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Toronto Tory’s mayoral campaign the most expensive in Toronto’s history

Contributors to John Tory’s mayoral election campaign reads like the who’s who of Toronto’s movers and shakers.

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

Entering the mayoral race at the 11 hour, former councillor Doug Ford launched a money-hemorrhaging and ultimately quixotic campaign that blew through more than $17,000 a day.

Details of the campaign spending by Mr. Ford, eventual winner John Tory and former mayor Rob Ford were released on Friday.

The documents show that John Tory ran the most expensive mayoral race in Toronto's history, with a list of contributors that reads like a who's who of the city's movers and shakers.

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Among the donors was David Gerofsky, CEO of First Gulf Canada Corporation, the firm behind a proposed development in the eastern downtown that is crucial to Mr. Tory's transit plan, who gave the maximum of $2,500. Also on the list was Chestnut Park Real Estate founder Catherine Deluce, whose husband started Porter Airlines and is hoping the city will approve an expansion of the island airport. She gave $1,000.

Mr. Tory spent nearly all of the $2,860,307 his campaign raised, about $1.1-million more than Rob Ford spent to win the mayoralty four years earlier.

At an event related to policing, Mr. Tory rejected the suggestion that the cost of his campaign showed it is necessary to be wealthy or know wealthy people to become mayor.

"If we had no money at all, then if you had an effective fundraising organization, which costs some money to establish and operate, you are in a position where you can go out and raise the money you need to fight … this campaign and any campaign for mayor," he said.

Doug Ford spent only about one-third as much as did Mr. Tory, but in a much shorter period. He entered the race with only 52 days to go, and spent $909,421. He contributed $50,500 of that total and took out a $500,000 bank loan. His advertising ate up more than the bank loan.

Before dropping out of the race on the eve of a cancer diagnosis, Rob Ford had spent about $425,000. Olivia Chow, who finished third and had filed her financial information earlier, raised and spent about $1.9-million.

The Ford brothers plan a fundraising event to pay off campaign debts. Mr. Tory has declined to participate, saying much of the spending was for advertising that impugned his character.

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Corporate leaders were among those donating the maximum of $2,500 to Mr. Tory. Developers Shane Baghai, Rudolph Bratty and Peter Gilgan were on the list for the full amount. Also there was Bonnie Brooks, vice-chair of the Hudson's Bay Company, prominent media figure Ivan Fecan, and George Cope, CEO of Bell Canada and BCE. The sporting world was represented by Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and Toronto Raptors founder John Bitove.

Analyzing a five-page sample from Doug Ford's campaign filing showed that about one-tenth of the donors gave the maximum amount. A similarly sized sample from Mr. Tory's list of donors showed that more than one-fifth gave the maximum.

At the policing event, Mr. Tory said the huge amount of money raised for his campaign was related to the fact that, one year ago, he was polling well behind Rob Ford and Ms. Chow, the early front-runner. "I started in third place," he reminded reporters.

Mr. Tory's campaign earlier put out a release emphasizing contributions of $100 or less. Small donations actually generated a larger percentage of Doug Ford's total – which would seem to reflect his preoccupation with what he called the "common folk" – but for both, most of the money came from deeper-pocketed donors.

With a report from Selena Ross

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