Election Maps Politics Toronto

Mapping the results of the election in Ward 5 – York South-Weston

In this post, I take a look at the council race in Ward 5, York South-Weston. The area, which encompasses neighbourhoods such as Weston, Mount Dennis, Amesbury, and Keelesdale, is one of Toronto’s least affluent. In 2015, York South-Weston’s average household income was $67,954, compared to the city-wide average of $102,721. The area straddles the divide between Toronto’s inner city and its postwar suburbs. Mount Dennis will be the western terminus of the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT line, which may bring new development — and gentrification — to the area.

Before Bill 5 was introduced, reducing Toronto City Council to just 25 councillors, the area was made up of two wards, represented by right-leaning council veterans Frances Nunziata and Frank Di Giorgio.

Frances Nunziata has had a long career in city politics. She was first elected to York City Council in 1988 and became mayor of the City of York in 1994, known then for standing up to corruption. When the City of Toronto was amalgamated in 1998, she was one of five former mayors to sit on the new “megacity” council (she was joined by Scarborough’s Frank Faubert, East York’s Michael Prue, Etobicoke’s Doug Holyday, and, of course, Mel Lastman). Nunziata is the last pre-amalgamation mayor still active in Toronto’s government.

While Nunziata supported Barbara Hall’s mayoral campaign in 1997, she backed Rob Ford’s campaign for mayor in 2010. She has served as Council Speaker under mayors Ford and Tory. While I was critical of her role as speaker under Ford’s mayoralty, she has since improved over the last four years. She also known for working very hard for her local constituency. In 2014, Frances Nunziata won Ward 11 with 71.3 percent of the vote and placed first in every poll. Only two candidates ran against her that year.

Meanwhile, Frank Di Giorgio, who represented Ward 12, was elected to North York City Council in 1985, and has been a municipal politician ever since. He was once Rob Ford’s budget chief, but has since served quietly in recent years.

Ward 12 was one of the most interesting local races of the 2014 election, a bonafide four-way race between Di Giorgio, returning challenger and former city staffer Nick Dominelli, former Liberal/Independent MP John Nunziata (Frances’ brother) and Lekan Olawoye, a Nigerian-Canadian immigrant, local community organizer, and talent executive at MaRS. Though Di Giorgio won, only 238 votes separated the incumbent from second-place John Nunziata. Remarkably, all four candidates had the support of over 20 percent of the electorate.

Under the new 47-ward model, there was little change in the boundaries to either Wards 11 or 12. Olawoye had registered to run again in Ward 12 against Di Giorgio. In Ward 11, Nunizata’s re-election bid was challenged by Chiara Padovani, a community activist and social worker. Padovani’s platform sought to address housing affordability, poverty and a lack of community services. The race was marked by bitter disputes between the Nunziatas and Padovani.

When city council was slashed to 25 wards, former Ward 11 and Ward 12 were combined into the new Ward 5. Most candidates, including Nunziata, Di Giorgio, Olawoye, and Padovani, ran in the new larger area. Unlike other wards where two incumbents faced off against each other, neither Nunziata nor Di Giorgio lost any part of their former constituencies. Nunziata still had the advantage, however, as there were more polls and voters in former Ward 11 than in old Ward 12.

Progress Toronto endorsed both Padovani and Olawoye, while Olawoye got the endorsement of the Toronto Star and the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. The Toronto Sun endorsed Nunizata.

2018 Election - W5.jpgResults of the council race in Ward 5

Nunziata won Ward 5, taking 32.2 percent of the vote, while Di Giorgio placed second, netting 21.7 percent. Padovani came in a close third, with 20.5 percent, while Olawoye took 14.9 percent. Both incumbents placed first in their old wards. Padovani got over 25 percent of the vote in old Ward 11, where she originally registered, coming in second there.

Combined, the two progressive candidates got over 9,000 votes, more than Nunziata’s winning total of 8425. Change may yet come to York South-Weston in 2022.

Ward 5 York South-Weston
Candidate Votes Percent
Keaton Austin 467 1.8
Deeqa Barre 1,172 4.5
Joey Carapinha 241 0.9
Frank Di Giorgio 5,674 21.7
Fred Fosu 245 0.9
Harpreet Gulri 168 0.6
Frances Nunziata 8,425 32.2
Cedric Ogilvie 189 0.7
Lekan Olawoye 3,889 14.9
Chiara Padovani 5,358 20.5
Luis Portillo 352 1.3

Note: I corrected the name of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council


The controversial Judson Street zoning change


Earlier this year, Etobicoke Councillor Justin Di Ciano (Ward 5) pushed for a zoning change to several industrial properties on Judson Street, adjacent to GO Transit’s Willowbrook Yards. Local residents had enough with a concrete batching operation and Dunpar Homes applied to build a townhouse development on the site.

City staff recommended against the rezoning, which would allow townhouses to go up on land previously zoned as industrial. Metrolinx, GO Transit’s parent organization, also spoke out against the re-zoning, warning that it could impact its expansion plans, including GO RER/SmartTrack. But Councillor Di Ciano, Mayor John Tory, and most of the mayor’s allies voted against those concerns and supported the redevelopment.

Now Metrolinx is appealing the council decision to the Ontario Municipal Board, and the City will be forced to hire external expert advice, as it went against its staff recommendations.

You can read the Torontoist post here, where I explain the situation in more detail.


Election Maps

Mapping the 2014 Toronto election: Wards 5 and 6

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.

2014 Election - WARD 5 MayorPoll results of the mayoral race in Ward 5

2014 Election - WARD 6 MayorPoll results of the mayoral race 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.

2014 Election - WARD 5 CllrPoll 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.

2014 Election - WARD 6 Cllr
Poll results of the council race in Ward 6