Breaking: Olivia Chow elected Toronto’s new mayor

Updated: June 27, 2023, 12:25 PM

Toronto, Ontario

Second Chinese-Canadian next to Vancouver’s Ken Sim

Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen

Torontonians woke up today with a new mayor and anticipated change in politics in Toronto City Hall. Chow, 66, clinched the mayoralty with 269,372 votes or 37.2% of the total votes cast.

Earlier polls showed her being favored by 34% of the decided voters.

Former Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão came close with 235,175 votes (32.5%), followed by former Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders with 62,167 votes (8.6%). The June 26 election had a bigger turnout compared to the last mayoral elections with 39% qualified voters choosing from a crowded field of 102 candidates.

Some pundits credit Chow’s win to name recognition. Mayor-Elect Chow was Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2014 representing her riding of Spadina. She also served as city councillor in Metro Toronto from 1992 to the 1998 amalgamation and in Toronto from 1998 to 2005.

Oliva Chow was married for 23 years to the charismatic New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton until the latter’s death due to cancer on August 22, 2011. The 2011 election was historic to the New Democratic Party. Under Layton’s leadership, the NDP won 103 seats, enough for the party to form the Official Opposition for the first time.

The June 26 election is sweet victory for Olivia Chow who placed a distant third during the recently-resigned Mayor John Tory’s first run for office. The Canadian Broadcasting Company calls the recent exercise a “change election”, bringing to a close—for now at least—13 years of conservative politics.

Chow made history by being chosen as Toronto’s first immigrant and racialized woman to run the city of some 2.9 million residents. Her messages of social reforms, job creation, a more democratic style of management—“build a caring city where everyone belongs”—spoke to many of the demographic affected by public transit issues, “reviction”, and reduction of certain public services affected by budget cuts, among others.

Toronto’s operating budget for 2023 is $16.16 billion with a projected $1 billion deficit.

Beginning today, all eyes in Toronto will trained on Olivia Chow and on how she will deliver her campaign promises given the above configuration.

Other Mayors of colour

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim (Photo: City of Vancouver)

Vancouver’s Ken Sim was elected in October 2022, the first Chinese Canadian to become mayor in a city of more than 30% non-white population.

In October 2021,

Calgary’s Jyoti Gondek and Edmonton’s Amarjeet Sohi. (Image composite: Toronto Star)

Alberta elected its first woman mayor of Calgary – Jyoti Gondek and Amarjeet Sohi as mayor of Edmonton. Gondek replaced Naheed Nenshi, a Musli who choose not to run for reelection.

Gondek is of Indian descent born  in U.K. to Indian immigrant parents and grew up in Manitoba before eventually settling in Calgary in 1997.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top