John Tory has beaten back a late challenge from former city planner Jennifer Keesmaat to win his second term as mayor of Canada’s largest city by a significant margin.
Early polling figures showed the former leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives with 63 per cent of the vote with polls to come. Ms. Keesmaat was sitting at 25.50 per cent of the vote. Several other contenders in the crowded field of 24 candidates earned 3.5 per cent or less.
While Mr. Tory will be a hardened veteran of the council by the time it sits again in December, he’ll face a starkly different political landscape. With Premier Doug Ford’s decision to shrink council from 25 seats to 47 seats, council alliances will be re-drawn.
The mayor needs the ongoing support of half of the council to push through his campaign platform, including a pledge to build 40,000 housing units in 12 years, hiring 200 new police officer to combat rising gun violence and fast-tracking construction of the Downtown Relief Line – all while holding property taxes at the rate of inflation.
The council contraction pitted several well-known incumbents against one another.
At least 11 current councillors will lose seats at Toronto City Hall, regardless of voting results tonight.