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Left to right: Ana Bailao, Brad Bradford, Olivia Chow, Mitzie Hunter, Josh Matlow, Mark SaundersJ.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail, CHRIS YOUNG/THE CANADIAN PRESS, CHRISTOPHER KATSAROV/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, FRANK GUNN/The Canadian Press/The Canadian Press

Toronto is heading back to the polls to vote for a new mayor, and a slew of veteran councillors, provincial politicians and former mayoral hopefuls have announced they’re throwing their hat in the ring. Candidate nominations officially closed May 12, with the by-election scheduled for June 26. Advance voting takes place from June 8 to 13.

The by-election was called after former mayor John Tory resigned, having admitted to a lengthy affair with a staffer. Mr. Tory had cruised to a third-term last October.

There are 102 confirmed candidates – a crowded field that includes high profile names such as former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders and former MP Olivia Chow. Also running are current councillors Brad Bradford, Josh Matlow, and Anthony Perruzza, former councillor Ana Bailao and Ontario Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter.

Here’s a breakdown of all the mayoral hopefuls.

Who are the major candidates running for Toronto’s 2023 by-election for mayor?

Olivia Chow

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Olivia Chow is pictured at a restaurant in Toronto's Chinatown as she announces her candidacy for the Toronto mayoral election, on Monday, April 17, 2023.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Age: 66

Work: Founder of Institute for Change Leaders

Who is she?

Olivia Chow is a former city councillor and a three-term NDP MP announced Monday that she is running for Mayor. Ms. Chow ran for mayor in 2014, coming in third place behind then-councillor Mr. Ford – the last minute replacement for his brother and incumbent mayor Rob Ford who dropped out after a cancer diagnosis – and Mr. Tory, the winner. She is the widow of former federal NDP party leader Jack Layton.

What issues is she running on?

Ms. Chow has not yet released a full platform, but during her campaign launch announcement she indicated her opposition to a private spa at Ontario Place, suggested plans for the Gardiner East elevated expressway could be adjusted to allow for more housing and pledged not to use strong-mayor powers to override the majority will of council. She also promised to pursue a better fiscal arrangement with Ottawa, noting her political experience.

Mark Saunders

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Retiring Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders during an interview with The Canadian Press in Toronto on July 27, 2020.Frank Gunn

Age: 61

Work: Retired police chief

Who is he?

Mark Saunders was Toronto police chief from 2015 to 2020. Mr. Saunders came under fire for the service’s relationship with the city’s LGBTQ population after the discovery of serial killer Bruce McArthur. Community members accused police of not taking them seriously when they pushed for more rigorous investigation.

Mr. Saunders has ties to the province’s governing Progressive Conservative. He ran unsuccessfully as a PC candidate in the 2022 provincial election, and in 2021, worked as a special advisor on redeveloping Ontario Place. While Premier Doug Ford said he would stay out of the mayoral race, he also said it would be “great” if Mr. Saunders ran for mayor and urged voters to support candidates who would bolster police.

What issues is he running on?

Mr. Sanders said he will run with a focus on public safety, referencing violence on the TTC gun violence. On housing, he said the city needs to create a system “that views developers as partners” so they’re encouraged to build hundreds of thousands of affordable rental units.

Josh Matlow

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Toronto City Councillor Josh Matlow attends a council session in Toronto on March 29.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Age: 47 years old

Work: City councillor for Ward 12 Toronto–St. Pauls

Who is he?

Josh Matlow has been a city councillor for Ward 12 since 2010. Before that, he was a Toronto District School Board trustee from 2003 to 2010. In 2002, he ran as a Liberal in a provincial by-election.

What issues is he running on?

Mr. Matlow has promised to add a new 2-per-cent levy on property tax to help fix struggling city services, advocate for a new funding model with the provincial and federal governments, and oppose Mr. Ford’s plan to open a private spa at Ontario Place. He would also seek a new feasibility report to examine plans to rebuild the elevated eastern end of the Gardiner Expressway, which is under city control.

Mitzie Hunter

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Then-Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute in Toronto to announce changes to Ontario's public school curriculum on Sept. 6, 2017.Christopher Katsarov/For The Globe and Mail

Age: 51

Work: Liberal MPP for Scarborough–Guildwood

Who is she?

Mitize Hunter has been Liberal MPP since 2013. She served in several high-profile cabinet positions within former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s government, including education minister. Prior to provincial politics, she was the chief executive officer of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and the chief administrative officer of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Ms. Hunter said she will resign her seat in Queen’s Park to run for mayor.

What issues is she running on?

If elected mayor, Ms. Hunter said she would focus on improving public services, including transit, and making the city more affordable to residents. Although she said she doesn’t agree with the direction of the Ford government, she also said understands the importance of having a good relationship with the province and would work hard to collaborate with the Premier.

