Midtown Liberals save one, lose everything else

It looked for a while on provincial election night, June 7, that the Liberals would hang on to half of Toronto’s four midtown ridings — thoughy by the slimmest of threads.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was on the way to re-election as MPP in Don Valley West, the riding that includes Leaside, Thorncliffe Park and parts of North Toronto reaching up to Highway 401.

She would end up with less than 200 votes more than her nearest rival, Progressive Conservative Jon Kieran.

Meanwhile, over in Eglinton-Lawrence in the northwest corner of North Toronto, her colleague, five-time winner Mike Colle, had a small  lead partway through the evening over the PC’s Robin Martin.

However, by the time the last ballots were counted, Martin pulled ahead and Colle went down to defeat by more than 900 votes.

That left Wynne, the party leader, as the sole Liberal elected in midtown Toronto, an area that had been solidly red in the previously election.

NDP candidate Jill Andrew took Toronto-St. Paul’s riding, which includes most of Forest Hill and parts of North Toronto. In another close race, she beat Jess Spindler, running for the Liberals in place of former MPP Eric Hoskins, by about 1,500 votes.

In the new riding of University-Rosedale, the NDP’s Jessica Bell took nearly half the vote, handily defeating Liberal Jo-Ann Davis and PC candidate Gillian Smith.

The extent of the upset was particularly shocking because midtown Toronto had been considered a Liberal bulwark and had been expected to hold out against the general anti-Liberal tide that was seen to be sweeping the rest of Toronto and the province.

Experts consulted by Streeter in mid-May said Liberals would likely hold on in the three ridings they then held in midtown.

A week before the election, Wynne conceded she was about to lose the provincial election, though she asked voters to elect enough Liberals to prevent the NDP or PCs from forming a majority government.