Ward 8 incumbent Anthony Perruzza, who has deep roots in York West and a long history of political service, easily coasted to victory.
He was leading early on with 6,075 votes.
Perruzza’s closest rival, Arthur Smitherman, who ran a pro-Ford campaign, placed a distant second with 1,075 votes. Smitherman is the estranged brother of failed 2010 mayoralty candidate George Smitherman.
“Tonight there’s going to be a change in leadership,” Perruzza told his supporters at a victory party at the Montecassino Hotel. ”There’s going to be a change in the cultureho.
“We need a city that doesn’t leave people behind,” Perruzza said.
Perruzza, who has held the ward since 2006, faced an easier fight this time with his fiercest rival, Peter Li Preti, out of the race.
Perruzza came within a few hundred votes of losing to Li Preti in the two previous municipal elections.
Li Preti had represented the ward for more than 20 years. Fighting allegations he exceeded campaign spending limits and accepted illegal corporate donations in 2010, Li Preti didn’t run this time.
Perruzza’s closest rival in the current race, Arthur Smitherman, was running a distant second going into the polls. Smitherman, the estranged brother of former provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman, ran on a pro-Ford agenda.
Perruzza has been a progressive voice on city council, fighting for funding for libraries and community centres. On transit, he supported the Transit City plan that Rob Ford scrapped when elected mayor in 2010.
A father and avid cyclist, Perruzza has deep roots in the community. He has lived in York West for 43 years, after immigrating to Canada at age 9.
The ward, which lies in the city’s northwest quadrant, running south from Steeles Ave. between Dufferin Ave. and Highway 400, is easily one of the city’s most diverse.
Home to York University and the Jane and Finch neighbourhood, it features million-dollar homes and crumbling concrete highrises. Black residents form the dominant visible minority group, followed by South Asians, Southeast Asians and Latin Americans.
The average household income, at $39,903, is below the city’s average. Two-thirds of residents live in apartments.
Perruzza has a long history of political involvement, including stints as a North York councillor, a school trustee on the Metro Toronto Separate School Board and a New Democratic Party MPP.
As a Ward 8 councillor, Perruzza served on the city’s powerful executive committee.
The other candidates in this year’s race were Thomas Barclay, Princess Boucher and Antonio Vescio.
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