GTA ridings key as Liberals set to form minority government

Toronto and its surrounding regions appear to have once again played a key role in delivering the Liberals an electoral victory.

Liberals came out on top in most southern Ontario battlegrounds

Liberal supporters cheer as election results begin to come in at the closing party of Liberal incumbent candidate Chrystia Freeland during Canada's 43rd general election in Toronto. (Brett Gundlock/Getty Images)

Toronto and its surrounding regions appear to have once again played a key role in delivering the Liberals an electoral victory.

Experts said during the campaign that the party that did best in the densely populated Greater Toronto Area likely had the best shot at forming the next federal government, and that appears to be the case. 

Results show the Liberal Party retaining its stronghold in downtown Toronto. Hours after the polls closed, the Liberals had held off challenges from the NDP, which had hoped to regain four ridings in the region they lost in 2015.

Normally, winning this many seats in the GTA would be a ticket to a majority, but the Bloc Québécois' gains in Quebec and the Conservatives' gains in Western Canada made the difference.

Davenport — viewed as a battleground riding to watch — stayed Liberal as Julie Dzerowicz retained her seat.

Liberal cabinet minister Kirsty Duncan won in Etobicoke North, while incumbent Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, also a Liberal, won in Beaches-East York.

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, also a minister in Justin Trudeau's government, won in Scarborough Southwest.

Four-time Olympic medal winner and Liberal candidate Adam van Koeverden flipped the traditionally blue riding of Milton, Ont., defeating deputy Conservative Party leader and incumbent Lisa Raitt.

People watch the initial results for Canada's 43rd general election Monday evening at Toronto's Monarch Pub during an event hosted by the Canadaland podcast. (Brett Gundlock/Getty Images)

Former health minister Jane Philpott — who made headlines when she was forced out of the Liberal caucus amid the SNC-Lavalin affair — was defeated in the riding of Markham-Stouffville Monday night. 

Liberal candidates also won in areas to the west like Oakville, Mississauga and much of Brampton. 

Conservative candidates, meanwhile, won in areas like Oshawa and other areas in Durham Region, east of Toronto.

A focus on the 905

Ontario, which holds nearly a third of the country's seats, proved irresistible during the campaign to the leaders of the three major parties, who visited the province far more than any other.

Of particular interest was the horseshoe of cities around Toronto known as the 905, which will send 30 MPs to Ottawa. That's more ridings than Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined.

In 2015, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals took 80 of 121 seats in the province, including all of Toronto's 25 ridings and most of the GTA's.

Results in the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding will be delayed one hour after voter information cards told electors that polls would be open until 9:30 p.m. local time, despite the riding falling within two time zones. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was looking to make inroads in Ontario after the province elected a PC government with a whopping majority in 2018. However, Premier Doug Ford's sagging poll numbers led Scheer and his team to keep their distance during the 40-day campaign.

It appears in Ontario, the Ford factor helped the Liberals. They are holding the bulk of the 80 seats they won in Ontario in 2015. At first glance, it means their strategy of focusing on the unpopularity of the premier was a success.

Mayor Tory congratulates Trudeau

Trudeau was trying to entice voters who helped elect Ford in 2018 and may now be regretting that choice — polling suggests that may be 10 to 15 per cent of last year's Tory voters — and scare left-leaning voters into coalescing around the Liberals.

Nowhere was Ford's shadow more evident than in the riding of Etobicoke North. It had been one of the safest Liberal seats in recent years — but the riding is also ground zero for Ford Nation. It's where Ford has his provincial seat, having flipped it from the Ontario Liberals in 2018. The federal Conservatives, who hadn't won there since 1984, wanted to do the same.

In a statement, Toronto Mayor John Tory congratulated Trudeau on his re-election, highlighting Liberal campaign promises like transit, affordable housing and gun violence.

"I look forward to continuing to work with our prime minister and all Toronto members of Parliament to ensure that those investments, particularly in our transit plan, continue and grow," Tory said.

CBC News has live coverage of the day's events and results as votes are tabulated on all three platforms — television, radio and online. Full coverage details can be found here.

With files from The Canadian Press


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