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Signage at Toronto City Hall on Friday, August 13, 2021.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Toronto residents will elect a new mayor in June to replace John Tory, who resigned just months into his third term after admitting to an affair with a staffer.

The mayoral by-election is scheduled for June 26, with advance voting running from June 8 to 13, city clerk John D. Elvidge announced Thursday. The price tag of the by-election, slated to be the largest in Canada’s history, is pegged at $13-million, similar to the $14.5-million cost of October’s general municipal election.

The cost will be paid for out of a reserve previously established by council for elections.

Mr. Tory, a former broadcaster, provincial politician and telecom executive, apologized and announced his resignation this month after admitting to an affair with an employee in the mayor’s office, which he described as a “serious error of judgment.” He said he would resign to focus on rebuilding the trust of his family, but remained on the job for a full week while he oversaw the passing of the municipal budget he had proposed.

The by-election timeline is subject to council passing a bylaw once the mayor’s office is formally declared vacant during the next scheduled meeting at the end of March. It’s rare to announce election dates prior to council’s approval, but the city said in a statement that Mr. Elvidge found it appropriate to give ample warning to prospective candidates and voters, as well as for the city to hire staff and book voting locations.

Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie has assumed many of Mr. Tory’s duties. She said she supports the decision of the clerk’s office on when to hold the election as it has the insight as to how long it takes to hire staff and set up polling stations.

“I think that Toronto residents are excited to meet their new mayor so I think we want to do it as soon as possible and in a fair way that follows the advice of the clerk,” she said Thursday.

The city clerk was limited to setting the by-election between June to mid-September, raising the prospect of a summer campaign if it was not held soon. Mr. Tory was elected with more than 60 per cent of the vote last October in an election in which just 29 per cent of voters turned out.

Nominations for candidates are scheduled to run from April 3 to May 12 and the by-election must take place 45 days later. Prospective candidates can’t incur campaign expenses or accept contributions until after their nomination papers have been accepted.

The open race is expected to be hotly contested with several high-profile names around City Hall already considering bids. Under provincial legislation, councillors can run for mayor without first resigning their seat, which could prompt another by-election if a current councillor wins.

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Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford and Toronto-St. Paul Councillor Josh Matlow are two possible contenders within City Hall who have said they are considering running. Former councillor Ana Bailao, who didn’t run for re-election in October, has also said she is considering a bid.

Former Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders, an unsuccessful candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party in last June’s provincial election, is gauging support from the public before making a decision. Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter has said she is thinking about launching a bid, while also contemplating a run for leadership of her provincial party. Gil Penalosa, an urbanist who placed second in last fall’s race, will be running again.

Ms. McKelvie, the deputy mayor, is not planning to enter the race, saying her focus is on ensuring the transition is smooth while the mayor’s office is vacant. On Thursday, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Mr. Tory’s deputy mayor in the previous term, announced he wouldn’t be seeking a bid.

As Toronto Mayor John Tory's tenure officially comes to an end, the conversation at city hall has shifted to what happens now and what Canada's most populous city needs in its next leader.

The Canadian Press