Live: Election Night 2014

Live: Election Night 2014

Tonight is the night many Torontonians have been awaiting for four years: our chance to put a close to Rob Ford’s term as mayor, finally and definitively. Can Doug Ford somehow win over voters exhausted by his brother’s litany of blunders and misdeeds? Will John Tory be handed the opportunity to restore boringness at city hall? Or will Olivia Chow somehow manage to pull off an upset? And what about all the small-but-vicious ward races playing out all across the city? We’re keeping an eye on all of it. Stay with us for live results, commentary, voter interviews, and other surprises throughout the evening.

Toronto Life’s election night coverage includes commentary, social-media watching, charts unlike those you’ll see anywhere else, as well as interviews with voters from across the city. Plus: live results, as they come in. Click here to see what’s newest.

10:27 PM Steve Kupferman And here’s how things stand at the end of the night for the mayor’s race, with all but one of 1,767 polls reporting. It’s looking as though we may have to wait until tomorrow for final results. (In the meantime, Torontoist has detailed results for the ward races.)

Turnout, so far, is being estimated at around 64 per cent, which is significantly higher than the 53 per cent we saw in 2010—considered impressively high at the time. Clearly, something about this election had Torontonians riled up. We can’t imagine what.

10:09 PM Philip Preville John Tory has walked through the latter stages of this campaign as though he were carrying an elephant on his back, as well as a 500-pound gorilla and a refrigerator—not to mention the albatross around his neck. They were the accumulated baggage of his many previous political losses. Watching him give his victory speech this evening, suddenly they were gone. A whole city shares his relief.

His critics complain that his campaign lacked a full platform, but this was a very peculiar campaign in which no full platform was necessary. Torontonians, in electing John Tory mayor, have invested in him the most meagre possible hopes: just do better than the last guy, the crack-smoking global embarrassment.

And Adam Vaughan, speaking on CityTV moments ago, claims Tory’s been given the gift of the most right-of-centre council since amalgamation, which at least suggests some general affinity among the lot of them. It should be easy for an accomplished businessman like Tory to outperform expectations. Mind you, his political history is one of failing to meet expectations. But tonight, at least, is a fresh start.

9:54 PM Marc Weisblott With a Toronto Star column about how boring John Tory is, apparently prepared for publication the moment Tory was declared winner, John Barber introduces a script for Four Bored Years.

9:30 PM Philip Preville Listening to Doug Ford give his concession speech, it strikes me that Ford Nation, as a phenomenon, continues to defy expectations, which means it also eludes understanding. The Fords’ brand of politics obviously resonates more broadly than many are willing to admit. Many Toronto progressives couldn’t wait to be rid of a Ford in the mayor’s chair, but Ford Nation remains, and I don’t see anyone with a plan to make converts of their followers.
9:23 PM Sarah Lazarovic

9:16 PM Philip Preville I miss Hazel McCallion already.
9:16 PM Philip Preville Twitter says Tory is ready to give his victory speech but is waiting for Doug Ford to give his concession speech first. And Doug, being Doug, is taking his sweet time.

9:07 PM Philip Preville The greatest argument for term limits on city council is the insurmountable advantage of incumbency. Let’s review the progress of our underdogs:

Ward 2: Andray Domise finishes in third place with less than 10 per cent of the vote.

Ward 17: Alejandra Bravo finishes with 900 fewer votes than Cesar Palacio.

Ward 12: John Nunziata loses to Frank Di Giorgio by 250 votes.

Ward 20: Terri Chu crushed by Joe Cressy by more than 7,000 votes.

Ward 30: Liz West loses to Paula Fletcher by 5,000 votes.

Mayor: Ari Goldkind garners less than 1 per cent of the vote.

My heart is broken. I still love you all.

9:01 PM Marc Weisblott So! How little does being active on social media, and the amplifying endorsements that tend to follow, really matter when it comes to the ballot results? The question continues to provide a think piece for all seasons—and all elections. At least it can be branded now: “The Soknacki Effect.” Rob Ford handily won Ward 2 over Twitter favourite Andray Domise—who ended up in third place behind Luke LaRocque.

