TORONTO – Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam won re-election in Ward 27, Toronto Centre Rosedale, after running against eight other candidates in the diverse downtown ward.
Wong-Tam finished well ahead of her challengers, winning 62.5 per cent of the vote.
Wong-Tam was first elected in the 2010 election – just 462 votes ahead of runner-up Ken Chan, who was backed up retiring city councillor, Kyle Rae.
In her four years as councillor, Wong-Tam has spearheaded numerous initiatives, including this summer’s Open Streets TO, which closed Bloor Street (from Parliament to Spadina) and Yonge Street (from Bloor to Queen) to car traffic. The pilot program, held on two Sunday mornings in August, aimed to create “paved parks,” which connected neighbourhoods and encouraged recreational activities. Businesses and groups along the Open Streets TO route got involved, including live music outside Holt Renfrew and kids’ drumming circles outside the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Mayor Rob Ford opposed the event, citing the city’s gridlock problem.
Open Streets TO wasn’t the first clash between Wong-Tam and Ford. In August, Wong-Tam wore pink to city council’s last meeting ahead of this month’s election. She said the anti-bullying colour was chosen to mark the end of Rob Ford’s term as mayor.
“When we first came to city council, at the very first city council meeting, I think there was a tone of divisional politics that was set – you were either with us or against us was the mayor’s sort of comments out there and clearly I’ve not been with mayor Ford,” said Wong-Tam.
During the election campaign, Wong-Tam received what she says is one of many letters containing homophobic and hateful messages. The letter read, “I hope you get AIDS and die in public office,” and ends with “I support Ford Nation.” The openly gay councillor and advocate for LGBTQ rights reported the letter to Toronto Police, saying it is important to call out bigotry, saying “hate crimes have to be reported.” Mayoral candidate Doug Ford condemned the incident, saying, “I don’t know who it was. But if they want to talk that way, they aren’t part of this campaign.”