Toronto has chosen a new mayor who promises “better transit, more jobs and an end to the gridlock that’s choking our streets.”

John Tory beat out challengers Doug Ford and Olivia Chow after a long and hard-fought campaign.

CTV called the election shortly before 8:30 p.m.

By 10 p.m., based on roughly 952,000 votes, Tory had taken 40.3 per cent of the vote, followed by Doug Ford with 33.7 per cent, and Olivia Chow with 23.1 per cent.

“Tonight we begin the work of building one Toronto,” Tory said in his victory speech from the Liberty Grand. “As your new mayor I will work with the people Toronto elected tonight to move Toronto not left, not right, but forward.”

Tory promised to get his SmartTrack transit plan built in seven years. The proposal would add frequent train service to GO Transit rail lines, and would have 22 stops.

“The task at hand is monumental, but I know that with the right leadership at City Hall, better days are ahead,” he added.

Tory inherits the job from a man who made Toronto the focus of an international attention after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” and then sought re-election – only to drop out in September after learning he has cancer.

Rob Ford, elected in 2010 after promising to “stop the gravy train” of spending at City Hall, found himself politically isolated, voting against the vast majority of the city’s 44 councillors by the end of his term. His brother Doug Ford was often the lone councillor on his side.

Doug Ford entered the mayoral race on the last possible day in September, vowing to continue his brother’s legacy. He campaigned with the message that the Fords had saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and that they would build subway lines instead of surface rail.

Is the Ford saga over?

On Monday, Rob Ford easily won the council seat for Ward 2 in Etobicoke -- a contest he entered after dropping out of the mayor’s race. He got 58.8 per cent of the vote there.

Shortly after the mayor’s race was called, Rob Ford rallied the troops of “Ford Nation” at a banquet hall in Etobicoke.

“If you know anything about the Ford family, we never ever, ever give up,” said Rob Ford, “And I guarantee, in four more years, you’re going to see another example of the Ford family never ever, ever giving up.”

Soon after, Doug Ford emerged at the banquet hall to congratulate Tory on his win, thank his staff and remind voters of the Ford brothers’ legacy. He touted their success cutting a $60 vehicle registration tax and securing funding for a subway to Scarborough, rather than surface rail.  

“Friends, it is rewarding to know that we are living in a much better shape than we found this city four years ago,” he said in his concession speech, “We introduced the idea of government for the people.”

Asked whether he would run again, Doug Ford responded, “I can’t look forward that far. I just want to deal (with) today.”

Chow offers Tory “a hand”

Olivia Chow, former New Democrat MP and wife of the late Jack Layton, was leading in the polls early in the election campaign, but faded to third place on Election Day.

In her concession speech, delivered to supporters at Daniels Spectrum in the Regent Park neighbourhood shortly after 8:40 p.m., Chow implored her supporters to keep working to build a “progressive city.”

She also had a message for mayor-elect Tory.

“John, you know children are going to school hungry,” she said. “Too many families are looking for (an) affordable home… and too many people are living in poverty. John, you’ve just been given a chance to do something about it.”

“All of us here stand ready to help you, as you get to work on making Toronto a great city,” she added. “We will give you a hand.”

Who is Toronto’s new mayor, John Tory?

John Tory, 60, is a well-connected lawyer, businessman and politician who has run and lost before. He came second in the 2003 mayoral race, with 38 per cent of the vote to David Miller’s 43 per cent.

Tory also led the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party to a defeat in 2007, which many blamed on his unpopular proposal to fund schools for all faiths (not just Catholic).

Tory earned an arts degree from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 1975 and a law degree from Osgoode Hall at York University in 1979.

He joined Rogers as a radio journalist that year, but soon moved on to the family firm, Torys LLP.

He went on to work for PC premier Bill Davis and PC Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell, running the latter’s disastrous 1993 re-election campaign.

In 1995, he returned to Rogers as a CEO, and stayed until 2004.

After his provincial defeat, he hosted an afternoon radio show on NewsTalk 1010 and co-founded the CivicAction Alliance, a non-partisan region-building group that campaigns for better transit.

Tory has a reputation as a “red Tory,” having supported socially-liberal causes. Egale Canada praised him in 2004 for supporting same-sex marriage.

He has received many awards for his volunteerism and philanthropy, including the African Canadian Achievement Award in 2010.

Pollster Nik Nanos said that while Tory’s win matched most of the polls, Doug Ford’s second-place showing was, “very respectable.”

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