[attach]2631[/attach]The race for Ward 32 never had a dull moment, and now as Mary-Margaret McMahon has been declared winner Beach residents will be waking up to a new face for the first time in over a decade.
McMahon defeated incumbent councillor Sandra Bussin by a landslide, garnering a massive 65 percent of the vote — the most of anyone who defeated an incumbent and one of only two who did so with a majority.
Speaking within minutes of the win, a visibly elated McMahon was almost at a loss for words describing how she was feeling.
“It was so fast,” she said, describing how quickly the announcement of her victory came. “I’m shocked.”
The standing-room only bar located just west of Woodbine Avenue and Gerrard Street East erupted into cheers and applause throughout the evening every time the race was shown on the televisions, with chants of “Na-na-hey-hey goodbye!” being sung.
While issues like the sole-source deal for the Boardwalk Pub, the Ashbridges Bay TTC yard, and the situation surrounding the home at 204 Beech Ave. haunting Bussin’s re-election bid, the door opened up for eight hopefuls.
Three of them — Martin Gladstone, Neil Sinclair and Bruce Baker — would all drop out before election night and throw their support behind McMahon in an attempt to strengthen the perceived anti-Bussin vote.
While there was some concern that residents wouldn’t be aware of their withdrawals because their names would still remain on the ballot, the results showed that the strategy worked, as the three combined for just 877 votes.
Catherine Dorton worked on McMahon’s campaign after meeting her through various projects McMahon championed in the community. She said it was a no-brainer to support McMahon from the beginning.
“To me she was a very inspirational person, I’ve never met anyone like her,” she said. “She told me she was running, she had my support, I got on her team and started working for her.”
As for the results, she said she knew McMahon would win, but was surprised by how much. And that showed her the importance of a community rallying together.
“It just shows that power can be beaten in a way. You can come up from out of nowhere,” she said. “I think we’re a cynical society and we need someone like her.”
[attach]2632[/attach]Meanwhile the Bussin after party, a half-full bar at 10 p.m., saw the former councillor speaking with friends and supporters, thanking them for their loyalty. However, she was highly critical of the media.
“I’m free now. I’m free of the tyranny of the media,” she said while pointing at a Town Crier reporter. “I’m a very creative person, I brought millions of dollars into this community and if you want somebody new, go for it.”
She added that she met many people who she enjoyed working with, but doesn’t mind that she’s no longer the councillor for Ward 32.
“There’s a lot of wonderful things to do,” she said. “And I won’t have to knock on people’s doors.”
Before the results came in, the internet was abuzz with varying accounts of what was happening at polling stations. One person claimed lineups at 7:40 p.m. stretched across the playground at Adam Beck Community Centre, and another claimed someone fainted at a different station 10 minutes prior to that.
It was well before 8 p.m., that McMahon had made her way to her after party to speak with media and supporters.
With just 15 minutes before polls closed, McMahon said she wasn’t nervous.
“I’m feeling really good, I think of myself as the eternal optimist,” she said. “I think we door-knocked on every street and hopefully it pays off.”
The results show that it did. Now, as the councillor for Ward 32, McMahon says it’s been a long ride, but worth it.
“It feels great that people believe in me and that I get to work with dynamite residents,” she said, adding that it had sunk in that she was the new councillor for the ward, but she has one important order of business before she gets to work. “I’m just dead tired, so I’m going home to bed.”