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Holyday to be given key to Toronto ahead of MPP inauguration

Doug Holyday, centre, the newly elected MPP for the Progressive Conservatives for the Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding is applauded by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, after winning the Ontario by-election on Thursday August 1, 2013. Holyday is to be presented the key to the city by Mayor Ford on August 20, 2013, ahead of his MPP inauguration.

Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will present his ally, friend and former deputy mayor Doug Holyday with a key to the city Tuesday.

Mr. Holyday has left his City Hall office and will be sworn in as a Progressive Conservative MPP on Thursday, after being elected in a provincial by-election to represent Etobicoke-Lakeshore earlier this month.

A long-serving member of Mayor Ford's inner circle, Mr. Holyday often faced cameras in his role as deputy mayor to tackle the latest story surrounding Mr. Ford. He was the only ally besides the mayor's brother who appeared alongside Mr. Ford when he addressed allegations of drug use earlier this year.

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"I'm looking forward to it, but it's a bit of a surprise," Mr. Holyday said, adding the key ceremony will give him a chance to formally bid adieu to city hall after decades of service.

"I'm going to miss being at city hall. I've met a lot of people there and made a lot of friends. I've quite enjoyed my 30 years at city hall."

It's an honour the mayor has only bestowed on two others during his tenure: George Cohon, the founder of McDonald's Canada and Canadian boxing great George Chuvalo.

On Monday, the city clerk's office also officially announced the mayor's special meeting on August 26 to determine the best course of action to fill Mr. Holyday's council seat. Council will need to decide whether to hold a by-election to replace the councillor or appoint someone to hold office until the general municipal election next fall.

Mayor Ford is holding a community consultation meeting in the Etobicoke ward on Wednesday evening to get feedback from the constituents on what they would prefer, but the mayor has stated he favours a by-election.

"The election would be on the 25th of November. That's still a year, a lot of stuff gets done," he said Sunday.

"The calls that I'm getting and the feedback I'm getting [is that] people want a by-election in Ward 3."

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The seat cannot officially be declared vacant until council meets next week, but signs of Mr. Holyday's departure have been popping up around City Hall over the past few days. The soon-to-be MPP's name has been removed from the City Hall directory signage and the web page for his ward states the seat is vacant.

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