Advance polls to begin in Toronto civic election
Torontonians can start voting on Tuesday as the municipal election campaign steps up its pace heading into its final three weeks.
Eligible voters can cast a ballot at the following polls, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Toronto City Hall rotunda, 100 Queen St. W.
- East York Civic Centre council chamber, 850 Coxwell Ave.
- Etobicoke Civic Centre council chamber, 399 The West Mall
- North York Civic Centre member's lounge, 5100 Yonge St.
- Scarborough Civic Centre committee room 1, 150 Borough Dr.
- York Civic Centre council chamber, 2700 Eglinton Ave. W.
Eligible voters are those who are Canadian citizens, at least 18 years of age and residents of Toronto who are not prohibited from voting by any law. Non-resident owners or tenants of land in Toronto or their spouse can also vote.
The advance voting will continue until Friday and then resume next Tuesday.
Touch screens will be available at these polls to assist voters with visual disabilities. See the Toronto Votes website for more information.
At a Monday afternoon debate, an issue related to the famous bridge debate of the 2003 mayoral campaign surfaced -- a pedestrian tunnel to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
"A passenger tunnel -- which no requires no additional land or involvement from the city, that passes an environment assessment -- is something that might be appropriate to enhance safety," said George Smitherman, the one-time provincial politician who is going to blitz all 44 Toronto wards in a camper tour starting Tuesday.
Former executive Rocco Rossi expressed support for the tunnel concept being pushed by the Toronto Port Authority, the federal agency responsible for Toronto's harbour.
The authority said in July that it wants to build a $45-million tunnel under the Western Passage, to be paid for through a public-private partnership and by increasing the airport improvement fee to $20.
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone -- the candidate considered closest to current Mayor David Miller, who campaigned vigorously in 2003 against building a bridge to the airport --came out squarely against the tunnel.
"If you want regional transportation … the way the rest of the world does it is by fast, high-speed trains," he said.
Porter Airline, the main tenant of the airport, has steadily expanded its offerings of short-haul flights. On Monday, Air Canada said it will start offering flights out of the airport to Montreal in February.
Ford said he supports the current tripartite agreement that limits expansion of flights out of the waterfront airport, but said he wants to hear more.
"You have to talk to the businesses, to the people that use it and find out how essential it is to expand it," he said.
The candidates also discussed
- improved access to the waterfront
- environmental initiatives
- waterfront investment
Ford said the city can't afford to write a blank cheque for the waterfront and that the private sector has to pitch in.
His campaign is planning rallies in the coming days to encourage people to get out and vote. The first one will take place Tuesday at 5 p.m. at his Dixon Road headquarters.
At 12:01 a.m. Monday, teams of volunteers for the various candidates started pounding in the first lawn signs of the campaign.
"Thirty-seven years I've been politically active and putting up signs for other people," Rossi said.
"At 12:01, I got to put up the first sign with my name on it in front of my parents' house where I grew up, and it's a very special feeling."
Toronto is among the last Ontario cities to allow lawn signs this municipal election season -- a move Smitherman criticized.
"I thought it was an extremely cynical move on the part of city council to shorten the sign campaign the way that they did," he said. "That seemed like a very deliberate strategy to make it harder for incumbents to be unseated."
The municipal election takes place on Oct. 25.
With reports by CTV Toronto's Alicia Markson and Galit Solomon