Candidates prepare for Heritage Toronto debate

Candidates prepare for Heritage Toronto debate on Thursday night. Only three candidates were in attendance. (Heritage Toronto/Twitter)

Only three of city's 50-some mayoral candidates were at a debate about heritage matters on Thursday night.

The slim participation in the debate was because of the familiar five front running candidates — Rob Ford, John Tory, Olivia Chow, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki — only three attended. The afternoon before the debate, Stintz announced she was now out of the race. Rob Ford, the incumbent, was at a campaign fundraiser at his mother's house in Etobicoke. 

On the subject of the city's heritage — the debate was hosted by Heritage Toronto — the candidates found common ground. 

"There's a lot more to heritage than simply buildings. It's all about our life and quality of life as well," said Soknacki, echoing what the other two candidates said.

Chow, Tory and Soknacki debated the role the Ontario Municipal Board. All said the process of settling development disputes needed reform, with Tory arguing in favour of some kind of appeal board.

One point of contention was Ontario Place. Chow criticized Tory for his idea to allow condos on the provincially run lakefront space. Tory was the head of an advisory panel on Ontario Place, and recommended selling parts of it to developers. Tory said that was in response to not having public money for the revitalization of Ontario Place.

Chow also said she wants to see a city of Toronto museum — calling it overdue.

"Vancouver has one. New York has one. It is Toronto's turn," announced Chow.

The candidates all agreed that the city's natural heritage, in forms of parks, rivers and natural ecosystems were important to protect. They were also in agreement that the cultural heritage that was most underrepresented was that of First Nations.

About 40 other debates are planned before the election on October 27th.