Only she who can see the invisible can do the impossible
New Toronto mayor, Oliver Chow has demonstrated that nothing is impossible. But did you know that 102 candidates ran for the 2023 Toronto Mayor elections? Why were there so many contestants, and so few new immigrants?
All it takes to run the top job in Canada’s largest city is a refundable $200 fee and 25 signatures. This year, that meant a crowded and colorful field that Olivier Chow won
When Toronto voters entered the polling booth to elect a new mayor on Monday, they had to scan a roster of 102 candidates on a ballot three columns wide and 34 rows deep.
The list included a handful of frontrunners, but also a host of nontraditional candidates, including an up-and-coming comedian, a teenager, and one well-known climate activist who says he’s running on behalf of his dog Molly.
Low barriers to entering the race — plus an unexpected opening for the job after John Tory abruptly ended his eight-year-long reign — have led to the largest recorded number of contenders vying to lead one of North America’s largest cities.
That’s compared with 31 candidates in last October’s mayoral contest.
Eighteen-year-old Meir (pronounced “mayor”) Straus’s name appears toward the end of that lanky list. While the leading candidates are focused on issues like housing and transportation policy, the recent high school graduate wanted to eradicate the skunky smell around weed shops, and speed bumps on city roads.
Straus spending the equivalent of a teen’s weekly allowance to run for mayor exemplifies how easy it is to become a contestant compared with other global cities.
Any resident 18 or older can enter the race with minimal paperwork, and without identifying affiliation with any political party. While other big cities require thousands of endorsement signatures, Toronto only requires 25. Even the C$200 filing fee is refundable.
Toronto, Canada’s most populous municipality, chose a new mayor at a critical time for its 3 million residents. A half-dozen serious contenders fought a tense campaign as the city grapples with skyrocketing living costs, a struggling transit system, a stagnant minimum wage and a rise in crime.
After Olivia Chow, who’s next?
Now that you know how easy it is to contest for the Toronto Mayor office, get ready to run when next it comes around.