Ending speculation about his ambitions, John Tory says he will remain on the sidelines of the current mayoral race.

"The reason is simple," he wrote in a statement released late Thursday. "I believe I can continue to make significant and hopefully lasting contributions to the future of Toronto through the many projects and organizations I have involved myself in outside of public life."

"In the months and years ahead, I intend to be as activist a citizen as anyone can be," the statement concludes. "I love Toronto. It has provided me and my family with opportunity and a wonderful place to raise our children and grandchildren."

Denzil Minnan-Wong, a conservative councillor who had been urging Tory to enter the race, expressed his disappointment at the decision.

"He would have been a great mayor," Minnan-Wong was quoted as saying in The Star. "He's an incredibly hard worker and he understands the city and he has broad appeal."

There had been speculation that Tory might announce a late bid for mayor. The election will be held on Oct. 25, and candidates have until 2 p.m. on Sept. 10 to file nomination papers or withdraw their candidacies.

Tory ran against David Miller unsuccessfully in 2003.

He also served as leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative party, but led that party to defeat in the 2007 election and lost his own seat in the process. He stepped down as leader after failing to win a March 2009 byelection in what had been a safe Tory riding.

Tory's decision could help Coun. Rob Ford, a leading candidate who's preaching a fiscally conservative message. Tory did very well in suburban Toronto in 2003, where Ford also has strong support.