The 2014 municipal election campaign is officially underway in northeastern Ontario.

There are still nearly 11 months to go until the vote, but yesterday was the first day candidates could throw their hats into the ring.

Mike Bleskie was at the clerk's desk in Tom Davies Square right when it opened on Thursday morning.

'People are interested in making a difference.' - Sudbury Ward 11 candidate Mike Bleskie 

The 21-year-old is now officially a candidate for city councillor for Ward 11, which includes Minnow Lake and parts of New Sudbury.

"It was pretty quiet at first, but then there was a little line-up afterward by the time I left, which is great,” he said. “It means people are interested in making a difference."

About a half dozen Sudbury council candidates declared their intentions on the first day, but none were incumbents.

Hannu Piironen was one of the first to file his papers. Piironen is running in Ward 10, which covers the south end and parts of the downtown.

"There's kind of a symbolic element to it. I really want the job, so I wanted to make that point,” he said.

Elections ‘getting Americanized’

Incumbent councillor Frances Caldarelli said she hasn't decided if she'll run again.

The same goes for Sudbury city councillors Doug Craig and Joscelyne Landry-Altmann and Claude Berthiaume.

Berthiaume also said it's far too early to kick off the campaign and fears Canadian elections will start feeling like the marathons they have south of the border.

"I find that, somewhat, we're getting Americanized. People politicking all year before the election, I find it too long."

By mid-day on Thursday, Timmins had yet to have any candidates throw their hats into the ring.

In Sault Ste. Marie, a pair of incumbents declared that they're running again — city councillor Frank Fata and Mayor Debbie Amaroso.

Anyone thinking about running for mayor, councillor or school board trustee anywhere in northeastern Ontario still has until mid-September to make that decision.

The voters then will make their decision on Oct. 27.