John Tory

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John Tory
Mayor John Tory in Toronto at the Good Friday Procession - 2018 (27264606888) (cropped).jpg
Tory in 2018
65th Mayor of Toronto
Assumed office
December 1, 2014
Preceded byRob Ford
Leader of the Opposition in Ontario
In office
March 29, 2005 – October 10, 2007
Preceded byBob Runciman
Succeeded byBob Runciman
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
In office
September 28, 2004 – March 20, 2009
Preceded byErnie Eves
Succeeded byBob Runciman (interim)
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey
In office
March 29, 2005 – October 10, 2007
Preceded byErnie Eves
Succeeded bySylvia Jones
Personal details
John Howard Tory

(1954-05-28) May 28, 1954 (age 68)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Progressive Conservative
Barbara Hackett
(m. 1978)
Residence(s)Toronto, Ontario
Alma materTrinity College, Toronto (BA)
Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB)
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • businessman
WebsiteOffice of the Mayor

John Howard Tory OOnt KC (born May 28, 1954) is a Canadian politician who has served as the 65th and current mayor of Toronto since 2014.

After a career as a lawyer, political strategist and businessman, Tory ran as a mayoral candidate in the 2003 Toronto municipal election and lost to David Miller. Tory subsequently served as the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party from 2004 to 2009, and was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario representing Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey and serving as the leader of the Opposition in Ontario from 2005 to 2007.

After his resignation as PC leader in 2009, Tory became a radio talk show host on CFRB. Despite widespread speculation that he would run for mayor again in 2010, he announced in January that he would not be a candidate. He was the volunteer chair of the non-profit group CivicAction from 2010 to 2014. On February 24, 2014, he registered as a candidate for the 2014 mayoral election. On October 27, 2014, Tory was elected mayor of Toronto, defeating incumbent mayor Rob Ford's brother, councillor Doug Ford and former councillor and member of Parliament (MP) Olivia Chow. On October 22, 2018, he was re-elected mayor of Toronto in the 2018 mayoral election, defeating former chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat.[1] He was elected for a third term as mayor on October 24th, 2022 after defeating prominent urbanist Gil Peñalosa.[2]

Early life[edit]

Tory, the eldest of four, was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Elizabeth (née Bacon) and John A. Tory, president of Thomson Investments Limited and a director of Rogers Communications.[3] His grandfather was lawyer John S. D. Tory and his great-grandfather founded Sun Life of Canada.[4] Tory has two brothers, Michael and Jeffrey, and one sister, Jennifer.[4]

One of Tory's ancestors, James Tory, was a soldier in the 71st Scottish Regiment. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war during the American Revolution. He later settled in Nova Scotia in the 1780s.[3]

His maternal grandmother, Helen Yvonne Solomon, was born in 1909 to a Russian Jewish family that had immigrated to Canada six years earlier and settled in Toronto.[5]

Helen Solomon married Howard English Bacon, an Anglican, and their daughter Elizabeth Bacon was raised a Christian and married Tory's father, John A. Tory, in 1953.[5]

Tory is a member of the United Church of Canada. Like his father and grandfather, he attended the University of Toronto Schools, at the time a publicly funded high school affiliated with the University of Toronto.[6][7] He received his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 1975.[8] He received his bachelor of laws degree in 1978 from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.[9] He was called to the bar in Ontario in 1980.[9]

Business career[edit]

From 1972 to 1979, Tory was hired by family friend Ted Rogers as a journalist for Rogers Broadcasting's Toronto radio stations CFTR and CHFI. From 1980 to 1981, and later from 1986 to 1995, Tory held various positions at Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington including partner, managing partner, and member of the Executive Committee.[10]

From 1981 to 1985, Tory served in the office of the premier of Ontario, Bill Davis, as principal secretary to the premier and associate secretary of the cabinet. After Davis retired as premier in 1985, Tory joined the office of the Canadian Special Envoy on Acid Rain, as special advisor. The special envoy had been appointed by the Mulroney government to review matters of air quality with a United States counterpart. Tory supported Dianne Cunningham's bid to lead the Ontario PCs in 1990.[11]