Brad Bradford

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Toronto City Councillor Brad Bradford attends a council session in Toronto on March 29.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Age: 36

Work: City councillor for Ward 19 Beaches–East York

Who is he?

Brad Bradford is a Toronto city councillor who was endorsed by former mayor John Tory in his 2018 election bid. Before politics, he was a city planner.

During his tenure as councillor, Mr. Bradford has faced criticism from both political spectrums for his changing stance on police funding. In July, 2020, during the summer of protest over the killing of George Floyd in the United States, he called for more money to be spent on social services. Last month, he challenged councillor Alejandra Bravo, who called for $900,000 of the $1.2-billion police budget to be directed to social services, asking her whether that amounted to defunding officers.

What issues is he running on?

Mr. Bradford has said he plans to run on a platform focused on community safety, affordability issues and public transit. He also said he would not hesitate to use new strong-mayor powers, including the controversial ability to push some decisions through with minority support of council.

Ana Bailao

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Ward 18 incumbent councillor Ana Bailao works in her campaign office on Dundas St. W., in Toronto, in 2014.J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

Age: 46

Work: Head of affordable housing and public affairs with private developer Dream Unlimited

Who is she?

Ana Bailao was a three-term city councillor from 2010 to 2022, when she declined to run again and instead took a role in the private sector. Ms. Bailao served as deputy mayor for a stretch under Mr. Tory, and was the chair of the city’s planning and housing committee. She was staunch supporter and political ally of the former mayor.

What issues is she running on?

Ms. Bailao said if elected mayor, her goal is to “fix” the city services that took a hit during the pandemic, including the TTC. She said that in order to pay for increased transit, she would ask the province to take over the maintenance costs of the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, which cost the city around $16-million annually.

Who else is running?

The full list of candidates for Toronto’s mayoral election:

After the May 12 deadline, there are 102 candidates successfully registered to run in Toronto’s mayoral by-election, according to the city’s website. In alphabetical order, these are the contenders:

  • Bahira Abdulsalam
  • Emmanuel Acquaye
  • Blake Acton
  • Sharif Ahmed
  • Asadul Alam
  • Gru Jesse Allan
  • Atef Aly
  • Dionysios Apostolopoulos
  • Darren Atkinson
  • Jamie Atkinson
  • Ana Bailão
  • Jose Baking
  • Ben Bankas
  • Claudette Beals
  • Glen Benway
  • Eliazar Bonilla
  • Brad Bradford
  • Chloe Brown
  • Brian Buffey
  • Celina Caesar-Chavannes
  • Mason Carrie
  • Roland Chan
  • Matti Charlton
  • Danny Chevalier Romero
  • Olivia Chow
  • Logan Choy
  • Kevin Clarke
  • Sarah Climenhaga
  • Gordon Cohen
  • Paul Collins
  • Frank D’Amico
  • Frank D’Angelo
  • Phillip D’Cruze
  • Rob Davis
  • Samson Deb
  • Habiba Desai
  • Cory Deville
  • Simryn Fenby
  • Monica Forrester
  • Anthony Furey
  • Scott Furnival
  • Isabella Gamk
  • Feng Gao
  • Xiao Hua Gong
  • Adil Goraya
  • Brian Graff
  • Ari Grosman
  • James Guglielmin
  • David Gulyas
  • Thomas Hall
  • Peter Handjis
  • Heather He
  • Toby Heaps
  • Monowar Hossain
  • Mitzie Hunter
  • Sheila Igodan
  • Daniel Irmya
  • Syed Jaffery
  • Michael Jensen
  • Patricia Johnston
  • Walayat Khan
  • Serge Korovitsyn
  • Michael Lamoureux
  • Kris Langenfeld
  • Rick Lee
  • Mark LeLiever
  • John Letonja
  • Norman MacLeod
  • Giorgio Mammoliti
  • Steve Mann
  • Cleveland Marshall
  • Josh Matlow
  • Faizul Mohee
  • Bob Murphy
  • Michael Nicula
  • Jamil Nowwarah
  • Anthony Perruzza
  • John Ransome
  • D!ONNE Renée
  • Willie Reodica
  • Walter Rubino
  • Chris Saccoccia
  • Lyall Sanders
  • Mark Saunders
  • Rocco Schipano
  • Robert Shusterman
  • Knia Singh
  • Partap Dua Singh
  • Raksheni Sivaneswaran
  • Erwin Sniedzins
  • Sandeep Srivastava
  • Meir Straus
  • Weizhen Tang
  • Mitchell Toye
  • Reginald Tull
  • Jeffery Tunney
  • Kiri Vadivelu
  • Jack Weenen
  • Yuanqian Wei
  • Jody Williams
  • John Winter
  • Nathalie Xian Yi Yan

With reports from Oliver Moore, Laura Stone and Dustin Cook

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