Maria Augimeri

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Maria Augimeri
Maria augimeri.jpg
Maria Augimeri in February 2007.
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 9) York Centre
In office
December 1, 2000 – December 1, 2018
Preceded byWard Created
Succeeded byJames Pasternak
Chair of the North York Community Council
Assumed office
June 16, 2005
Preceded byDenzil Minnan-Wong
Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission
In office
February 19, 2014 – November 30, 2014
Preceded byKaren Stintz
Succeeded byJosh Colle
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 7) Black Creek
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 1, 2000
Preceded byWard Created
Succeeded byWard Abolished
Metro Toronto City Councillor for Black Creek
In office
December 1, 1988 – January 1, 1998
Preceded byWard Created
Succeeded byCity Amalgamated
North York City Councillor for Ward 5
In office
December 1, 1985 – December 1, 1988
Succeeded byAnthony Perruzza
Personal details
Born1954 (age 64–65)
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Odoardo Di Santo
ResidenceToronto, Ontario
OccupationSocial Anthropologist

Maria Augimeri (About this soundlisten) (born c. 1954[1]) was a North York, Metropolitan Toronto and Toronto city councillor for the years 1985–2018.


Augimeri moved to Canada with her family at age two. Before entering politics, she was a Social Anthropologist at York University. An Italian-Canadian, she has written three books on the Italian-Canadian community and is also a published poet.


She first entered politics as a school trustee, and was elected to the city council of North York in 1985. She ran for the Ontario New Democratic Party in the 1987 provincial election in the riding of Downsview. (Her husband, Odoardo Di Santo, had held the riding for ten years before losing it in the 1985 election.) She lost to Liberal Laureano Leone by 174 votes.

Augimeri was elected to the Metro Toronto council in 1988, and remained on that council until the creation of the new city of Toronto in 1997. She was elected councillor to the new city council three times. She was known for promoting environmental awareness and cultural issues.

She was endorsed for re-election by the Toronto Star newspaper in 2003.[2]

The local weekly newspaper Now Magazine also gave her an endorsement in 2000.[3]

On August 10, 2008, a massive propane explosion in Augimeri's riding destroyed a propane distribution facility which caused the evacuation of thousands of residents. Augimeri cut short a summer vacation in Italy and returned to Toronto to assist with the situation. During a press conference, she became involved in a heated discussion with Tony Di Santo, head of the local ratepayer's group. She said, "If people have problems of a partisan nature they should not be using the death of a firefighter... So shut up!" Later she apologized for losing her temper, "letting my anger" (get in the way) in her words.[4]

2010 municipal election[edit]

The 2010 Toronto municipal election was held on October 25. Augimeri won by an 89-vote margin (0.7%) over local businessman Gus Cusimano. Augimeri thanked her supporters the following day on October 26, 2010 when she said, "I know a lot of the community voted for me because they know I'm the one to protect community interests."[5]

Cusimano later announced that he would challenge the results. The matter was heard in court on March 29, 2011.[6] The judge ruled that there were enough irregularities in the 2010 voting that the election should be held again. Initially the city's legal staff said they would be appealing the decision but on May 13 it was announced that the city would not launch an appeal. City Clerk Uli Watkiss said in a statement, "The decision to proceed with a by-election and resolve this matter as quickly as possible is in the best interest of the public, the individuals directly affected, and the workings of Council."[7] The mayor's office supported the decision. Rob Ford's press secretary Adrienne Batra said, "Obviously the mayor supported (Cusimano) during the general election and once the byelection gets under way he will be fully supporting him again."[8]

On May 16, Augimeri announced that she would be appealing the decision herself. She said the by-election would cost $525,000.[note 1] She said, "The clerk’s advice not to appeal does harm to taxpayers as well as to the integrity of our electoral system."[9] On August 4, the city reversed its decision and decided to join the appeal which was held in September 2011.[10] On December 19, the court ruled in Augimeri's favour. A three judge panel ruled that although 300 ballots were unsigned by electoral officers the people voting were very likely eligible to vote and that this would have no effect on the election. In a related judgement, they also ruled that Cusimano incorrectly voted in the Ward 9 election because he lived in another riding. They decided that no further action was necessary.[11]

Augimeri was appointed Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission in February 2014 upon the resignation of Karen Stintz to run for Mayor of Toronto in the 2014 Toronto election winning appointment over Josh Colle Stintz's preferred successor.[12]

