Ontario Progressive Conservatives have lost their toehold in Toronto, giving up the key riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore where MPP Doug Holyday was defeated by Liberal challenger Peter Milczyn.
The widely watched race was a rematch of last summer's by-election, when the two city hall veterans battled over the provincial seat left vacant by Liberal Laurel Broten.
Mr. Holyday, who was a key member of Mayor Rob Ford's team before leaving for Queen's Park, said he has no plans to return to city hall.
"I've had a good career. I have no regrets. The public has spoken. I don't like the results, but what can you do."
Unlike last summer, Mr. Holyday, Toronto's former deputy mayor, did not have the same high-profile campaigners in Mayor Ford and his brother Councillor Doug Ford. Mr. Holyday took the riding – becoming the first Conservative MPP from Toronto since 1999 – with the help of "Ford Nation" by about 1,500 votes.
At press time, Mr. Milczyn had 47.4 per cent support, Mr. Holyday had 33.1 per cent and NDP candidate P.C. (Pak-Cheong) Choo had 13.3.
The mayor, who has since admitted he smoked crack cocaine and continues to be dogged by controversy, is on a leave and is at a rehab centre for alcohol use in Muskoka. His brother Doug, who has expressed his own provincial ambitions, also took a back seat during this provincial election.
"I am very excited. I'm still trying to digest the results," said Mr. Milczyn as he walked into his campaign party with his daughter. "Is red your favourite colour?" he asked the crowd. "Red is my favourite colour."
Mr. Milczyn said the reception at the doorstep was much different than last year's by-election when people knew they were not voting for a government.
Judging from that feedback, he said he was expecting a good result, but added you can never be sure.
"I did know for weeks now the people of Etobicoke-Lakeshore were scared of electing a Conservative government," he said.
Mr. Milczyn congratulated Mr. Holyday on the campaign and 30 years of public service.
Now that he has a seat at Queen's Park, Mr. Milczyn said he intends to resign his council seat in Ward 5 next week. Before he does, he said he plans to attend two committee meetings next week, including the Planning and Growth committee that he chairs. That committee, he said, already is missing one member after the resignation of Adam Vaughan to run in a federal by-election and his attendance will ensure there are the needed numbers to go ahead.
The mood was subdued at Mr. Holyday's campaign gathering, where a band played to a room filled mostly with reporters and a few glum supporters.
NDP candidate Mr. Choo, a trustee in the 1990s at the former Etobicoke school board, finished third followed by Green Party candidate Angela Salewsky.