CityNews invited each of them to come into our newsroom to talk about who they are, why they’re running for office, their key priorities if elected and what separates them from the rest of the pack.
Three dozen candidates including four of the top five contenders responded. Others who had conflicting schedules or have yet to register will be featured in coming days.
Mayor Ford did not reply to requests to participate. (Story continues below).
Here are their pitches for why they should be mayor. Click on a thumbnail below to view:
Some of the participating candidates include saxophonist Richard Underhill; criminal lawyer Ari Goldkind; business people Rocco di Paola and Sarah Thomson; and even two of the youngest candidates — recent university graduate Michael Tasevski and high school grad Morgan Baskin.
Some offered innovative ideas while others gave some quirky ones. Jon Karsemeyer says the first thing he’d do if elected is give Ford a prize “for being the most entertaining and the worst mayor we’ve ever had.”
Christina Van Eyck proposes that the city develop apprenticeship programs using university, college and trade school students with the $700 million of backlog repairs at Toronto Community Housing. Daniel Walker agrees the city’s public housing, which is in “really, really bad shape,” needs fixing and would also like to see a lottery to help fund the TTC.
Candidate Al Gore wants Toronto to raise the minimum wage to $14 an hour to improve people’s quality of life.
Dominatrix Carlie Ritch says “our city right now needs to get a hold of some bad behaviour that’s been happening and we need to focus on political issues and not what’s happening outside of the arena.” She favours revamping Toronto’s waterfront to include the Metronome cultural facility at the old Canada Malting silos as well as go after parents who don’t pay child support.
Many mayoral candidates spoke about the need to reduce GTA gridlock and improve public transit. Front-runners Olivia Chow wants to expand bus service by 10 per cent as part of her transit platform, while John Tory would speed up the process of building more transit and fight gridlock which he later outlined to include Lake Ontario waterways for commuting.
Tasevski would toll non-GTA cars to alleviate financial and environmental burdens the city faces and use the funds to create better Toronto transit.
Underhill favours a Scarborough LRT over a subway and to show his ability to innovate and think out of the box, he played a tune about the LRT.
On what differentiates the candidates from each other, Goldkind says he presents “real honest grown-up solutions” — someone who’s willing “to stick his neck out” such as the need for property tax increases to pay for transit.
Drawing from her profession as a dominatrix, Ritch says “a dominatrix, No. 1, doesn’t lie on their back. The value of a dominatrix is dressed and on [her] feet.”
Selling their youth, Baskin says she’s running because “I want to see change in the world and I was sick of waiting for adults to do it for me,” while Tasevski says, “I have new fresh ideas and I haven’t been stuffed up by all the political drama that has been going on.”