TORONTO – John Tory will replace Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto.
Tory beat both Doug Ford and Olivia Chow, bringing an end to a 10-month campaign that featured an 11th-hour switch of one Ford brother for another.
“Ladies and gentleman, the people have spoken. And tonight we begin the work of building one Toronto,” Tory said at the onset of his victory speech.
“Now, like never before, we begin building Toronto the Great.”
Tory campaigned on ending gridlock, creating more bike lanes, more jobs for youth and his main promise – a massive city-wide rapid-transit network funded by debt and other levels of government.
His oft-criticized SmartTrack plan looks to transform GO Transit lines that cross Toronto into a regional 22-stop surface subway at a cost of $8 billion.
“Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed the city for the last few years,” Tory said.
He also thanked his opponents and Mayor Rob Ford, saying he looks forward to working with the mayor in the next term of council when Ford is councillor for Ward 2 in Etobicoke.
READ MORE: A look at the promises John Tory made
Tory was the frontrunner through much of the campaign, leading in nearly every poll over the 10-month period, and won endorsements by veteran councillors, provincial cabinet ministers and former mayors.
The campaign itself, however, frequently descended into farce. And while it began as something of a referendum on Rob Ford’s mayoralty, that changed when the incumbent, who hung on to the mayor’s office long after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine, pulled out of the race due to a cancer diagnosis. His older brother, Councillor Doug Ford, claimed Rob Ford’s record as his own.
And while many expected former NDP MP Olivia Chow to ride to victory when she announced her candidacy, the ambitious progressive campaign many expected never materialized, and she was left trying to define herself in the final weeks of a marathon campaign.
Chow congratulated Tory during her concession speech at her party in Regent Park shortly after Tory was elected mayor.
She implored him to use his tenure as mayor to fight for the issues she championed during the campaign – inequality, especially.
“Children are going to school hungry in this city, too many young people are looking for jobs and too many families are looking for affordable, and too many people are stuck in traffic gridlock and too many people are living in poverty,” she said. “John, you’ve just been given a chance to do something about it.”
Doug Ford also congratulated Tory on his victory. His brother, however took a decidedly more pugilistic tack, launching a four-year mayoral campaign during his victory speech.
“In four more years, you’re going to see another example of the Ford family never, ever, ever giving up,” Ford said. “We today have got to start working for November of 2018.”