There was a time, before Doug Ford became the Premier of Ontario, that most Toronto city council ward races were determined long before voters marked their ballots.
Incumbent councillors held such a marked advantage, their names glowing with recognition, that re-election was practically a forgone conclusion.
That all changed when Premier Ford defiantly slashed city council from 47 to 25 wards.
Suddenly, veteran incumbent councillors were pitted against each other, turning what was once a humdrum formality into a dramatic battle for political survival.
Here’s a list of the incumbent councillors who were shown the door by voters on Monday:
Giorgio Mammoliti: The outspoken city councillor did not go quietly into the night. Right up until the end, Mammoliti, was making headlines and courting controversy. Over the years, he’s drawn fire over comments about prostitution on Hanlan’s Point, pedophiles in Parkdale, and, most recently, comparing TCH residents to cockroaches. But his fiery act was doused on election night when voters in the newly-created Humber River-Black Creek Ward 7 gave the nod to fellow incumbent, Anthony Perruzza. Upon learning of his loss, Mammoliti was reflective about his past behaviour. “I know I can be the most aggressive politician on the floor, and I apologize to many of my colleagues who may have taken offence over the years,” he said. “But I was just doing my job and I was doing it as best I can.”
Mammoliti began his political career in 1990 when he successfully ran in the provincial election as a member of the NDP. After serving five years as MPP for Yorkview, Mammoliti was elected to North York city council and then, following amalgamation, was elected to Toronto city council.
Norm Kelly: If Twitter followers translated into votes, Norm Kelly would have been a lock to win in Ward 22, Scarborough-Agincourt. But on election night the longtime politician known as “6Dad” was defeated by fellow incumbent, Jim Karygiannis.
Kelly was known for his colourful and at times, comical, Twitter personality, and his friendship with rapper Drake. He even has his own clothing line. But behind the playful online personality was a dedicated public servant with decades of political experience. Kelly was initially elected to council in 1994 in the ward of Scarborough/Wexford and was elected to the new Toronto city council after amalgamation. When then-mayor Rob Ford was stripped of his powers in late 2013, Kelly, as the deputy mayor, took over Ford’s duties.
Kelly was gracious in defeat. “Well you know you take defeat the way you take victory, in stride,” he said on Monday night. “It’s a part of the process. In victory it’s humility in defeat, it’s understanding.
“It truly was a fight,” he concluded. “He (Karygiannis) was throwing everything that he had into it, and we were doing the same thing.”
Joe Mihevc: He had the backing of Mayor John Tory, but longtime city councillor Joe Mihevc found himself up against another popular incumbent in Josh Matlow. When the votes were tallied, the electorate put their faith behind Matlow in Ward 12, Toronto-St. Paul’s. Mihevc entered municipal politics in 1991 and has been a councillor for 27 years, most recently representing Ward 21. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Theology and Social Ethics and has been active on issues such as social justice, affordable housing, transit and human rights.
After learning of his defeat a graceful Mihevc said he was open to working with Matlow on the social issues he’s always championed, but said for now, he’s going to enjoy some down time.
“The victory is his (Matlow’s), and I will find a way personally to move forward. I don’t have a Plan B. I’m going to cocoon for a little while and try and sort out what is the next chapter of my life.”
While campaigning, Mihevc spoke to CityNews about the challenges of running under the new ward boundaries. “Truly it has been an emotional roller-coaster,” he said. “At the beginning there was a feeling that there was two campaigns: one in your old area where there’s lots of love and lots of affection for the local councillor, and then the other side where your name recognition is very limited.”
Other incumbent councillors who lost their seats on Monday night:
Vincent Crisanti: In his time serving Etobicoke North for eight years at city hall, Crisanti received accolades from former mayor Rob Ford and earned a spot as one of John Tory’s Deputy Mayor’s (before losing it when he supported Doug Ford in his brief bid for mayor against John Tory). Crisanti has served on several boards and committees during his time at city hall, including the TTC and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority — Consultative Committee.
John Campbell: Elected to city council in 2014, Campbell previously served as a trustee and then chair of the Toronto District School Board. He’s lived in Etobicoke Centre for over 35 years. He also sits on the TTC Commission, the Planning and Growth Committee and Etobicoke Community Council, as well as serving as Vice Chair of the Budget Committee.
Frank Di Giorgio: Di Giorgio began his political career in 1985 when he was elected to North York council. Di Giorgio became a close ally with North York mayor Mel Lastman, serving on the executive committee and chairing all the major committees including Works, Transportation, Planning Advisory, and Library Board. Following amalgamation, Di Giorgio was elected as city councillor for Ward 12. During the Rob Ford years he served as budget chief. Before politics, Di Giorgio was a high school math teacher.
Maria Augimeri: Augimeri started her career in politics as a school board trustee before being elected to North York council in 1985. After a failed bid at entering provincial politics, Augimeri was elected to Metro Toronto council in 1988 and, following amalgamation, she was elected to represent Ward 9 where she has successfully been re-elected five times. Augimeri serves as Chair of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and is a published author.
Lucy Troisi: Troisi was appointed to what was previously known as Ward 28 – Toronto Centre-Rosedale, in the fall of 2018. The ward had been vacant since the death of Pam McConnell that summer. At the time, Troisi was executive director of the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. Troisi was born and raised in Regent Park. Her areas of focus include poverty reduction, Toronto island flooding protection, and improving the quality of life of residents in her ward.
Mary Fragedakis: Fragedakis was first elected to council in what was previously Ward 29 in 2010. Before that, she spent nine years at Open Dialogue and was one of the founders of the Broadview Community Youth Group. Fragedakis was on the TTC board.
Jon Burnside: Burnside was one of two councillors who represented Don Valley West — previously known as Ward 26. Burnside, a former Toronto police officer who grew up in Leaside, was elected to council in 2014 and served in the mayor’s executive committee. Before entering politics, he left the police force and ran a food delivery service for 14 years.
Michelle Holland-Berardinett: Holland-Berardinetti was first elected to city council in 2010 in what was previously known as Ward 35. She has served on the mayor’s executive committee, Scarborough Community Council, and the Economic Development Committee. She was also named by the mayor as the city’s first chief advocate for the Innovation Economy. As an innovation and technology advocate, she created the Digital Literacy Day in the city.
Neethan Shan: Shan was elected to city council in a by-election held in early 2007, in what was previously known as Ward 42 – Scarborough-Rouge River. Shan was the first Tamil Canadian to sit on council. He has been on various boards and committees, including the Affordable Housing Committee and the Toronto Zoo Board of Management. Before serving on council, Shan was a public school trustee, math teacher, and college professor.
Christin Carmichael Greb: With four years of city council under her belt, Christin Carmichael Greb was first elected to city council in 2014 to succeed Karen Stintz in Ward 16. Born and raised in North Toronto, she sat on the Audit Committee and the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Before entering politics, Carmichael Greb sat on the health board and the library board.