October 14, 2018 5:12 pm
Updated: October 14, 2018 6:26 pm

Toronto mayoral candidates gear up for last week of campaigning as advance polls close

WATCH: Voters cast ballots on last day of advance polls, candidates gear up for last week of 2018 municipal election


Sunday was the first time seven-year-old Jay got the chance to see what voting was all about. As he discovered, it was pretty easy.

“You get a paper from the people over there and then you circle some dots for who you want to vote for,” Jay explained.

“Then you give it to one of the people, and they put it in the machine.”

READ MORE: Toronto incumbent mayor John Tory says city preparing for cannabis legalization

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Many Toronto residents said this year’s municipal election comes down to just a few issues.

Pudy Tong works in the arts. He said his job is based in Toronto, but it’s difficult to find an affordable place to live.

“For the foreseeable future, I am either waiting for an inheritance or we are kind of stuck where we are,” Tong said.

READ MORE: Mayoral candidates ramp up campaigning as election day nears

For medical student Patrick Frost, community health programs topped the list.

“We need safe injection sites and getting people the help they need that’s clogging up the hospitals,” Frost told Global News.

For several others, public transit was the most important factor.

“I believe in public transit because I try to use my car as little as possible,” Wendy Greene said. “I want to be able to get around the city efficiently and effectively.”

With advance polls closing, candidates are now shifting all of their energy as they head into the last week of the campaign.

That means they are using targeted strategies to get the results they are hoping for at the polls.

WATCH: Pollsters say councillor races will be the thing to watch in the last week of the campaign

Pollsters say the last week of an election is critical.

“At this stage of the game, nobody is trying to convince anybody of anything,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, said.

“What they are trying to do is get out their convinced voters.”

Jennifer Keesmaat said she will be focusing on policy.

An afternoon town hall gave people the chance to ask her questions about the 100-day plan she announced over the weekend.

WATCH: Jennifer Keesmaat gives voters a taste of what to expect if she wins the mayoral race in Toronto

“It’s about ensuring that Torontonians have clarity about what’s going to happen under my leadership and under my government,” Keesmaat said. “A 100-day plan is about being very explicit; this is what will get done.”

Incumbent Mayor John Tory said the real issue facing Torontonians will be choosing a collaborative leader — something he believes sets him apart.

“People will have to focus on who best is going to be able to work with both Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to move Toronto forward,” Tory said. “That’s the message I will be carrying forward in the closing days.”

WATCH: John Tory says campaign messages landing with voters

Polling data puts Tory ahead of Keesmaat, but in the end experts said it will all depend on who shows up at the ballot box.

“I think John Tory is looking pretty good going into the last week of the election campaign,” Bricker said.

“(Jennifer Keesmaat) could be hoping that her voters are really motivated because Tory voters think they are going to win. They don’t show up, and maybe we could have an upset that way.”

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

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