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Mayoral candidates face off in first debate of Toronto election

Last Updated Sep 24, 2018 at 4:29 pm EDT

A sign directs people to a voting station for an advance poll for Toronto's municipal election on Oct. 19, 2014. CITYNEWS/Cynthia Mulligan

Toronto mayoral candidates including incumbent John Tory and former chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat faced off Monday in the first debate of the municipal election campaign.

The ArtsVote mayoral debate was held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The candidates, which also include Gautam Nath, Sarah Climenhaga and Saron Gebresellassi, discussed the role of arts and culture in the city.

Tory said he’s proud to run on his record of supporting the arts, including Arts in the Parks.

“What’s in my platform in this election? To take public art out to every neighbourhood in the city and let artists and neighbourhoods decide on public art that shouldn’t just be downtown,” he said.

The debate got off to a raucous start when fringe alt-right candidate Faith Goldy, who was not invited to participate, walked on stage and interrupted. She was removed by a police officer.

Two other debates are also being held this week. Global News is hosting a mayoral debate on Tuesday afternoon. And on Wednesday evening, the candidates face off at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus for a debate focused on transit.

The uncertainty over the electoral boundaries had put the election campaign on pause for the most part. But now the vote is definitely set for 25 wards on Oct. 22.