Tory later served as tour director and campaign chairman to then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and managed the 1993 federal election campaign of Mulroney's successor, Kim Campbell. In his role as the Progressive Conservative campaign co-manager that year, he authorized two infamous campaign ads that ridiculed Liberal candidate Jean Chretien's face, which is partially paralyzed due to a childhood disease. The ads were greeted with much outcry among the Canadian public. They were withdrawn ten days after their first airings, and the Progressive Conservatives would proceed to be decimated in the federal election.[12]

From 1995 to 1999, he returned to Rogers Communications, but this time as president and CEO of Rogers Media[13] which had become one of Canada's largest publishing and broadcasting companies. Rogers has interests in radio and television stations, internet, specialty television channels, consumer magazines, trade magazines and, at the time, the Toronto Sun and the Sun newspaper chain.

In 1999, he became president and CEO of Rogers subsidiary Rogers Cable, which he led through a period of transition from a monopoly environment to an open marketplace, overseeing a significant increase in operating income. Tory stepped down after Ted Rogers announced that he would stay on as president and CEO of parent company Rogers Communications. He served as the ninth commissioner of the Canadian Football League from 1996 to 2000.[13]

Tory continued to have an interest in being a broadcaster throughout his life and, as a Rogers executive, hosted a public affairs program on Rogers Cable's community access channel for many years. He sat as a board member of Metro Inc., the Quebec-based parent corporation for Metro and Food Basics grocery stores.[14]

Toronto mayoral election campaign, 2003[edit]

After six years as a key backer of retiring Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, Tory ran in the November 2003 election for mayor of Toronto. He finished in second place, behind councillor David Miller and ahead of former mayor Barbara Hall, former councillor and MP John Nunziata, and former councillor and budget chief Tom Jakobek.

Tory and Miller both entered the race with limited name recognition and support, but each quickly claimed a core base—Miller among progressives and Tory among more conservative voters. Meanwhile, Hall's initially commanding lead slowly dissipated over the course of the campaign, and the campaigns of both Nunziata and Jakobek were sidelined by controversies.[citation needed]

Tory also accepted an endorsement from the Toronto Police Association. He held the traditional suburban conservative vote that had helped to elect Mel Lastman in the 1997 mayor's campaign, but lost the overall vote to Miller in a close race. After the election, Tory helped Miller and Hall raise funds to repay their campaign debts.[citation needed]

Leader of the Ontario PC Party[edit]

In March 2004, Tory hinted that he would be seeking the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives, after Ernie Eves announced his intention to resign from that post. The provincial PC leadership election was announced for September 18, 2004, and Tory made his candidacy official on May 6, 2004. John Laschinger was appointed to be Tory's campaign manager. Tory won the support of former provincial cabinet ministers Elizabeth Witmer, David Tsubouchi, Jim Wilson, Janet Ecker, Chris Hodgson, Cam Jackson, Phil Gillies and Bob Runciman as well as backbench members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) Norm Miller, Laurie Scott, Ted Arnott and John O'Toole.

Tory's opponents for the leadership post were former provincial minister of finance Jim Flaherty and Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees. Tory defeated Flaherty 54% to 46% on the second ballot. When Flaherty later left provincial politics to seek a seat in the House of Commons as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, Tory endorsed his former rival in the 2006 election; Flaherty was elected and was appointed the federal minister of finance. Tory also campaigned prominently with Flaherty's wife Christine Elliott in the provincial by-election held March 30, enabling her to win the seat formerly held by her husband.

Tory told the media in November 2004 that he would seek election to the legislature in time for the spring 2005 legislative session.

On January 31, 2005, after much public speculation and some delay, Ernie Eves resigned his seat and cleared the way for Tory to run in Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, the safest PC seat in the province. As a "parachute candidate", Tory faced some criticism about his commitment to the riding. Nevertheless, he easily won the March 17, 2005 by-election with 56% of the vote. Former premier Bill Davis appeared for Tory's first session in the legislature as PC leader.

2007 Ontario general election[edit]

Tory in Guelph, September 24, 2007

In the 2007 general election, Tory ran in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West, the area where he grew up, raised his family and lived most of his life.

