July 27, 2018 1:53 pm
Updated: July 31, 2018 7:31 pm

Jennifer Keesmaat, former Toronto chief planner, running for mayor

WATCH ABOVE: Former Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat has announced her candidacy for mayor of Toronto.


Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief planner for Toronto, has decided to run for mayor.

“I am running for mayor because I believe we need bold ideas in this city. We need bold leadership. Bold cities can make our city even more livable, even more open, even more equitable, and even more prosperous,” Keesmaat told reporters at city hall on Friday shortly after registering.

“In changing times, we need changing leadership. My commitment to this city is to work incredibly hard and to be incredibly collaborative.”

READ MORE: Ontario to introduce legislation to cut Toronto city council seats by nearly half

Keesmaat filed her nomination papers minutes before the municipal election deadline Friday afternoon.

The move comes hours after Premier Doug Ford announced the provincial government will table legislation to reduce the number of Toronto city council wards to 25 from 47. Keesmaat was asked if that announcement was a factor in her candidacy.

“It was a very impromptu decision, but one that comes deeply from my heart and passion for this city,” Keesmaat said before walking away, adding she would have more to say in the coming days and weeks.

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Keesmaat is the most high profile of the 34 candidates running against first-term Mayor John Tory.

After Keesmaat filed her nomination papers, Tory said in a statement that he is looking forward to a “spirited” campaign.

“We have moved the city forward. We are keeping the city affordable, including keeping taxes low, and we’re getting on with building transit and housing,” he wrote.

“I’ve proudly been running on my record since May 1.”

She left her role as chief planner last September after spending five years in public service.

Before joining the city in 2012, Keesmaat worked as a planning consultant on projects in both North America and Europe.

Election day is Oct. 22.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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