichael Greb’s 25.6 percent.

Mike Colle’s win is unique to Toronto municipal politics. There are many current or past city councillors who followed their parents on city council — including Mike Layton, Joe Cressy, and Stephen Holyday, who were re-elected in 2018 — but Mike Colle might be the first to follow in his son’s footsteps.

Ward 8 Eglinton-Lawrence
Candidate Total votes Percentage
Jennifer Arp 2404 7.1
Christin Carmichael Greb 7395 21.7
Mike Colle 14094 41.3
Darren Dunlop 210 0.6
Lauralyn Johnston 992 2.9
Beth Levy 3122 9.2
Randall Pancer 134 0.4
Josh Pede 420 1.2
Peter Tijiri 72 0.2
Dyanoosh Youssefi 5253 15.4


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Mapping the council race in Ward 19, Beaches-East York

Ward 19 Beaches-East York was one of the closest races in Toronto’s 2018 municipal election. It was only one of two “open” wards out of 25 — meaning no incumbent councillor was seeking re-election.

Earlier this year, Councillor Janet Davis (old Ward 31) and Mary-Margaret McMahon (old Ward 32) announced that they were not running again for Council. Davis, a prominent member of council’s left wing, endorsed Diane Dyson, a community activist, as a candidate for Ward 35, which had similar boundaries to Davis’ ward. There were ten other candidates, including David Del Grande, a product manager and former provincial Green Party candidate, and musician Brenda MacDonald, who ran against Davis in the last two elections.

Meanwhile McMahon, a centrist, endorsed Brad Bradford, a city staffer who worked for the office of the Chief Planner at City Hall. There were eleven candidates running in Ward 37 (mostly congruent with old Ward 32), including Matthew Kellway, the former NDP MP for Beaches-East York, Joshua Makuch, a management consultant and a Canadian Forces veteran who served in Afghanistan, and Valérie Maltais, an environmental scientist.

Like so many races across the city, Doug Ford’s Bill 5 changed the dynamics completely. The two wards were merged into Ward 19. Five candidates withdrew from the tougher race, but there were still 16 candidates having to run in a much larger area than they planned for.

Councillor Janet Davis switched her allegiance from Diane Dyson to fellow New Democrat Matthew Kellway. Brad Bradford was endorsed by both Jennifer Keesmaat, his former boss, and John Tory, who likely wanted a more centrist councillor in Ward 19 than Kellway. It became a two-way race, with Tory and McMahon campaigning hard for Bradford, with Kellway having the support of Davis and fellow NDP politicians and activists. Kellway had the support of the Toronto Star’s editorial board, while Bradford had the endorsement of the Toronto Sun.

In the end, Brad Bradford won with 38.6 percent of the vote, while Kellway took 37.8 percent, with a difference of just 288 votes. Joshua Makuch came in a distant third, with 6.2 percent of the vote, and Diane Dyson placed fourth.

Kellway came in first place in the advance polls. But on election day, Bradford placed first in 33 polls, while Kellway placed first in 28 polls. Brenda MacDonald came first in Poll 45. Only five votes were cast in Poll 20, which was a five-way tie.

2018 Election - W19

Kellway’s best results were north of Danforth Avenue, especially in the east, along Lumsden Avenue and Dawes Road. This area encompasses several Toronto Community Housing buildings and the lower-income Crescent Town neighbourhood. The support and organization from outgoing councillor Janet Davis probably helped, as did Kellway’s record as NDP MP. Had Toronto stayed with the 47 wards, it’s very likely that Diane Dyson would won in Ward 35, given Davis’ previous endorsement. Either way, the support of Mary Margaret McMahon and John Tory would have seen Brad Bradford win in Ward 37. Tory now has a new ally on council.

The south half of Ward 19 is more affluent and less diverse than the area north of Danforth Avenue. Old Ward 31, north of Danforth Avenue and represented by Davis, had a 2016 median household income of $61,575. Old Ward 32, south of Danforth Avenue and represented by McMahon, had a 2016 median household income of $84,445. In the north half, 42.1 percent of the population identifies as a visible minority, compared to 24.3 south of The Danforth.