Tory released his platform on June 9, 2007. The platform, A Plan for a Better Ontario, commits a PC government to eliminate the health care tax introduced by the previous government, put scrubbers on coal-fired power plants,[15] address Ontario's doctor shortage,[16] allow new private health care partnerships provided services are paid by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP),[17] impose more penalties on illegal land occupations in response to the Caledonia land dispute,[18] fast-track the building of nuclear power plants,[19] and invest the gas tax in public transit and roads.[20] A costing of the platform released in August estimated that the PC promises would cost an additional $14 billion over four years.[21]

The PC campaign was formally launched on September 3.[22] Most of the campaign was dominated by discussion of his plan to extend public funding to Ontario's faith-based separate schools,[23] during which Tory supported allowing the teaching of creationism in religious studies classes.[24] Earlier in the year, indications were that the party would have been a strong contender to win the election, but the school funding promise resulted in the Liberals regaining the lead in popular support for the duration of the campaign.[25] Later in the campaign, in the face of heavy opposition, Tory promised a free vote on the issue.[26]

With the beginning of the official campaign period on September 10, the PC campaign made clear its intention to make the previous government's record a key issue. In particular, Tory focused on the Liberals' 2003 election and 2004 pre-budget promise not to raise taxes and their subsequent imposition of a health care tax.[27]

On election night, the PCs made minor gains and remained the Official Opposition while Dalton McGuinty's Liberals were re-elected with a majority. Tory was defeated in Don Valley West by the incumbent Ontario Liberal MPP, Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne.[28] Although Tory was defeated in both his riding of Don Valley West and the race for the premiership, he said that he would stay on as leader unless the party wanted him to resign.[25][29]

Leading from outside the legislature[edit]

As a result of the election loss, the party decided to hold a leadership review vote at its 2008 general party meeting in London.[30] Tory received 66.9 percent support, lower than internal tracking which showed him in the more comfortable 70 percent range. Three hours after the leadership review vote, Tory announced to the delegates that he would be staying on as leader.[31] He came under heavy criticism from several party members following this delay, with his opponents signalling that they would continue to call for an end to what they called his 'weak' leadership.[32] Other party members supported Tory, saying that his opponents should accept the results and move on.[31][32]

Throughout 2008, Tory's leadership of the party was perceived to be tenuous, as he faced widespread criticism for his seeming failure to convince a sitting MPP to resign in order to open a seat for him. Most notably, Bill Murdoch called for Tory to resign as party leader in September, resulting in his suspension from the party caucus on September 12.[33] Six days later, Murdoch was permanently expelled from the party caucus. In December 2008, media pundits speculated that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would appoint PC MPP Bob Runciman to the Senate in order to clear the way for Tory to run in Runciman's comfortably safe riding of Leeds—Grenville. However, Harper did not do so.

On January 9, 2009, PC MPP Laurie Scott announced her resignation from the legislature, allowing Tory to run in the resulting by-election in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, a normally safe PC riding in central Ontario. In exchange for agreeing to resign, Scott was given the post of chair of the party's election preparedness committee until the 2011 election, and $100,000 in severance pay.[34][35] On March 5, 2009, he lost the by-election to Liberal candidate Rick Johnson.[36] Tory announced his resignation from the party leadership the next day and was succeeded by Bob Runciman as interim leader; Runciman had served twice as leader of the opposition during the two times Tory did not have a seat in the legislature. Niagara West—Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak won the 2009 Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership election to become party leader and opposition leader.[37]

Return to broadcasting[edit]

Tory seated at a television studio set with Sandra Pupatello in January 2013

Several weeks following the end of his provincial political career, Tory announced he was returning to broadcasting, to host a Sunday evening phone-in show on Toronto talk radio station CFRB. The John Tory Show simulcast on CHAM in Hamilton and CKTB in St. Catharines.[38] He was also looking for opportunities in business, law or the non-profit sector.[39]

In the fall of 2009, CFRB moved Tory to its Monday to Friday afternoon slot, for a new show, Live Drive, airing from 4pm to 7pm.[40] The show first broadcast on October 5, 2009.[41] Tory's last broadcast was February 21, 2014, after which he declared his candidacy for mayor.[42]

Toronto mayoral run speculation, 2010[edit]

