Monday, October 27, 2014

less-than-great moments in toronto municipal election history department: anne mcbride, 1980

Toronto Sun, November 3, 1980.
After a nine-month slog, the 2014 municipalelection campaign draws to a close today. Amid its stranger-than-fiction twists and turns, a sad truth has emerged: there is a segment of Torontonians who have discovered they can get away with boldly displaying small-minded attitudes we like to sweep under the carpet. As Ward 2 candidate Andray Domise observed in atweet this morning referring to a gawdawful Andy Donato cartoon of Olivia Chow published in the Sun, one of the campaign's big problems is "that we've given racists, sexists, xenophobes a platform of legitimacy in TO politics." From attacks on Chow's ethnicity to the mutilation of signs for Islamic candidates, it hasn't been pretty.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

vote brillinger (the druggist)

The Telegram, December 28, 1923.
Does being the first name atop a ballot help one's political career? Likely not; otherwise, Said Aly would be among the critical contenders in this year's Toronto mayoral race (though thankfully his name sits just ahead of our city's perennial racist candidate).

It didn't aid Magnus Austin Brillinger (1882-1939) in the 1924 race for the two trustee positions up for grabs in Ward 6. When the votes were tallied on New Year's Day, he finished third behind future TTC chair W.C. McBrien and veteran board member Dr. John Hunter.

Better luck next year for the St. Clair Avenue West pharmacist, right?

Friday, October 17, 2014

election night score sheet, get yer election night score sheet

Toronto Star, December 5, 1960. Click on image for larger version
I suspect there are devoted municipal election junkies, especially among Twitterati, who'd love a sheet like this at their fingertips on October 27. Adjustments would be required for the present day: five minute increments on the chart would suit the rapid pace of the internet age (or two-and-a-half if your handwriting is as small as mine is). The suburban mayoral races of 1960 would be replaced with either key council battles or, for the truly dedicated, all 44 wards.

Monday, October 13, 2014

bonus features: william dennison

This post offers supplementary material for an article I wrote for Torontoist, which you should read before diving into this piece.

Source: The Telegram, Dec 6, 1966.
While researching this piece, I was struck at several parallels between Dennison and Rob Ford, namely what we'd now call "retail politics" and campaigning on being mindful of taxpayer dollars. (There were major differences: Dennison was a teetotaller, displayed leftist tendencies during his early political career, and didn't make a public spectacle of himself). Several months before the 1966 municipal election, Toronto Star city hall columnist Ron Haggart looked at Dennison's chances, using language that could have been adapted by his successors in 2010:
But Dennison can by no means be written off. He has helped literally thousands of ordinary persons during his years as an alderman and controller at City Hall. He efficiently keeps in touch at election time with those whose problems have crossed his desk. He has an independence from, even a coolness toward, the City Hall Establishment which has earned him a reputation as a man who fights City Hall at City Hall.