Here’s campaign manager Andrew Young:

And active tweeter J.P. Boutros came in fourth place in Ward 16 after Karen Stintz—for whom he served as transit policy advisor—endorsed slim-margin winner Christin Carmichael Greb.

Here’s campaign manager Brian Kelcey:

As for David Soknacki, he said what he wanted to say on Twitter earlier in the day, then turned up at the Tory bash:

8:54 PM Philip Preville Olivia Chow deserved better from this campaign than she got. She was subjected to a virulent racism of the kind many Torontonians prefer to think doesn’t exist in their city. Her very candidacy was living proof of Toronto’s embrace of diversity, but it also became proof that the city has a long way to go to live up to its ideal.

Olivia’s concession speech showed her at her most passionate. Unencumbered by the blowhards who trailed her on debate night, her personality shone in a way that, I am convinced, will be new to many. Alas for her and for all of us, she saved her best for last.

8:50 PM Steve Kupferman Well, the count was a little more suspenseful this time than it was in 2010 (when Ford had been declared mayor by 8:10). Here we are with 1,681 out of 1,767 polls reporting. Tory has nudged himself just over 40 per cent, which should keep the pundits from saying he barely eked out a win.

8:48 PM Philip Preville Had he lost, I knew what I was going to write: He has a bright future ahead of him. Instead, our Toronto Life Projection Desk (subcontracted to CityTV) is calling the race for John Tory.

It is fitting that Tory should win in a race that was his to lose but turned into a squeaker. Something about his campaigning style leads him to appear to always battle a headwind. He begins with confidence and stride, then slows inexorably. I imagine, in his mind’s eye, that every political finish line has been like a horror movie corridor, the door at the end of the hallway receding further away the more he strives to reach it. This time it was Doug Ford in a hockey mask trailing him, and finally he made it to safety.

I’ve met John Tory on a number of occasions, most of them while he was leader of the PC Party of Ontario. I profiled him for Toronto Life in those years, and came away convinced, as many others have been, that he truly believed in public service. He would have to. He has suffered some truly crushing political defeats. You would never come back for more of that punishment unless you felt it was some kind of higher calling.

He has wanted this more than anything. Finally, he’s got it. His bright future begins tomorrow.

8:41 PM Sarah Lazarovic


8:39 PM Sarah Lazarovic


8:34 PM Steve Kupferman Pretty much everyone has now called it for Tory. Barring an act of God, he’s got it. These are the results with 1,553 out of 1,767 polls in:

8:33 PM Marc Weisblott The official cakes of the 2014 Toronto municipal election:

8:25 PM Steve Kupferman CP24 is calling it for John Tory—CityNews, not yet. Here are the current results, with 1,378 out of 1,767 polls reporting:

8:25 PM Sarah Lazarovic


8:18 PM Philip Preville Holy vote count! The pace at which results flow in for Toronto municipal campaigns always surprises me. Fifteen minutes in, more than 250,000 votes counted. And it’s closer than I expected.
8:17 PM Steve Kupferman With 966 out of 1,767 polls reporting, Olivia Chow picks up a point on Doug Ford:

8:14 PM Steve Kupferman So far the actual results are looking very similar to some of the Forum polls we’ve seen, albeit a little closer than anticipated between Tory and Doug. This is with 821 out of 1,767 polls received.

8:00 PM Over the course of election day, photographer Giordano Ciampini and writer Chris Bateman went around Toronto, asking voters who they picked and why. Previously: Olivia Chow and Doug Ford. Here: John Tory.

Maryke Abbot, 67, Retired. At All Saints’ Kingsway Church, Etobicoke

“I voted for the man, not the party. I think he’s the best candidate. I just think he’s the better man to conduct civilized council meetings and bring civilization back to Toronto.”


Carl Jaglall, 25, Volunteer at Autism Speaks Canada. At St. Joachim Catholic School, Scarborough.

