New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton was the Member of Parliament of the riding until his death on August 22, 2011. It left the seat vacant pending a by-election on March 19, 2012, which was won by the NDP candidate Craig Scott, a human rights lawyer and professor at Osgoode Law School. The southern part of the riding (Ward 30) is represented on Toronto City Council by councillor Paula Fletcher. The northern part of the riding (Ward 29) is represented by Mary Fragedakis.
Toronto—Danforth includes an array of ethnicities, including large Greek, Chinese, Muslim and South Asian communities.
It has long been one of the more left-leaning ridings in Toronto. Most election contests take place between the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party. The NDP held the riding for the first nine years of its existence before Liberal Dennis Mills won the seat in 1988 and held it during the long period of Liberal dominance of the federal scene. He was unseated in 2004 by Layton, who had previously run against Mills in 1997.
The riding was created in 1976 as "Broadview—Greenwood" from parts of Broadview and York East.
It consisted initially of the part of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto bounded on the south by Queen Street East, on the west by the Don River, and on the east and north by a line drawn north from Queen Street along Jones Avenue, east along Gerrard Street East, north along Greenwood Avenue, west along O'Connor Drive, north along Don Mills Road to the Don River.
In 1987, it was redefined to consist of the part of the City of Toronto and the Borough of East York bounded on the west by the Don River, on the south by Queen Street, and on the east and north by a line drawn from the lake north along Leslie Street, east along Queen Street East, north along Greenwood Avenue, east along Danforth Avenue, north along Coxwell Avenue and Coxwell Boulevard, and west along Taylor Creek and the Don River East Branch to the Don River.
In 1996, it was defined to consist of the parts of the City of Toronto and the Borough of East York north along Leslie Street, east along Queen Street East, north along Greenwood Avenue, east along Gerrard Street East, north along Coxwell Avenue and Coxwell Boulevard, west along Taylor Creek, the Don River East Branch and the Don River, northwest along Millwood Road, southwest along the Canadian Pacific Railway and the eastern limit of the City of Toronto, south along the Don River to Toronto Harbour.
The name of the electoral district was changed in 2000 to "Toronto—Danforth" on the suggestion of Dennis Mills, the riding's Member of Parliament. Many local citizens were upset at the name change, particularly because of the lack of public say in the matter.
In 2003, it was given its current boundaries, which consist of the part of the City of Toronto bounded on the south by Lake Ontario and Toronto Harbour, on the east by Coxwell Avenue and Coxwell Boulevard, on the north by Taylor Creek and the Don River East Branch, and on the west by the Don River. This riding was unchanged after the 2012 electoral redistribution.
Note: the popular vote of Progressive Conservative candidate Peter Worthington is compared to the total popular vote in the 1982 by-election earned by the PC candidate Bill Fatsis and by Mr. Worthington running without affiliation.
Canadian federal by-election, October 12, 1982: Toronto-Danforth