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Fresh faces, boundary battles as Toronto's municipal campaign season kicks off May 1

Candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee begin signing up on Tuesday to run in the October election — and with 47 wards this year, there's lots of room for change at city hall.

With 47 wards and multiple councillors leaving, there's lots of room for change at city hall

Candidates for mayor, council and school board trustee began signing up on Tuesday to run in the October election. (John Rieti/CBC)

Toronto's municipal campaign season is officially underway.

Candidates for mayor, councillor and school board trustee began signing up on Tuesday to run in the October election — and with 47 wards this year, numerous ward boundary changes, and multiple councillors running provincially, there's lots of room for change at City Hall.

Who's running for mayor?

As expected, Mayor John Tory is officially running for a second term. "I've got tons of energy, and I've got a lot of things I want to get done," he told reporters on Tuesday morning while handing in the paperwork.

Recently, he gave a campaign-style speech outlining early details about an action plan on affordable housing should he be elected again.

Campaign season kicked off on May 1, and Mayor John Tory announced he intends to run for a second term. (John Rieti/CBC News)

So far, Tory has no big-name challengers, though there are multiple people signed up to race against him, including Saron Gebresellassi, a 31-year old lawyer and activist who speaks seven languages.

Safe-streets advocate and mother of three Sarah Climenhaga, who first shared her plans to run with CBC Toronto on Monday, also signed up.

Toronto lawyer and activist Saron Gebresellassi, left, and local safe streets advocate and mother of three Sarah Climenhaga are both planning to run for mayor.

Who's running for council?

New wards, new faces.

In the brand-new Ward 25, which covers part of the area previously represented by Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, Chris Moise — a Toronto District School Board trustee — is now running for councillor, with Wong-Tam's backing.

In the brand new Ward 25, Chris Moise — a Toronto District School Board trustee — is now running for council. (Chris Moise)

Several people have also signed up to run in the new Ward 20 downtown, including another TDSB trustee, 34-year-old Ausma Malik. She arrived at the election office flanked by Coun. Joe Cressy, Coun. Mike Layton, former mayor Barbara Hall, and multiple heads of local resident groups.

"I am so honoured to be here with so many local leaders," Malik said.

Dyanoosh Youssefi, a professor, community advocate and former criminal defence lawyer, is trying for a second time to land a councillor position and is running in midtown in Ward 14, formerly known as Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence, an area currently held by Coun. Christin Carmichael Greb.

Dyanoosh Youssefi, left, a professor, community advocate and former criminal defence lawyer, is trying for a second time to land a council seat. Ausma Malik, a young Toronto District School Board trustee (Ward 10, Trinity-Spadina), has announced she'll be running downtown.

Several other women are also running with the backing of Women Win TO, a group dedicated to helping women run for municipal office.

Megann Wilson, CEO of Toronto-based management consulting company PANOPTIKA, is running in Ward 23, while Weston resident Chiara Padovani, a social worker and activist, is running in Ward 11.

Megann Wilson, left, who runs the healthy living blog WalkEatLive, and Chiara Padovani, a social worker and activist, both plan to run for city council. (Twitter)

So far, many incumbent councillors have also signed up to run again, and a real-time list of candidates is posted on the city's website.

Who's not running again?

With the provincial election around the corner, there will likely be openings thanks to the departures of Coun. Shelley Carroll, who represents Ward 33, Don Valley East, who is running for the Liberals, along with Coun. Chin Lee, who represents Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River, while Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) is running for the Progressive Conservatives.

But if those councillors fail in their provincial bid on June 7, they will have time to get back into the Toronto race, since the nomination period lasts until July 27.

​As a staunch supporter of term limits, Coun. Mary Margaret McMahon (Ward 32, Beaches-East York) confirmed she won't be running again, while Coun. Lucy Troisi (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) and Coun. Jim Hart (Ward 44, Scarborough East) both vowed not to run when they were appointed by city council to fill vacant seats.

Expect to see some fresh faces at city hall after October's vote, something that could change the dynamic of council. (David Donnelly/CBC)

How are the wards changing?

Toronto's ward map underwent a major overhaul, meaning councillors may be losing or gaining neighbourhoods or running in different wards entirely. Only seven city council ward boundaries will actually stay the same.

The redrawn boundaries have added three new wards in the downtown core and one in central North York, while nixing one in the west end by consolidating three wards into two — leading to a total of 47 wards, up from the previous 44. 

Redrawn ward boundaries have added four new wards while nixing one — leading to a total of 47 wards, up from the previous 44. (City of Toronto)

So what does all that mean for the election? Those three new seats could bring fresh faces to council, while the boundary changes may lead to some battles between established councillors. 

Coun. Ana Bailao — who submitted her paperwork on Tuesday — and Coun. Cesar Palacio, for instance, are expected to square off in one of the redrawn wards.

About the Author

Lauren Pelley

Reporter

Lauren Pelley is a CBC reporter in Toronto covering city hall and municipal affairs. Contact her at: lauren.pelley@cbc.ca

With files from CBC News