“He has smart ideas and I think he’s going to do well…I think he’s strong enough, I think he’s going to do it. I think it’s going to turn out very well. A better, new everything.”

Swastica Jaglall, 50, Homemaker. At St. Joachim Separate School, Scarborough.

“He’s the man. It’s time for a change, a positive change. I would like to see the city represented better on the world stage. I think he’s the person to do it. I was torn between him and Olivia but I followed with my heart and voted John Tory.”

Matthew Kenney, 33, Director of Capital Development. At Metro Hall.

“I think for me just listening to John Tory speak and his idea of teamwork and bringing councillors together was the thing that set him apart.”


Kevin Higgins, 50, Consultant. At St. Joachim Catholic School, Scarborough.

“We need a responsible mayor who can connect with all levels of government and get our city back in shape… The Ford brothers are done and shouldn’t be here anymore.”

7:58 PM Marc Weisblott Scenes from the Ford party at the Woodbine Banquet Hall in the hours before the polls closed:

And would-be school trustee Mikey Ford is there—elusive as ever:

7:55 PM Philip Preville I have a soft spot for underdogs, so here’s to the plucky candidates who I’d love to see win, but who almost surely won’t:

Ward 2, Etobicoke North: Young Andray Domise is great on Twitter, great on radio and television, a progressive voice in northwest, undoubtedly part of the city’s political future if he wants to be. But probably not tonight. He’s up against Rob Ford in Ward 2.

Ward 17, Davenport: Alejandra Bravo ran against Cesar Palacio in 2003 and lost by 800 votes. In 2006 she closed the gap to 250 votes. She took a pass in 2010, but now, with Palacio closely aligned with the unpopular Ford administration, she’s back for another try.

Ward 12, York South-Weston: Nick Dominelli, a restaurant owner and former city hall staffer. He nearly won last time and would be a welcome change. Then again, first-time candidate Lekan Olawoye also looks good. Heck, former federal Liberal child star John Nunziata is running in this ward, and even he looks good compared to incumbent Frank Di Giorgio, council’s most ephemeral nonentity.

Mayor: Ari Goldkind’s I-call-bullshit ethos made him a refreshing, energizing post–Labour Day presence in the campaign. In debates, he could neutralize Doug Ford in ways that neither John Tory nor Olivia Chow possibly could. Goldkind scared the daylights out of all of them. No matter what percentage of votes he pulls, his will undoubtedly be tonight’s best party.

7:53 PM Sarah Lazarovic


7:48 PM Over the course of election day, photographer Giordano Ciampini and writer Chris Bateman went around Toronto, asking voters who they picked and why. First up: Olivia Chow. Here: Doug Ford.


Bianca Bolognese, 65, Retired hairdresser. At Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, Etobicoke.

“I love the Fords because they say what they do and they do what they say. What their personal life is is not my business, even if the media wants to get on it. I couldn’t care less. I don’t care for all the news about it, I just watch the track record, what they do. I think they do really well…anything Ford is my favourite.”


Jacqueline Samuels, Mature student. At Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, Etobicoke.

“I really love this city and…so does the Ford family, they love the city. It’s not just about politics and who gets to be the boss and who gets to move and groove our city—it’s about people that care. I’ve heard testimony from many seniors, people that don’t even have kids in school, but when they had a problem, who are they going to call? And who helped to resolve their problem? You’ll hear lots of that going on. The people’s man. That’s right, that’s right. If you ask everybody around here, at the end of the day, the people count.”


Christine Sarkissian, 51, Realtor. At Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, Etobicoke.

“I do believe in his values, and I know that they’ve gotten a lot of flack, but you know what? It’s all about the heart. Just like when we sell real estate, it’s about the heart.”


Armenia Sarkissian, 21, Musician. At Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, Etobicoke.

“I’m a little bit of a conservative and Rob Ford’s actually a family friend…I’m not very savvy on what’s going on, truthfully…I thought it was the right choice just out of loyalty.”


