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Tory edges Ford in closer-than-expected battle for mayor

Michael Talbot | posted Monday, Oct 27th, 2014

John Tory’s vow to unite a divided council and usher in a new era of transit with his ambitious SmartTrack plan was embraced by voters who elected him the 65th mayor of Toronto in a tight battle on Monday night.

Throughout the grueling seven-month campaign Tory’s support steadily grew, with a final Forum poll on the eve of the election showing him with a comfortable 12-point lead over second-place Doug Ford. But it was much closer than that on election night, with Ford nipping at Tory’s heels.

In the end Tory earned about 40 per cent of the vote, trailed by Ford and Chow with 34 and 23 per cent respectively.

“I will go to sleep tonight knowing that I gave it absolutely everything,” Doug Ford said surrounded by family and supporters. “I want to congratulate John Tory and his team on a job well done.”

“Win or lose I always said that we would run a campaign that made us proud and tonight we can hold our heads high.”

Mayoral candidate Doug Ford waves to supporters after losing to fellow candidate John Tory at Ford's election night headquarters closing in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Mayoral candidate Doug Ford waves to supporters after losing to fellow candidate John Tory at Ford’s election night headquarters closing in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

It’s not the end of the Ford reign at city hall, though — Rob Ford was elected as councillor in Ward 2, Etobicoke — the seat he held before he was elected mayor in 2010.

“I look forward to these next four years,” he said.

“My brother (Doug) put his heart and soul into something he had no experience doing,” he added before hinting that he would run again next term.

“Just watch in four more years folks…”

Rob Ford speaks to supporters after winning his seat on city council at mayoral candidate Doug Ford's election night headquarters in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Rob Ford speaks to supporters after winning his seat on city council at mayoral candidate Doug Ford’s election night headquarters in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Olivia Chow, who was once considered the front-runner to become the city’s next chief magistrate, found herself frustratingly mired in third place in the late polls and couldn’t advance any further on the big day.

“Our city has a new mayor,” Chow conceded. “It’s not the result we have hoped for, but I want to congratulate John Tory on running an excellent campaign.”

“I’m going to go home and have some wings and beer and take a bit of a break,” she said when asked what was next. She also hinted that she was a victim of strategic voting by the ‘anyone-but-Ford’ faction of voters.

“I think this campaign was a lot about the Ford brothers,” she said. “People either wanted to vote for Ford or not.”

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow applauds supporters after John Tory was elected the city's new mayor in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow applauds supporters after John Tory was elected the city’s new mayor in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

Neither Chow nor Ford were able to halt Tory’s late momentum despite valiant and at-times desperate efforts.

Chow questioned the financial feasibility of Tory’s $8-billion 53-kilometre transit overhaul, and said he didn’t have a realistic financial plan to pay for it.

Ford said Tory wasn’t upfront about the need to tunnel to complete portions of SmartTrack and painted his rival as a wealthy elite out of touch with the common people of the city.

He also taunted Tory, accusing him of flip-flopping on numerous issues.

Hoping to ride a popular catchphrase like his brother’s ‘Stop the gravy train,’ Doug Ford took to asking, “What’s the story, Mr. Tory?” any time he found himself in the presence of a microphone.

In the end, the ‘folks’ of Toronto answered the question for him, drowning out chants of “Ford More Years” by putting their faith in Tory, who narrowly lost to David Miller when he first ran for mayor in 2003.

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Tory’s victory on Monday capped off a heated campaign that saw numerous key players drop out along the way. Both Karen Stintz and David Soknacki withdrew after failing to gain traction with voters, and Rob Ford bowed out after being diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer.

His illness set the stage for Doug Ford’s last minute push to keep the top spot at city hall in the family, signing his papers just 15 minutes before the nomination deadline.

Ford promised to cut the land-transfer tax by 15 per cent a year if elected, and create 32 kilometres of new subway at a cost of $9-billion, with a priority on a downtown relief line.

He also brought a pugnacious side to the campaign, engaging in shouting matches and taking pot shots at his opponents in heated debates.

But he couldn’t convince the majority of the electorate to give another Ford a chance at the job after the last four years marked by scandal and distraction at city hall.

