Hey, it’s a big day for your city.
Polls in Toronto open at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday and will be open until 8:00 p.m. (no, you can’t vote online.) Expect results soon after — CBC Toronto has you covered on that front; here’s how to watch.
So will you be voting today?
If so, here’s what you’ll need according to the Toronto election:
Oh, and here’s one thing you should know: You don’t have to vote for everything on the list. This means that you can elect a local councilor, but not a mayor. Or if your life doesn’t intersect with the school system, you don’t have to vote for a trustee.
We’ve double-checked: this won’t spoil your ballot.
What are the big problems?
Toronto is facing a massive budget shortfall (in part caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), a housing affordability crisis, infrastructure issues, and more to address.
He asked CBC Toronto during the campaign and more than 250 of your neighbors chimed in about their biggest problems (let’s face it, some were ordinary problems) with the city.
Housing and road safety popping up most often — you can find more of what people have said here.
But we’ve also heard a lot about it traffic densitythe police budget and holding Toronto art sector alive. Read those answers here.
I want to vote, but I’ve done almost no research. Help!
OK, we’ll keep it simple.
In the race for mayor is John Tory, who has been in charge for eight years, and is seeking re-election. He runs on, well, what he ruled. That means: keeping property taxes below the rate of inflation (even though that rate is far higher now than it has been in the past), continuing transit projects as currently planned, and doing more about Toronto’s housing crisis. Major projects like the hybrid reconstruction of the Gardiner Freeway, which remains expensive and controversial, will continue under Tory’s watch.
Some Tory rivals want to reverse that.
City planner Gil Penalosa has vowed to demolish that part of the Gardiner. He also floated a number of big ideas on the campaign trail, ranging from bus rapid transit lines to a “renovation revolution” that would allow seniors to share their homes as a matter of right.
Meanwhile, environmentalist Sara Klimenhaga is running for a second term on a largely progressive plan, but one that is also critical of the city’s move to require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
CBC Radio Metro morning spoke to Tori, Penalos and Climenhag last week, which might help if you compare the three.
The campaign also saw first-time candidates including Chloe Brown, Stephen Poonvasi and Jack Young challenge Tory in two big debates – here’s coverage of the first and second.
In fact, 31 people are running for mayor this time.
You can read more about some of their experiences here, although not all answered the six key questions CBC Toronto sent them.
If you want to go straight to the source, some of the mayoral candidates have their own websites, which you can find here on the city’s election page.
Okay, what about the councilors?
It’s hard enough to find out about Toronto’s mayoral candidates, so it’s totally not your fault if you don’t know who’s running for your local councillor.
In fact, it’s a big part of why incumbents win municipal elections almost all the time (read more about that here).
But this election is different.
There are no incumbent candidates in eight wards, leaving those council seats slightly more than usual. They are: Etobicoke North, Willowdale, Davenport, Spadina-Fort York, Toronto Centre, University-Rosedale and now Scarborough North after the death of current councilor Cynthia Lai.
In most of those departments, there is a long list of applicants trying to get the job.
So who are they? Here we’ll move on to the Toronto Public Library’s Know Your Vote TO website, which shows who’s running and provides some information about the candidates’ platforms.
Wait, we skipped a step. If you’re wondering, “What department do I even live in?” you can search this map from the town hall. Don’t be embarrassed by this question — it’s not like you always ask your friends what “department” they want to hang out in.
Speaking of maps that don’t make sense…
The maps when it comes to electing school superintendents are actually different from those used for councilors.
If you are a parent of a school-aged child or are involved in the school community, you probably know this and have better access to guardianship issues than the general public.
Trustees make big decisions when it comes to the school system — and Toronto schools certainly have tough calls, just look at the repair issues they have to deal with — but if you’re feeling reluctant to elect someone, you can certainly walk it out.