Jean Henry, 57, Nurse’s aide. At St. Joachim Catholic School, Scarborough.

“I like him and what he has to offer in the community. I spent a lot of my time in the hospital, almost two and a half years. He’s a good thing for me and my children.”

7:41 PM Marc Weisblott Who can even remember when John Tory had to try a bit harder to have his campaign go viral? A few memories of his third-place status in the spring, already forgotten:

Twister Chow! (April)

60th birthday bash (May)

#SoccerTown (June)

7:22 PM Over the course of election day, photographer Giordano Ciampini and writer Chris Bateman went around Toronto, asking voters who they picked and why. First up: Olivia Chow.


Brian Ling, Banker. At Metro Hall.

“I felt like she was the best candidate who best represented my interests…I didn’t vote for Tory even though he was seen as electable because I had watched him over the years in the provincial elections and I felt he was simply a weather vane.”


David Hughes, 60, “Master of all trades.” At Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, Etobicoke.

“She’s a woman, she’s got smart ideas, she’s a compassionate person. I think she’s a good choice…I’d rather not see the antics of the Ford circus anymore.”

Robyn Young, 39, Teacher. At Metro Hall.

“I just feel that she’s the best representative for such a diverse city, one of the most diverse cities in the world. She’s a minority, and also a female would be a good representative for Toronto. It’s not so much about her platform, it’s more about just the kind of person that I think she is.”

Nakita Whyatt, 28, Retail Associate. At All Saints’ Kingsway Church, Etobicoke.

“I think she represents the class that nobody really talks about, the working poor, the people who work full-time hours but still in part-time jobs.”

Mike Stasiuk, 63, Retired. At All Saints’ Kingsway Church, Etobicoke.

“Realistically, it looks like it’s going to be a Tory landslide. The fact that Tory proposed faith-based school funding shows that he’s a politician that can be bought…it shows that he has no integrity.”

Virginia Ohorodnyk, 83, Homemaker. At Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, Etobicoke.

“I like her. I like her ideas. She’s really interested in the subway and all that stuff and I think that means a lot for people that don’t have cars and can’t drive. I’m sure she’s got a lot of other things up her sleeve.”


Leanne Salton, 30, Teacher. All Saints’ Kingsway Church, Etobicoke.

“I think that she’s a good candidate and better than the other options…she seems like she’ll be pretty reasonable and have the city’s best interests at heart.”

7:22 PM Sarah Lazarovic


7:20 PM Philip Preville With less than one hour remaining until the polls close, here is another fearless prediction: the city of Toronto’s voting system, already outdated, will remain in place even as it passes from anachronistic ritual to living relic. For no other reason than the fact that Toronto prefers to be a late adopter of new technology.

I spoke with two people today who wondered when the hell the city expected them to vote. Polls didn’t open until 10 a.m., after they were at work. After work there were kids to gather from daycare, dinner to make, dishes to clean, baths to draw and stories to read, which essentially ran through to 8 p.m. The rituals of the polling station have not kept pace with people’s lives.

Meanwhile, at my home base in Peterborough, I voted on Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. Everyone in the house was asleep, so I was alone to ponder the weight of my choice in silence, for as long as I bloody well wanted, without a lineup of other harried voters exhorting me to hurry up. It took less than ten minutes and involved a slightly byzantine system of password creations, confirmation emails and secret-code retrievals (for the purpose of ensuring my ballot was kept secret). I highly recommend it.

7:07 PM Philip Preville The stakes are high for the NDP in this election outcome. Olivia Chow stepped down as federal MP in Trinity Spadina and her successor, Joe Cressy, lost the seat to (suddenly) Liberal Adam Vaughan. Then the NDP’s Rosario Marchese lost Trinity Spadina provincially to Liberal Han Dong. If Cressy loses his bid for council tonight that’s the end of Ward 20 as an NDP stronghold. If Terri Chu wins it becomes a Liberal trifecta.