Ward 19 Beaches-East York
Candidate Total votes Percentage
Brad Bradford 14286 38.6
Norval Bryant 89 0.2
Paul Bura 288 0.8
Dragan Cimesa 77 0.2
David Del Grande 283 0.8
Diane Dyson 1612 4.4
Matthew Kellway 13998 37.8
Donald Lamoreux 141 0.4
Brenda MacDonald 601 1.6
Joshua Makuch 2315 6.2
Valérie Maltais 929 2.5
Frank Marra 142 0.4
Paul Murton 74 0.2
Morley Rosenberg 248 0.7
Adam Smith 708 1.9
Veronica Stephen 1257 3.4
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Mapping the council race in Ward 25, Scarborough-Rouge Park


I start my analysis of the 25 council races with Ward 25, Scarborough–Rouge Park, where Neethan Shan, the incumbent councillor for old Ward 42, lost in a very tight race to Jennifer McKelvie, who was elected to public office for the first time. Both candidates originally ran in different areas under the approved 47 wards (Shan in Ward 45, McKelvie in Ward 47), but Bill 5, Premier Doug Ford’s legislation that reduced Toronto City Council to just 25 wards, changed everything.

Ward 25 was an interesting race for several reasons. It was one of only two contests in which an incumbent councillor lost to a non-incumbent challenger (the other was Ward 8 Eglinton–Lawrence, where Mike Colle defeated Christin Carmichael Greb). It was also the closest of the 25 council races. McKelvie won with 11,624 votes (40.2 percent), just 154 more votes than Shan. The win margin was just 0.53 percent. There were eleven candidates in total.

The new ward boundaries imposed by the provincial government likely helped McKelvie win. The western part of old Ward 42, areas where Shan would have enjoyed the incumbency advantage, shifted to new Ward 23. Meanwhile, almost the entirety of old Ward 44, where McKelvie made a strong showing in the 2014 election, was incorporated in the new ward. The map above shows that Shan came in first place in every poll that formerly in Ward 42, while McKelvie placed first in nearly every poll south of Highway 401.

Ward 25 Scarborough-Rouge Park
Candidate Total Votes Percentage
Amanda Cain 831 2.9
Paul Cookson 1897 6.6
Daniel Cubellis 527 1.8
Jasper Ghori 337 1.2
Reza Khoshdel 548 1.9
Cheryl Lewis-Thurab 638 2.2
Dave Madder 151 0.5
Jennifer McKelvie 11624 40.2
Christopher Riley 456 1.6
Neethan Shan 11470 39.7
Joseph Thomas 428 1.5

Continue reading

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Mapping the results of the 2018 election, Part I (updated)

2018 Election - CityMayor25_150How each of Toronto’s 25 wards voted for mayor

November 8, 2018: I updated this post to look at the results for fourth place mayoral candidate Saron Gebresellassi.

I started this website four years ago after I began producing maps of the local council races and ward-level results of the 2014 municipal election and sharing them on Twitter. I figured that I would continue to map the results after the 2018 election. In this post, I start with the mayoral race results. Over the next two months, I will dive into the local council races as poll level data and poll boundary shapefiles are now available on the City of Toronto’s Open Data catalogue.

John Tory’s landslide win this year was no surprise. Despite urban progressives’ frustration with his centre-right agenda, Tory has remained popular with a large segment of Toronto’s population. Until July of this year, there were no high profile challengers to Tory. Meanwhile the mayor assembled a campaign team that included Nick Kouvalis and Warren Kinsella, and had months to fund-raise a massive election war chest.

Former Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat registered on July 27, 2018, the last day of nominations for mayor. Keesmaat decided to run for mayor after Tory delivered an inadequate response to Premier Doug Ford’s Bill 5 in July 2018, in which he called for a referendum rather than forcefully opposing Ford’s surprising and vindictive attack on Toronto City Council.

Keesmaat did not have the time, organization, and money to make a strong campaign against Tory. Her platform was more progressive than Tory’s but still not distinctive or bold enough. Keesmaat even promised to keep property tax increases at or below the level of inflation, Tory’s key plank.