Tory was quick to remind the public of the turmoil of the last term, suggesting it would be more of the same under Doug Ford’s leadership.

While deriding his main rival, Tory continued to focus on the campaign’s key issues – transit and congestion.

As part of his gridlock reduction plan, he proposed 24-hour construction to speed-up road works and other construction projects. He also proposed a zero-tolerance policy for delivery trucks parked illegally during rush hour.

Rob Ford elected councillor of Ward 2 Etobicoke North

Justin Piercy | posted Monday, Oct 27th, 2014

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Rob Ford will return to work at Toronto city hall. The outgoing mayor was elected as councillor of Ward 2 Etobicoke North on Monday.

Ford handily defeated his closest opponents, Luke Larocque and Andray Domise.

The seat had previously been held by Ford between 2000 and 2010, before he left the job to run for mayor. His brother Doug represented Ward 2 after winning the job in the 2010 election.

The outgoing mayor put his name forward for the council job after ending his mayoral campaign in September following his cancer diagnosis, for which he is currently undergoing treatment.

Michael Ford, Rob Ford’s nephew, had been a candidate in Ward 2 but stepped aside when his uncle entered the race, instead registering to run as a Toronto District School Board Trustee candidate in Ward 1.

Week of Oct. 27, 2014

BT Toronto | posted Sunday, Oct 26th, 2014

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Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

We’re gearing up for the Toronto municipal election on Monday–we’ll have everything you need to know to get out and vote.

On Thursday, Frankie Flowers is back with the latest in gardening trends.

And to end the week off with a scare, tune in as we celebrate Halloween–you’ll have to tune in to see what our hosts are dressed up as this year.

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app for iOS and Android!

Comedian Russell Brand slams Harper for reaction to Ottawa shooting

The Canadian Press | posted Saturday, Oct 25th, 2014

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A British celebrity isn’t wowed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handling of the aftermath of the shooting of an honour guard at the National War Memorial.

Harper’s address to Canadians after Wednesday’s deadly rampage that included a gunfight on Parliament Hill was the subject of The Trews, comedian Russell Brand’s YouTube series in which he dissects media coverage of current events.

“The incidents in Ottawa are being used to advance a narrative that will not only entitle them to further wars abroad, but will entitle them to inhibit our freedoms,” Brand says in the Oct. 23 episode.

He says Harper’s repeated emphasis on terrorism and Islam are a subtle way of advancing a Conservative political agenda focused on increased military deployment.

Brand, who has produced 174 episodes of The Trews since it debuted this past February, has only recently become widely known for his political engagement.

Brand went on to contrast the political reaction to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s slaying at the National War Memorial with the reaction after Justin Bourque’s shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B. earlier this year, in which three RCMP officers were gunned down.

Brand concluded the Moncton shooting didn’t receive the same degree of attention from Harper because it was perpetrated by a disaffected white Canadian rather than someone believed to have ties to a perceived foreign enemy.

DVP closed this weekend for scheduled fall maintenance

CityNews | posted Friday, Oct 24th, 2014

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Drivers in Toronto will have to plan for another weekend of road closures as the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) is scheduled to be closed for annual fall maintenance.

The DVP will be closed from the Gardiner Expressway to Highway 401 from 10 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday.

City crews will be doing road repairs, inspecting overpasses and cameras, and cleaning catch basins, among other tasks.

Alternate routes for drivers include Don Mills Road, Bayview Avenue, Yonge Street and Victoria Park Avenue.

Other road closures will also be in effect for events and construction projects.

Closures for events

Charity Bed Race
Two westbound lanes of Bloor Street West, from Prince Edward Drive to Royal York Road, will be closed on Sunday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Halloween Parade
Bloor Street will be closed in both directions between Jane Street and Runnymede Avenue on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Variety Village 5 Kilometre Wheels, Run and Walk-N-Roll
Danforth Avenue, from Kingston Road to Birchmount Road, will be closed on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Construction projects

Bathurst Street
The TTC and city road crews are undertaking track work, watermain repairs and other road improvements at Bathurst and Wolseley streets, and Bathurst and Dundas Street West.

