Everybody wants to be Toronto’s new mayor

In what could very possibly be the premise of a new reality show, Toronto’s mayoral race has attracted a record-setting total of 102 candidates, or enough to fit two standard TTC busses. 

Driving the news: It’s shaping up to be a chaotic year in Canadian municipal politics. The circumstances leading to the mayoral race in Toronto have been tied to a (frankly very weird and awkward) scandal involving former Mayor John Tory. He resigned shortly after winning a third term, when allegations over an affair with a young staffer broke in The Toronto Star. 

Why it matters: It’s the first mayoral election in almost a decade with any real competition, and Canada’s largest city is dealing with a variety of major problems, from a housing shortage to a spat of violent crimes on public transit to a serious city budget shortfall.

  • If you’ve ever started a sentence with “well, if I were mayor,” you’re not alone. There seems to be no shortage of people who think the city would be better off if they were in charge. Some long-shot hopefuls have emerged too, including a very cute dog.

  • Some residents have expressed frustration with so many candidates entering the race, not only because it splits the vote, but because it would be next to impossible to get up to speed on the platforms and policy promises of over 100 mayor hopefuls.

What’s next: A recent poll shows NDP politician and activist Olivia Chow (also the widow of Jack Layton) in the lead at 30% among decided voters, trailed by a field of five candidates polling above 5%. Though it’s important to note that 35% of voters are undecided, much is sure to change in the coming weeks, and history has shown the majority of Toronto likely won’t bother to head to the polls on June 26.—SB