The Liberal-NDP proxy fight reaches beyond Ward 20. Provincially the New Democrats took a beating at the hands of the Liberals, who stole 3 of their 5 ridings. One of the remaining NDP footholds (federally, provincially and municipally) is Toronto Danforth, where Ward 30’s Paula Fletcher is up against Liberal-approved Liz West. In 2010 Fletcher barely edged out West’s tide of red signage. This time around, with Jane Farrow potentially splitting the vote on the left, this could be West’s year.

6:58 PM Marc Weisblott In the unofficial race for best lawn sign of this campaign, those that use the Liberal red and white are obviously disqualified. But these five were typographical standouts:

Idil Burale, Ward 1:

Niels Christensen, Ward 4:

Lekan Olawoye, Ward 12:

Saeed Selvam, Ward 17:

And Jane Farrow, Ward 30:

6:49 PM Marc Weisblott Breaking! John Tory plans to win:

6:30 PM Philip Preville I remain doubtful that Ford Nation will turn out in support of Doug in this election with the same zeal they did for Rob Ford in 2010. If anything, Doug’s stint as a mayoral candidate has brought to light his little brother’s genuine political talents. Rob Ford, when sober and properly dialed into reality, is upbeat, happy, confident, optimistic and unfazed by opponents. Doug Ford, with the same message and the same machinery, managed to alienate a great swath of the city in the course of his very brief campaign, including, I am convinced, some of his own supporters. My hunch.
6:26 PM Sarah Lazarovic

6:25 PM Philip Preville Here’s the thing about the great wail of outrage over strategic voting: it was Olivia Chow’s strategy to cultivate strategic voters, until it failed. That’s when her campaign let her true colours show, and asked people to vote their true colours too. Her campaign improved greatly as a result, but the change of tack was too plainly evident. It’s hard to convince people to vote for authenticity when you are an obvious latecomer to the concept.
6:24 PM Marc Weisblott This might be the most ridiculous election sign of the 2014 Toronto municipal election:

For all the effort that Ward 7 candidate Harp Brar put into evoking the hackneyed “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster, the least he could have done was have a website that lived up to the refined tackiness. The design he settled on would make any potential voter more nervous.

At least he figured out how to stand out in a crowd of red-and-white signs.

But another candidate running against Ward 7 incumbent Giorgio Mammoliti gave Brar’s sign the facepalm it probably deserved at first glance.

6:14 PM Philip Preville Earlier in the campaign I took a bet with another hack on how far Olivia Chow’s support would fall by election day. It was the first week of September, before Rob Ford dropped out of the race (and just as he was gaining a sobriety-fueled head of steam in the polls). I said she’d finish with 13 per cent of votes cast, based upon previous finishes by tanking candidates: Barbara Hall came in at 9 per cent in 2003, Joe Pantalone at 12 per cent in 2010. My opponent said 17 per cent, and whomever came closest won a night’s worth of beer. I am so going to lose that bet. Olivia will end the night with over 20 per cent of votes cast.
6:08 PM Marc Weisblott These are the final hours of Doug Ford’s “best ground game in the country.”

Graeme McEachern, the former Rob Ford receptionist who has been on the campaign trail with Doug, has posted some potential parting shots on Twitter:

And here’s the candidate himself on YouTube with a 4 p.m. reminder that there were only four hours left to vote. (The video has only been viewed by a few dozen people.) This is a long way down from the Ford Nation YouTube show, back in the days of fighting words with Kevin Spacey.

That face!

6:00 PM Philip Preville There is an old punchline in politics reserved for the young, ambitious, doe-eyed keener in every campaign: “He’s got a bright future ahead of him and he always will.” Surely the line was coined in reference to John Tory. He joined the Young Conservatives at age 13 and has, in the course of his career, carved out a unique niche for himself as the most winsome, competent, electable loser in Canadian political history. He’ll shed that label tonight, and it won’t take long. If he’s not declared winner within an hour after the polls close I’ll be glad for the suspense.
6:00 PM Sarah Lazarovic