Four contenders for Toronto's top job used an afternoon debate to push simplified platforms to voters on Wednesday.

The debate was hosted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and The Globe and Mail.

It was held just days after a poll showed candidate John Tory with a commanding lead, with Rob Ford in second, Olivia Chow in third, and David Soknacki trailing behind.

'No one, but no one, can buy the Fords.'

Though most of Ford's comments were focused on building subways across the city, he addressed criticisms of his ties to a family business. He said there was no conflict of interest, despite the fact that he remains a silent partner at Deco Labels.

"That's a first," Tory said of Ford being silent, and Ford laughed, shaking his head.

Ford proposed a major subway expansion, and said that voters shouldn't "fix what's not broken."

"This city is in the best financial shape it's ever been in," he said, adding that condo and transit development would create jobs and bring more money to the city.

'I was the opposition leader, Rob.'

Ford brought up Tory's experience as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario from 2005 to 2009, saying Tory didn't save the province any money.

"I was the opposition leader, Rob," Tory interjected, saying he constantly fought the leading Liberals about spending at the time.

"But you didn't save any money," Ford said.

Tory brought up the importance of being able to work with city council members and representatives of other levels of government. He said he's concerned about gridlock in the city, and wants to keep property taxes at or below the rate of inflation. He said his vision of the city is "more livable, more affordable, more functional."

'The mayor that delivers, not the mayor that makes excuses.'

Soknacki said he'd want to be remembered as the mayor that delivers on his promises by setting realistic goals.

As mayor, the current city councillor said he'd look for opportunities for savings in big budgets, like police and emergency medical services, then invest in housing, parks and community service areas. He called Ford's and Tory's subway proposals "fantasy transit plans" and recommended beefing up the city's conflict of interest rules, referencing Tory's and Ford's ties to the business world.

'We need a change of direction.'

Chow said her experience as Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina proves she knows the community. She said downtown Toronto is vibrant, prosperous and happy, but there's a need for growth.

She said she wanted to invest in job creation and transit expansion, and that the city needed a change in leadership to improve itself.

"We need a change of direction for a better city," she said.

Replay the debate in tweets from our reporters who were live at the scene.