Tory was considering challenging incumbent Toronto Mayor David Miller in the 2010 municipal election as was Ontario Deputy Premier George Smitherman.[40] On September 25, 2009, Miller announced he was not running for re-election.[43] Tory announced on January 7 that he was not running in order to continue his radio show and also become head of the Toronto City Summit Alliance.[44][45][46][47][48] On August 5, 2010, after a week of press speculation that he was about to re-enter the race, Tory confirmed that he would not be running in 2010 for mayor of Toronto.[49]

Mayor of Toronto[edit]

2014 mayoral election[edit]

Tory on stage with other mayoral candidates prior to a debate, June 2014

Tory registered as a candidate for the 2014 Toronto mayoral election on February 24, 2014. In his launch video he stated that building a Yonge Street relief line was "job one" if elected mayor.[50] On May 27, he announced his Toronto relief plan, entitled SmartTrack, providing electric commuter rail along existing GO train infrastructure with service from Unionville to Pearson Airport.[51][52] SmartTrack construction has still not begun as well as having seen several changes.[53] On October 27, 2014, Tory was elected as mayor of Toronto.[54]

Community Contacts Policy[edit]

Soon after the 2014 election, the Toronto Police Services Board – with new member Tory – quashed rules governing the use of the Community Contacts Policy ("carding"),[55] a controversial practice allowing police to randomly and routinely stop and demand identification and personal information from any individual deemed suspicious.[56] The information collected is kept on record for an unspecified period and is easily accessible by police officers.[56] Opponents allege it disproportionately targets black people.[57]

The previous rules, brought in by former police chief Bill Blair, had required police to inform stopped individuals of their rights and to keep a record of each stop.[56] Blair had also suspended the practice pending new rules.[56] Despite public demand from a wide range of prominent Torontonians to completely end carding, Tory continued for a brief period to defend the policy in general, stating it needed to be reformed but not stopped.[57]

On June 7, 2015, Tory called for an end to the policy, stating it had "eroded the public trust" and that the issue was among "the most personally agonizing" during his tenure as mayor.[58]

Transit issues[edit]

Tory speaking during the opening ceremony for the 514 Cherry streetcar line

Tory supports renovating the Gardiner Expressway east of Jarvis Street. The head of Civic Action and has also called for spending 1 billion dollars to renovate the structure. Other politicians, including former mayor David Crombie and former chief city planner and 2018 Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat oppose the renovation of the Gardiner Expressway, and prefer to tear it down instead.[59][60][61] On this issue, three members of his executive committee oppose him.[62]

Tory supports a one-stop extension of Toronto subway Line 2 to serve a proposed transit hub at the Scarborough Town Centre[63] as opposed to the three-stop Scarborough previously approved and fully funded under Ford.[64][65][66] The LRT alternative failed in council in 2016.[67] The Scarborough Subway Extension has completed the planning stage and as of 2016 was in the detailed design stage, with an estimated operation date of 2023.[68]

Rail Deck Park[edit]

In August 2016, Tory proposed the development of a 21-acre greenspace in the downtown core constructed above the Railway Lands. The proposed park, for which no funds have been allocated, would span between the Rogers Centre and Bathurst Street.[69]

2018 mayoral election[edit]

On May 1, 2018, Tory registered his candidacy for re-election.[70]

The percentage of the vote won by John Tory in each municipal ward in Toronto's 2018 mayoral election

Tory retained a high approval rating at 58%, with only 24% disapproving, and 18% undecided. He was a front runner in the polls for the mayoral election at 65–70% support.[71]

Tory was re-elected mayor of Toronto on October 22, 2018, defeating former chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat with 63.49% of the vote.[72][73]


Tory has promised to keep property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation. He had previously made the same promise during the last municipal election and kept it as mayor.[74]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

On March 23, 2020, a state of emergency was declared in Toronto by Tory, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto.[75][76] This came six days after Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province,[77] which included prohibition of all public events of over 50 people (later reduced to 5 people on March 28), closure of bars and restaurants (with the exception that restaurants may continue to provide takeout and delivery services) as well as libraries, theatres, cinemas, schools and daycares.[78][79] On March 31, Tory announced that the City of Toronto would cancel all city-led major events, festivals, conferences, permits and cultural programs until June 30.[80]

Beginning after Canada Day, street parking enforcement as well as fare evasion enforcement returned to Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission respectively.[81] From July 2, 2020 face masks or coverings were been required to be worn on the TTC.[82] After July 7, masks were required in enclosed, public places.[83]