The intersection of Bathurst and Wolseley streets will be closed until Nov. 2 for work around and outside the Wolseley Loop. Drivers also won’t have access to Bathurst from Willis to Robinson streets, just north of Queen Street West.

The 511 Bathurst streetcar are being replaced by buses, and the 511 Bathurst bus will be on diversion during the closure

Parkside Drive road and sidewalk repairs
Parkside Drive, between Bloor Street West and Lake Shore Boulevard West, will be reduced to one lane until early November for road resurfacing and sidewalk repairs.

Adelaide Street West road, watermain and TTC work
Adelaide Street West, from Simcoe to York streets, will be partially closed until mid-November for watermain work, TTC track removal and road reconstruction.

Don Mills Road closure for watermain work
The southbound curb lane of Don Mills Road, from York Mills Road to Lawrence Avenue East, will be closed until Nov. 30 for watermain relining.

An additional southbound lane on Don Mills will be closed from Mallard Avenue to Bond Avenue from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day.

Bridge repair on York Mills Road
One eastbound lane and one westbound lane of York Mills Road, from Lesmill to Scarsdale roads, will be closed for bridge repair.

The work started on Aug. 11 and will continue for around 11 weeks until the end of October.

Watermain projects on Richmond Street
Richmond Street will be reduced to two lanes between Church and York streets for watermain work. The work started on Aug. 11 and will run through October.

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Drivers can stay up-to-date on construction details by visiting the City of Toronto website.

Upcoming construction can also be viewed on the T.O. INview map.

How to avoid the Halloween sugar rush

Suzanne Ellis | posted Thursday, Oct 23rd, 2014

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Let’s face it. As fun as the jack-o’-lanterns, crazy costumes, and scary movies are, if you’re a kid, Halloween is really all about the trick-or-treat candy haul.

For parents, the idea of their children hopped up on sugar for days on end is positively shudder-inducing, not to mention the fact that the treats are bad news, nutrition-wise. On the other hand, you want your kids to enjoy the occasion, and not letting them have any of their hard-earned Halloween loot seems downright mean.

So where’s the balance? We asked Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh of Sweet Potato Chronicles for their help in ensuring a happy, not-entirely-unhealthy, Halloween for all.

Says Keogh: “I think the hunt is always more fun than the stomach ache of over-indulging. As parents, it’s our jobs to teach moderation. Kids should be allowed to pick a few items they can feast upon on the night of Halloween. It’s when they’re most excited about the loot and one night of sugar-coma won’t kill them. However, after that, there have to be limitations.”

Marsh devised a pretty ingenious strategy to limit the amount of candy consumed post-Halloween – she and her husband sit down with their kids and put a modest price tag on the candy, and then the kids ‘sell’ it to them in exchange for a few dollars that can be put toward a new toy. If they choose to, they can hold onto some of their favourite treats.

“They went for it!” Marsh enthuses. “Of course then the real trick is tossing the excess away rather than my husband and I snacking away at it after the kids go to bed over the course of two months.”

Regardless of whether you decide to try this with your kids, make sure that as the adult, you’re the keeper of the trick-or-treat bag, Keogh advises.

“I don’t think there is any circumstance when the trick-or-treat bag should be kept in a child’s room,” she says. “I know once they’re teenagers there is a lot more negotiation that may happen, but candy should never be stashed away in a kid’s room. You don’t let them stock groceries in there, so why let them keep the candy under the bed?”

Of course before any candy gets eaten, you’ll want to do the standard safety check and remove anything that’s homemade, along with candies that are unwrapped or look as though they may have been tampered with. If your child is allergic to something, be sure to remove any items with that ingredient.

Another way to limit the number of candies your little ones come home with is to make Halloween a two-part affair, says Marsh.

“Have one half of the night be about heading out all dressed up and collecting candy and the other half of the night helping to answer the door and hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters,” she suggests. “That way they’re still having fun but it’s not all about collecting that giant bag of sugar!”

While homemade treats are off-limits in the trick-or-treat bag, they’re great for sending along with your child for their Halloween party at school. Try these amazing pumpkin-gingerbread cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing, courtesy our Sweet Potato Chronicles friends!

