TORONTO – Advanced voting has concluded (with record numbers turning out) and the countdown is officially on to the 2014 Toronto election.
Beyond the mayoral race between frontrunners John Tory, Doug Ford and Olivia Chow, there are a number of interesting ward races to watch on election night.
Ward 2 – The Ford family switcheroo
After stepping away from the mayoral race due to health concerns, Mayor Rob Ford announced he would run in Ward 2, Etobicoke North – a seat he held from 2000 to 2010. Taking his place in the mayoral race was big brother Doug, who was councillor for Ward 2 since the 2010 election. Another Ford family member changed plans on deadline day, with Michael Ford withdrawing from the Ward 2 race, opting for school board trustee instead.
Ward 6, Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Councillor Mark Grimes is looking to hold onto his seat in the 2014 Toronto election, facing off against a Ford (no, not that Ford family) and former police spokesperson, Tony Vella.
Ward 7, York West
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti is seeking re-election in Ward 7, York West, amid a police investigation into a fundraising event held last May. He is running against seven other candidates, including Nick Di Nizio who lost to Mammoliti in the 2010 election.
Ward 9, York Centre
The city’s Ward 9, York Centre, will see another chapter written in a long and winding story between two rivals in the 2014 election. Maria Augimeri, a veteran politician and Rob Ford critic, has held the seat since 2000, but came very close to losing it last election to Gus Cusimano. Following a court challenge to the win, appeals and overturned decisions, the two are running against each other again in 2014.
Ward 12, York South-Weston
In what’s expected to be a close race, former MP John Nunziata faces off against Coun. Frank Di Giorgio, who was named budget chief in 2013, Nick Dominelli (who finished second to Di Giorgio in 2010 with 24 per cent of the vote) and Lekan Olawoye, who is currently on leave as executive director for non-profit organization, For Youth Initiative.
Ward 17, Davenport
Ward 17, Davenport, will surely be a race to watch in the 2014 municipal election, with Coun. Cesar Palacio and opponent Alejandra Bravo battling it out for the seat for a third time.
Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth
An interesting race is shaping up for Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth, in the 2014 municipal election. Coun. Paula Fletcher is seeking re-election, facing off once again against journalist Liz West. In the 2010 election, Fletcher held the seat for Ward 30, narrowly defeating West by 259 votes.
Ward 32, Beaches-East York
The race between a current city councillor and former one should make Ward 32, Beaches-East York, an interesting one to watch on election night. Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon is once again running against former Ward 32 councillor and council Speaker Sandra Bussin.
Ward 44, Scarborough East
Ward 44 incumbent Ron Moeser is up against a long list of opponents in Toronto’s municipal election, including Diana Hall—a candidate he defeated by a mere 61 votes in the 2006 and with just 284 votes in 2010.
Wards with no incumbents
A handful of wards are guaranteed to see a fresh face at city hall, with councillors announcing they would not seek re-election.
Peter Leon was chosen to replace Doug Holyday in Ward 3 after Holyday vacated his seat to run in a provincial byelection. Leon said he would run in the 2014 election, but 10 other candidates are, including Holyday’s son.
After nearly 30 years in politics, Gloria Lindsay Luby is hanging up her hat. Ten candidates are running for Ward 4, including Niels Christensen (who Lindsay Luby has thrown her support behind), and former Progressive Conservative MPP Chris Stockwell, who was favoured by Ford to replace Doug Holyday in Ward 3 in 2013.
James Maloney was appointed to represent Ward 5 in July, after the resignation of Peter Milczyn. Milczyn represented Ward 5 since 2000. He resigned his seat to run in the August 2013 provincial byelection, losing to Doug Holyday by just over 1,500 votes.
Sixteen candidates are in the race for the seat formerly held by Karen Stintz. Stintz announced in October 2013 that she was running for mayor, but dropped out of the race in August.
Toronto’s Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, may win the prize of craziest election season. After already participating in a provincial and federal election this year, 22 candidates are in the running for the municipal election. The dizzying list includes a former mayoral hopeful, a current mayoral hopeful’s former campaign manager and the Chair of NoJetsTO, which opposes the expansion of the city’s island airport.
In February, former budget chief and ward councillor Mike Del Grande said he will not be running for council again, making Ward 39 one of the few wards without an incumbent this election. Del Grande served as budget chief from 2010 to 2013 and was elected as councillor representing Scarborough-Agincourt in 2003.