This was the first Toronto municipal election contested after the introduction of the Better Local Government Act, which saw Toronto Council reduced from 47 wards to 25. The Toronto municipal boundaries now mirror those used in Federal and Ontario provincial elections. Because of the new ward boundaries, many incumbent councillors and high-profile candidates competed for a substantially limited number of seats.
Incumbent John Tory sought a second term as mayor and was running against former Toronto City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat.
Most polls leading up to election day had Mayor Tory comfortably ahead of Keesmaat. When the ballots were counted, the polls were proven right and Mayor Tory was re-elected with a convincing 63% of the vote, which is the second largest margin of victory for a Mayor since amalgamation in 1998.
Overall, the new council is thought to lean right which means the Mayor should be able to move forward with his campaign promises. However, Tory did lose some reliable allies on council and will still need to work with several of his more fierce critics which will test his reputation as a pragmatic consensus builder.
WHAT IT MEANS
Mayor Tory campaigned on the theme of steadiness and continuity of his previous 4 years. He promised to invest in 40,000 more affordable housing units and forging ahead with his signature SmartTrack transit plan. On property taxes, Mayor Tory has re-iterated his pledge to keep them to the rate of inflation despite warnings that this will not be enough to balance the city's books. As a result, he may be forced to look for new revenue streams now that his second term has been assured.
While the amount number of councilors he needs for consensus has been cut in half, each of those who remain will have their own ambitions that Tory will need to manage carefully to move his agenda forward.
What remains unknown is how Mayor Tory will work with Premier Ford, considering their competitive history and the Province's activist stance as it relates to municipalities. There has been talk of the Province taking over control of the Toronto subways as well as the building of a casino on Toronto’s waterfront, neither of which is supported by the Mayor.
Patrick Brown vs. Linda Jeffrey: 10 months after being forced from the Ontario PC Party leadership, Patrick Brown has staged a comeback and been elected as Mayor of Brampton by defeating incumbent Linda Jeffrey in a competitive race. Brown is widely known to have strained relationships with the Premier and his inner circle, so it will be interesting to watch how this dynamic affects relations between Brampton and the Province.
Etobicoke North, Ward 1
Michael Ford vs Vince Chrisanti: This race garnered a lot of interest as Premier Ford’s nephew Michael was matched against longtime Etobicoke councillor and Ford family ally Vince Crisanti. Notably, Mr. Chrisanti was removed as deputy mayor in 2017 when he endorsed Doug Ford for mayor in the expected 2014 rematch against John Tory. In the end, the Ford family has its second electoral win in 2018 as Michael took the ward with 42 percent of the vote.
Don Valley West, Ward 15
Jon Burnside vs. Jaye Robinson: These two popular councillors, both thought to harbor political ambitions on the provincial stage, found themselves competing for the right to represent Don Valley West on the condensed city council. Both won large pluralities in 2014 before the ward consolidation and this race was considered too close to call before election day. It was a close race to the end, but Robinson was able to narrowly beat Burnisde with 49.2 percent of the vote.
Toronto Centre, Ward 13
Krystyn Wong Tam vs. Lucy Troisi vs. George Smitherman: This race saw Wong-Tam and Troisi running against former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Smitherman in his bid for a political comeback after losing the 2010 Toronto Mayor’s race to Rob Ford. In one of the night’s biggest wins, Wong was re-elected with 52 percent of the vote compared to Smitherman who finished with 15 percent. Troisi came in a distant third.
Scarborough Agincourt, Ward 22
Norm Kelly vs Jim Karygiannis: 24 year councillor and former Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and bombastic former Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis ran a tense race for ward 22. Polls had this as a very competitive race that would come down to which candidate was better able to get out the vote. Ultimately, the Karygiannis campaign came out on top and the man known as ‘Jimmy Chaos’ now heads back to City Hall for another 4 years.
Humber River – Black Creek, Ward 7
Giorgio Mammoliti vs Anthony Perruzza: These two veteran councillors competed in the newly-formed ward 7. After an electoral career dating back to 1990, and countless controversies in between, Ford ally Mammoliti was defeated convincingly by Perruzza.