It was no surprise that Tory was able to win with 63 percent of the vote, coming in first in all 25 wards, and 1599 of 1700 regular election day polls. Tory placed first in every poll won by Doug Ford in 2014.

Keesmaat placed first in only 101 polls, with all except one of those being in the old City of Toronto (the other poll was York University).

2018-election-citymayor.jpgPoll-by-poll results for the 2018 mayoral race

Interestingly, but not too surprisingly, the polls in which Keesmaat placed first were very similar to those polls where Olivia Chow did best in 2014 — established west Downtown neighbourhoods such as the Annex, Little Italy-Palmerston, Seaton Village, the Junction, and Parkdale. Had the old 44 wards still been in use, Keesmaat would have placed first in three wards — old Wards 14, 18, and 19, the same as Chow’s results in 2014. These neighbourhoods are clearly the urban progressive base.

Tory finished first in central and east downtown neighbourhoods, including the areas with younger, more diverse populations such as City Place, the Entertainment District, and Liberty Village. It’s also quite clear that Keesmaat failed to capture the imagination of large segments of Toronto’s population — especially in areas with large populations of immigrants and visible minorities. Any left-leaning challenger needs to win over not only the suburbs, but also downtown condo dwellers.


Maps of the mayoral race results at the ward level, with the old 2014 ward boundaries

Coming in third place in the 2018 mayoral election was white supremacist Faith Goldy, who managed to win over 25,000 votes, or 3.4 percent of all votes cast. Goldy fared poorly in most polls, and she failed to win more than 20 percent of the vote in any of those polls. But still, she was able to get over 10 percent of the votes in 16 polls across Toronto. They are mapped below. Goldy’s support was highest in the suburbs, especially central Etobicoke and in the Bathurst-Sheppard area, and in north Scarborough.

2018-election-citymayor_fg.jpgMost of those polls where Goldy got relatively high percentages of the vote had few total ballots cast. Poll 68 in Ward 17, a condo building near Leslie Street and Sheppard Avenue, had the highest vote percentage for Goldy, though this was only 7 of 35 total votes for mayor.  Poll 1 in Ward 19 had the highest absolute number of Faith Goldy supporters (excluding advance polls), with 86 out of 1030 mayoral votes cast.

Still, it saddens me to see a xenophobic, racist fringe candidate get as much support as she did in Toronto, a city whose motto is “diversity our strength.”

After I wrote this blog entry on Wednesday, Brittany Andrew-Amofah on Twitter suggested that I take a look at the results for fourth place candidate Saron Gebresellassi. Gebresellassi’s platform was stronger than Keesmaat’s, focusing on housing, transit, mental health supports, and opportunities for youth and racialized communities, especially in Toronto’s inner suburbs. Gebresellassi argued strongly for these issues at mayoral debates.

Unfortunately, Gebresellassi only got 2 percent of the city-wide vote. She fared better in eight wards in central Toronto, as well as in York South-Weston, Humber River-Black Creek and Scarborough Southwest. Perhaps not coincidentally, these eleven wards were also the provincial ridings won by the NDP in the June provincial election. Gebresellassi’s highest support was in Ward 9 – Davenport, where she got 5.2% of all votes cast. Ward 9 is also where Keesmaat had the highest support, nearly beating Tory.

2018 Election - CityMayor25_SG.jpgWard-level results for Saron Gebresellassi

Gebresellassi took more than 10 percent of the vote in 17 polls. Many of these polls were located in Toronto Community Housing (TCH) buildings, co-ops, and shelters. Twenty-four percent of all voters in Poll 22 in Ward 13, located at a TCH property in St. Jamestown, chose Gebresellassi.

Saron Gebresellassi spoke passionately about the right for safe and affordable housing, and many voters, especially those living in social housing took notice.

Poll-level results for Saron Gebresellassi. Polls in which Saron Gebresellassi got more than 10 percent of the vote are labelled; the three polls where she placed second (to John Tory) are underlined.

As I mentioned before, I plan to take a close look at the council races over the next little while. Despite a frustrating and at times dispiriting municipal election here in Toronto, it’s worthwhile, I think, to look back at what happened. How did some incumbent councillors win, while others lost? How did the new boundaries change local dynamics?

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