There is a lot more to this election than new mayor Olivia Chow and runner-up Ana Bailão. We break down the winners, the losers and everything in between after a hard-fought campaign and nail-biting election night that produced new feuds, introduced new characters and has set the stage for one of the most monumental mayoral terms in recent civic history.
Loser: John Tory
He gave no press conferences and took no shouted questions, but Tory still managed to loom over the election to replace him via an eleventh-hour endorsement of his former deputy mayor Bailão. Was it too little, too late?
Loser: Mark Saunders
Saunders convinced voters to Stop Chow, but not that he was the man to do it. He bet on a public safety platform that sought to balance more police with more community investment — something his long resume in policing gives him undeniable expertise in. But in an election that was primarily focused on housing and affordability, Saunders was seen by many as a policy lightweight. Faced with a split vote between the more extreme right-leaning views of Furey and Bailão straddling the centre, not even the robocalls from Premier Doug Ford could coalesce his pool of potential voters to unite behind him.
Winner: Strategic voting
Josh Matlow and Mitzie Hunter came fifth and sixth respectively — possible victims of a surge to save Chow. They may have lost but they are winners in their own way. Matlow said he is proud of the campaign he ran and will still be on council holding the next mayor accountable, until — perhaps — he runs again. Hunter took the big risk of resigning her seat as a Liberal MPP and gained some profile outside her Scarborough home turf, and her next move will be closely watched.
Winner: Chloe Brown
Brown came out ahead of Bradford who ran a more typical campaign, while on a shoestring budget and relying on TikToks and town halls. Though she didn’t win, she has been proud of building a youth movement that will demand more and better from their government.
Loser: Brad Bradford
The urban-planner-turned-councillor for Beaches—East York began his second term on council riding high. He rose to be a Tory ally and became his newly appointed housing chair following the 2022 election. Then came his energetic run for mayor that began with a fizz and ended flat in eighth place just ahead of anti-vax rabble-rouser Chris Sky. Though he took a friendly photo with Chow after Sunday’s Pride parade, his future in her administration is uncertain given his fierce attacks on her tax plan and credibility.
Winner: Anthony Furey
Like it or not, the right-wing media pundit has gained name recognition through a fear-based campaign, leaving him well-positioned to stay in the public eye.
Loser: Premier Doug Ford
Ford went from vowing to stay out of the election to warning Toronto not to vote for a left-leaning mayor, to actively campaigning for Saunders in the final days of the race. He still holds plenty of cards though, given how much power the province has over city affairs.
Winner: Xiao Hua Gong
Has there ever been such a massive vote-to-expense ratio? The entrepreneur whose company pleaded guilty to operating an international pyramid scheme in 2021 may have won our attention but not our votes, racking up just shy of 3,000 votes despite his inescapable ads. City hall watchers are already eagerly anticipating his financial filings.
Winner: Molly the Dog
The dynamic duo of Molly and her human Toby Heaps did not break new ground for running mates but we (and nearly 600 voters) lapped it up anyway.
Loser: Yesterday’s politicians
Despite their resumes, former councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Davis, as well as former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes only eked out tiny shares of the vote in a crowded field.
Winner: Anthony Perruzza
So maybe the election campaign didn’t go so well but the Humber River—Black Creek councillor’s old-fashioned charm, impassioned rants and indefatigable cellphone ringtone will continue as a fixture on council.
Winner: Council progressives
Left-leaning council members have been stuck in the political wilderness under successive conservative mayoralties dating back to 2010. But councillors like Gord Perks, the de facto leader of council’s left wing, as well as left-leaning rookies like Alejandra Bravo and Amber Morley, look set to get influential roles in Chow’s progressive administration.
Loser: Tory’s council allies
For the past eight years a handful of centre and centre-right leaning councillors have held key positions at city hall under Tory’s administration. But Chow is expected to usher in a changing of the guard that could relegate members like longtime Council Speaker Frances Nunziata to the sidelines. Even so, Chow has pledged to work with all councillors and find common ground.
Last October, fewer than 30 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in an election that saw Tory coast to victory without a serious challenger. Turnout on Monday is estimated to be around 40 per cent. That’s still far short of the record set by the 2014 municipal election of 55 per cent, but it suggests civic engagement is on the rebound.
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