Detasking the city police[edit]

On June 25, 2020, Tory tabled a motion to "detask" the Toronto Police Service in response to calls for police reform sparked by the police murder of George Floyd and a series of similar incidents in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada such as the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.[84] Under the proposal, duties currently assigned to sworn officers would be assumed by "alternative models of community safety response" to incidents where neither violence nor weapons are at issue, such as some calls regarding persons suffering mental health crises, with the specific redirected duties and alternative models to be developed based on a report that the motion would commission.[84] The proposal would "commit that its first funding priority for future budgets [be] centered [sic] on a robust system of social supports and services" and make an itemized line-by-line breakdown of the police budget public; a reduction in the police budget would likely ensue, according to the motion.[84]

In March 2022, the city launched the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilot program.[85]

Personal life[edit]

Tory has been married to Barbara Hackett, a home builder and renovator, since 1978.[86] They met in 1976 at York University, where they both studied law and Hackett also studied business.[4] Hackett was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome in 1991.[4] They have four children. Tory is a member of the United Church of Canada.


In 2012, Tory was made a member of the Order of Ontario in recognition for being "a consummate champion for the Greater Toronto Region as a founding member and chair of CivicAction and chairs and volunteers on countless fundraising campaigns".[87] Tory is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.[88][89] In 2011 Tory was awarded a Harry Jerome Award for his work as co-chair of DiverseCity.[90]

Election results[edit]

2022 Toronto mayoral election Unofficial results as of 2:42:30 AM Tuesday, October 25, 2022[91]
Candidate Votes %
John Tory 342,158 62.00
Gil Penalosa 98,525 17.85
Chloe-Marie Brown 34,821 6.31
Blake Acton 8893 1.61
27 other candidates 67,493 12.22
Total 551,890 100.00
2018 Toronto mayoral election
Candidate Votes %
John Tory 479,659 63.49
Jennifer Keesmaat 178,193 23.59
Faith Goldy 25,667 3.40
Saron Gebresellasi 15,222 2.01
64 other candidates 56,752 7.51
Total 755,493 100.00
2014 Toronto mayoral election
Candidate Votes %
John Tory 394,775 40.28
Doug Ford 330,610 33.73
Olivia Chow 226,879 23.15
64 other candidates 27,913 2.84
Total 980,177 100.00

Ontario provincial by-election, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock March 5, 2009 due to resignation of Laurie Scott
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Rick Johnson 15,542 43.88 +14.37
Progressive Conservative John Tory 14,595 41.20 -8.79
Green Mike Schreiner 2,330 6.58 -0.58
New Democratic Lyn Edwards 2,112 5.96 -5.95
Independent Jason Taylor 280 0.79
Family Coalition Jake Pothaar 258 0.73 +0.11
Freedom Bill Denby 140 0.40 -0.41
Independent John Turmel 94 0.27
Libertarian Paolo Fabrizio 72 0.20
Total valid votes 35,423 100.00
  Liberal gain from Progressive Conservative Swing +11.58
Source: Elections Ontario[92]
2007 Ontario general election: Don Valley West
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Kathleen Wynne 23,059 50.4 -
Progressive Conservative John Tory 18,136 39.7 -
Green Adrian Walker 2,202 4.8 -
New Democratic Mike Kenny 2,135 4.7 -
Family Coalition Daniel Kidd 183 0.4 -
Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey by-election, March 17, 2005
resignation of Ernie Eves
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative John Tory 15,610 56.3
Liberal Bob Duncanson 4,625 16.7
New Democratic Lynda McDougall 3,881 14.0
Green Frank de Jong 2,767 10.0
Family Coalition Paul Micelli 479 1.7
Independent William Cook 163 0.6
Libertarian Philip Bender 135 0.5
Independent John Turmel 85 0.3
2003 Toronto municipal election, Mayor of Torontoedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
David Miller 299,385 43.26
John Tory 263,189 38.03
Barbara Hall 63,751 9.21
John Nunziata 36,021 5.20
Tom Jakobek 5,277 0.76
39 other candidates 24,462 3.53
Total valid votes 692,085 100.00

For full results, see Results of the 2003 Toronto election.


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