2018 municipal election[edit]

In the 2018 Toronto municipal election, which saw many incumbent councillors running directly against each other due to a reduction in the number of council seats by the Better Local Government Act, Augimeri was defeated by James Pasternak, a fellow incumbent. After losing to Pasternak by over 2000 votes, she blamed the Better Local Government Act, noting that she would have won in her old ward.[13]

Election results[edit]


Ontario general election, 1987: Downsview
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Laureano Leone 11,832 46.80 +2.88
New Democratic Maria Augimeri 11,658 46.11 +3.06
     Progressive Conservative Drew McCreadie 1,788 7.07 −5.94
Total valid votes 25278 100.00


2014 Toronto election, Ward 9
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 6,373 42.74%
Gus Cusimano 4,230 28.37%
Anthony Fernando 3,367 22.58%
Danny Quattrociocchi 562 3.77%
Ances Hercules 248 1.66%
Wilson Basantes 130 0.87%
Total 14,910 100%
2010 Toronto election, Ward 9[14]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 5,452 44.3
Gus Cusimano 5,363 43.6
Gianfranco Amendola 1,082 8.8
Wilson Basantes 259 2.1
Stefano Picone 142 1.2
Total 12,298 100
2006 Toronto election, Ward 9[15]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 7,256 77.6
Vlad Protsenko 2,100 22.4
Total 9,356 100
2003 Toronto election, Ward 9[16]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 7,898 74.1
Anna Oppedisano 1,061 9.9
Richard Baldachino 779 7.3
Annmarie Robb 487 4.5
Domenic D'Abruzzo 422 4.2
Total 10,647 100
2000 Toronto election, Ward 9[17]
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 8,698 72.3
Anna Oppedisano 2,816 23.4
Richard Baldachino 504 4.3
Total 12,018 100
1997 Toronto election, Ward 7
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 11,243 28.01
Peter Li Preti 9,747 24.28
Maria Rizzo 8,850 22.05
Anthony Perruzza 6,347 15.81
Anna Stella 2,961 7.38
Jeanelle Julien 523 1.30
Abdulhaq Omar 467 1.16
Total valid votes 40,138 100.00


  • Italian-Canadians, a cross section. 1978. National Congress of Italian-Canadians. Ottawa.
  • Calabrese folklore. 1985. National Museums of Canada. Ottawa.


  1. ^ The cost of the ward 9 by-election is estimated at $175,000. The court decision also affected a school trustee election and that election would cost $350,000 since it spans two wards.


  1. ^ "Maria Augimeri, NDP; Age: 33, North York alderman". April 9, 1987.
  2. ^ "Star's selections for city council". EDITORIAL Section. Toronto Star. November 7, 2003. pp. A26. Retrieved February 22, 2007.
  3. ^ Anderson, Scott; Enzo Di Matteo (November 9, 2000). "Now's Election PICKS a ward by ward voters' GUIDE". Newsfront. Now Magazine. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2007.
  4. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (August 14, 2008). "Augimeri says sorry for 'shut up' outburst, says she 'blew up' after people 'took pot shots at me'". National Post. Retrieved November 3, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Queen, Lisa; Sunshine Fannie (October 26, 2010). "Ward 9: Augimeri scores 89-vote victory". Inside Toronto. Toronto Community News. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  6. ^ Nickle, David (February 4, 2011). "Ward 9 to be challenged in court". Inside Toronto. Toronto Community News. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  7. ^ "Augimeri to face new vote". CBC Toronto. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 13, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  8. ^ Peat, Don (May 13, 2011). "Byelection a go in Augimeri's Ward 9". Toronto Sun. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  9. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (May 16, 2011). "Councillor Augimeri to appeal byelection decision". National Post. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  10. ^ Rider, David (August 4, 2011). "Mississauga asks to join Augimeri-Cusimano appeal". Toronto Star. TorStar. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  11. ^ Dale, Daniel (December 19, 2011). "Ward 9 byelection rejected, Augimeri to stay". Toronto Star. TorStar. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "James Pasternak beats fellow incumbent Maria Augimeri in Ward 6, York Centre | The Star". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  14. ^ City of Toronto elections page Archived October 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ City Clerk's Official Declaration 2006 Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ City Clerk's Official Declaration 2003 Archived April 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Toronto Election Results Ward 9 Archived October 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]