By Lily Canete-Goodine
Only a few months into the new year, one of the most shocking news stories to hit the city has been the scandalizing discovery of Mayor John Tory’s illicit affair and subsequent resignation.
On February 10th, 2023, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced his resignation to the residents of the city after revealing the truth of an inappropriate relationship with one of his former staff members. Tory revealed the relationship began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while he remained married to his wife of over forty years, Barbara Hackett.
At sixty-eight years old, this resignation marks the end of Tory’s eight-year tenure as mayor after he was elected in 2014 and won two re-elections in 2018 and 2022. Before that, he worked in radio, law, and sports. He also led the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party between 2004 and 2009.
With Tory’s decision to leave office, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie has temporarily stepped in to take his place. Tory’s official resignation came into effect on February 17th as he made his last public announcement to the city. All this news came as quite a shock for Torontonians, including those of us here at Harbord.
When asked about her opinions on Tory’s legacy as mayor before learning of his inappropriate relationship, Harbord grade 10, Giselle Schilling said, “I like how he advocated for funding for transit and [got] rid of some Airbnbs that are helping to cause the housing crisis, but he hasn’t really dealt with the deep issues facing Toronto right now.”
In general, this opinion appears to be echoed by many voters across the city. In the most recent municipal election from October 2022, Tory won in a landslide victory, taking roughly 62% of the vote. Despite that, some of his biggest complaints from voters were about his transit, housing, and homelessness policies.
In response to Tory’s decision to resign, Harbord student Kimberly Wu stated, “I think it’s good for him to resign. By that action already, he lost the responsibilities he should be carrying as a mayor of the city. He does not have the qualifications to lead the people [and] the city of Toronto.”
However, in contrast, Harbord student Claire Wilson stated, “I think it was the wrong decision. Yes, I agree that the affair was completely unjust for a mayor or any person. However, I fear Toronto will give power to another Rob Ford type… I think Tory’s rather neutral stance was a good thing for keeping the city together. I’m quite disappointed by his choice.”
Regardless of their opinions, Tory has made his decision final, releasing a tweet on February 17th saying, “Thank you Toronto. It has been the honour of a lifetime to serve you.” Given his resignation, a new municipal election will occur in the coming weeks. Already, some people have announced their intentions to run, including former candidates from the October 2022 election, Gil Penalosa and Blake Acton.
As of now, it remains to be seen who will end up permanently taking Tory’s place. With luck, the next mayor will pick up where Tory left off and work even harder to improve all the issues that currently impact the people of Toronto.