For more delicious recipes and family meal ideas, visit www.sweetpotatochronicles.com.

For more Halloween content, check out Cityline.ca’s feature section here.

Soldier gunned down near Parliament Hill identified as Hamilton man

Sarah-Joyce Battersby, Cormac MacSweeney, Toronto staff, and The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Oct 22nd, 2014

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A Canadian army reservist has died and a gunman was shot dead inside Parliament Hill after armed attackers opened fire on multiple Ottawa targets on Wednesday morning.

The slain soldier, who was standing guard at the War Memorial when he was shot, has been identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, from Hamilton’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He left behind a young son who recently started kindergarten, his friend Mat Petersen said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was rushed away from the building to an undisclosed location, officials in his office said.

A high-ranking federal official confirmed to The Canadian Press that the dead gunman was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Little else is known about the man, but one media report said he’s Canadian and was born in 1982.

In a live televised address Wednesday evening, Harper called the shooter a terrorist and said the shootout inside Parliament’s Centre Block was an attack on all Canadians.

“Attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governments are, by their very nature, attacks on our country,” Harpers said. “Let there be no misunderstanding; we will not be intimidated.”

Harper said the tragic incident will strengthen Canada’s resolve to track down would-be terrorists at home and to help our international allies rout terrorists in Iraq.

“This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” he said.

“I have every confidence that Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges.”

Police continued combing a locked-down national capital for other potential threats on Wednesday.

“This is an ongoing police operation and there is no one in custody at this time,” Ottawa’s police chief said.

The Ottawa Hospital said that three patients, not including Cirillo, were admitted and discharged later in the day.

In Toronto, police are working to increase security at high-profile areas, including malls, the TTC and Queen’s Park.

MPPs appear to be conducting legislative business as usual.

“There were some suggestions that perhaps we should suspend question period,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said during the session.

“Our belief is that people who are using violence to undermine democracy want us to be silenced, and we refuse to be silenced.”

For more details on Toronto’s increased safety measures click here.

In Ottawa, heavily armed tactical officers could be seen searching rooftops in the immediate parliamentary precinct.

Police would only say they are investigating “several shooting incidents in downtown Ottawa.”

Initial reports of incidents at Rideau Centre and a pursuit on a highway were false, Ottawa’s police chief said.

For the latest updates from our reporters in Ottawa follow our live blog.

Parliament Hill reporter Cormac MacSweeney was on the phone with his editor, talking about possible assignments, when the shooting started at Parliament Hill shortly before 10 a.m. He then turned on his recorder, and below is the audio:

He heard screaming and running from the front doors of Parliament followed by gunshots.

A witness told MacSweeney he saw a man wearing body armour walk through the front doors of Parliament Hill with what appeared to be a long gun. He was able to fire a few shots before security guards returned fire.

“There were at least six shots fired. The guy seems to be about middle age, he was wearing a hat, a shotgun or a rifle, I am not sure. We just ran when the firing started and ran down the stairs to the lower level, and we’ve taken shelter in one of the offices of the centre block on Parliament Hill,” the witness, named Frank, said.

MPs are crediting Kevin Vickers, 58, sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons for saving lives. Vickers reportedly shot the gunman dead as he was moving through the halls of Parliament towards the caucus.

Police herded bystanders off the street into a major office building and warned people to stay away from the windows.

Military bases across the country are reportedly now being closed to the public.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement ahead of Harper’s address.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were attacked,” read the statement.

“The police continue to do their important work and we are still gathering the facts.”

Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside the building, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.

Most of those MPs remain locked down in their caucus rooms.

The NDP caucus was evacuated along with the Liberal Senate caucus.

A witness reported that a man drove up in a black vehicle, got out carrying a rifle and ran into the Centre Block — the seat of the House of Commons under the Peace Tower.

The vehicle, with no rear licence plate, parked directly in front of the Langevin Block.

Witnesses report seeing a man dressed in black with a scarf wrapped around his face, carrying a double-barreled shotgun.

Follow live coverage by reporters of CityNews, 680News and Maclean’s magazine.

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