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John Tory and Olivia Chow take part in a mayoral debate focused on the arts in Toronto, Monday September 29, 2014

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

John Tory has apologized for denying that he contributed to Doug Ford's 2010 campaign, telling reporters Saturday that he doesn't remember the donation.

At a debate Friday evening, Mr. Tory denied giving a donation to Mr. Ford, whom he is now running against for mayor.

In fact, City of Toronto records show that Mr. Tory gave $300 toward Mr. Ford's 2010 campaign for Ward 2 councillor.

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But Saturday morning, after rival candidate Olivia Chow issued a press release slamming Mr. Tory, he apologized to reporters saying he didn't remember donating to Mr. Ford.

"Frankly, even to this moment, I don't recall donating to Doug Ford's campaign. I may well have done. I've tried to support people in public life of all different stripes," he said.

"If I said to her that I didn't donate and I was incorrect, then I apologize."

Mr. Tory added that after the 2010 campaign, he also made contributions to the three leading mayoral candidates at the time -- Rob Ford, Rocco Rossi and Sarah Thomson -- to help them pay off their campaign debts. "I hope people will focus on that," he said.

"Two times I've gone out ... and I helped to raise money to get rid of debt for people who had run for public office in good faith."

In a statement, Ms. Chow criticized Mr. Tory for his "demonstrably false and misleading" comments.

"John Tory will, it's obvious, say anything," she said.

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