Toronto Sun journalist Don Peat to take on lead role in Mayor John Tory’s office

Don Peat will begin his new role as Toronto Mayor John Tory's communications director on Dec. 5, 2016. Toronto Sun

A veteran city hall journalist will soon be taking on a lead role in Toronto Mayor John Tory‘s office at a pivotal time in his mayoral term.

Don Peat, a former city hall reporter during Rob Ford’s tumultuous mayoral term and assistant city editor with the Toronto Sun, will become Tory’s new director of communications and chief spokesman.

Peat is replacing 33-year-old spokeswoman Amanda Galbraith, who worked closely with the mayor since his 2014 election campaign.

Thursday marks two years to the day that Tory took office and Peat’s appointment comes at a time when the mayor grapples with proposed tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, changing councillor appointments to crucial committees and a looming 2018 election.

READ MORE: Road tolls issue worth losing election over: Mayor Tory

Tory announced the changes in an email to city councillors Thursday morning.

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“Don is no stranger to us here at City Hall, having served as the Toronto Sun’s City Hall Bureau Chief from 2010 to 2015,” Tory said.

“During his decade at the Sun, Don has earned a reputation for his productivity and fairness, and is well liked by all. He also gets up early, which will help.”

READ MORE: Former Wynne staff member, journalist Siri Agrell joins mayor’s team

Tory said Peat would begin his new role Monday, with Galbraith’s last day Dec. 16. He mused city staff would be “arranging for a peaceful transfer of power.”

Toronto Sun Editor-In-Chief Adrienne Batra told the newspaper Peat was “irreplaceable.”

“His reporting contributions are unmatched and culminated into an anthology of some of the most important events in Toronto,” she said.

“Don has been such an integral part of the Toronto Sun family and will be missed. Our loss is definitely the city’s gain.”

READ MORE: John Tory previously campaigned against tolling the DVP, Gardiner Expressway

Galbraith confirmed to Global News she would be taking on a new role at Toronto PR firm Navigator — known for representing high profile companies and public figures such as former attorney general Michael Bryant and former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi.

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She said she would eventually take on a lead role in the firm’s crisis and issues management practice and help expand their municipal affairs practice across Canada.

Galbraith added she would also “play a role” in the mayor’s 2018 re-election campaign and help with planning in the future.

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