These are Ontario's most hotly-contested municipal elections

Municipal elections take place across Ontario on Monday. Voters will choose mayors, reeves and councillors in 444 municipalities in the province.

Races in Hamilton, Brampton, London and Toronto among those capturing attention

With Toronto City Council shrinking to just 25 seats, incumbents are battling against incumbents in 11 wards. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Municipal elections take place across Ontario on Monday. Voters will choose mayors, reeves and councillors in 444 municipalities in the province. 

Here are seven of the most hotly-contested races:

Hamilton mayor

The race in Steeltown is boiling down to a scrap over light rapid transit, and the promised $1 billion in provincial funding to build it. Hamilton's incumbent mayor Fred Eisenberger is in a dead heat with newcomer Vito Sgro, according to the one published poll about the race.

Eisenberger supports the LRT. ​Sgro is campaigning on cancelling the LRT plan in favour of spending the $1 billion in other ways. 

The previous Liberal government in Ontario committed the money to the project in 2015. This past spring, before becoming premier, Doug Ford said the $1 billion could be used for other transit or infrastructure projects. In August, Ford's government hit the pause button on acquiring property for the LRT route. 

Hamilton's incumbent mayor Fred Eisenberger, left, is facing a challenge from 14 other candidates, including Vito Sgro. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Eisenberger has the endorsement of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, Sgro is backed by former Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina. 

Brampton mayor

Former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown made the Brampton election a race to watch by jumping in at the last minute against incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey. This is Brown's third stab at a political comeback since resigning as PC leader in January amid allegations of sexual impropriety.

In February, Brown entered the race to win back his old job, before dropping out. In July, he launched a bid to be elected Peel regional chair, but shortly after the Ford government announced it was scrapping that election. The next day Brown registered to run for mayor in Brampton. 

Linda Jeffrey and Patrick Brown are among seven candidates running in Brampton's mayoral election. (The Canadian Press)

Jeffrey, a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister, became mayor in 2014 by knocking off then-incumbent Susan Fennell. Jeffrey is getting support from across the political spectrum, including from PCs who backed Ford. Brown has the nod from one of Brampton's most prominent residents, former premier Bill Davis 

Toronto council

Incumbent city councillors tend to cruise to victory in Toronto, winning more than 90 per cent of the time in the past four elections. That makes Toronto's council elections typically humdrum and predictable, but that won't be the case this time.

By slashing the size of Toronto city council to 25 wards, Ford instantly created plenty of races to watch. Incumbent councillors are squaring off in 11 wards, in what some have called a "Hunger Games" of Toronto politics.

Most of the incumbent vs. incumbent races pit councillors on the same side of the ideological spectrum against each other, so the overall balance of power of council may not change significantly. However, there are two races that could affect the left-right political makeup: incumbents Giorgio Mammoliti and Anthony Perruzza are on the ballot in Humber River—Black Creek while incumbents James Pasternak and Maria Augimeri are vying to be the winner in York Centre. 

London mayor and council

London is making history by becoming the first Canadian city to use a ranked ballot to elect both councillors and its mayor. But that's not the only reason this is a race to watch. The tone of the campaign has turned nasty and polarizing

Signs against bus rapid transit have been popping up in London. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

London's incumbent mayor Matt Brown is not seeking re-election, making this an open race. A key issue of division among the candidates is the city's $500 million bus rapid transit plan, with three of the main candidates vowing to cancel it.  

Thunder Bay mayor

Thunder Bay's incumbent mayor Keith Hobbs, a former police officer, was charged in 2017 with extortion and obstruction of justice. With the case still before the courts, Hobbs announced in July he would not seek re-election.

A record field of 11 candidates — 10 men and one woman — are vying to replace Hobbs. Among them, sitting councillors Iain Angus and Frank Pullia, as well as former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Bill Mauro, who lost his seat in the June provincial election by 81 votes. 

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs is not seeking re-election. He is to stand trial on charges of extortion and obstruction of justice. (Dave Rae/CBC)

Waterloo Region chair

For the first time in 33 years, the Region of Waterloo will have a new chair. The incumbent chair, Ken Seiling, is not seeking re-election.

Four candidates are vying for the job that Seiling has held since 1985: lawyer Rob Deutschmann, current regional councillor in Kitchener Karen Redman, businessman Jay Aissa and former Waterloo councillor Jan d'Ailly.

Greater Sudbury municipal election

All ballots in Greater Sudbury’s election will be cast through this online portal. Voters can use digital devices or go to a polling station. (Erik White/CBC)

Greater Sudbury is holding its first all-online municipal election, with the slogan "Vote anywhere, anytime." Residents with their voter information cards and PINs can cast their ballots from anywhere with an internet-connected digital device. 

For those who don't have that technology, the city set up help centres at local libraries and city hall during the advance voting period. It also sent an equipped election bus around to neighbourhoods. On Monday, Oct. 22, a total of 23 electronic voting locations will be open throughout the city.


Mike Crawley

Provincial Affairs Reporter

Mike Crawley is provincial affairs reporter in Ontario for CBC News. He has won awards for his reporting on the eHealth spending scandal and flaws in Ontario's welfare-payment computer system. Before joining the CBC in 2005, Mike filed stories from 19 countries in Africa as a freelance journalist and worked as a newspaper reporter in B.C.


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