Newly elected Ward 16 representative Christin Carmichael Greb wasted no time snapping into her role as councillor. Even as supporters celebrated her narrow victory over Adam Tanel at her victory party on Monday night, she was talking about being ready to get to work.
“Throughout the campaign one of the main parts of my platform was my safe streets pledge,” she told the Town Crier over the din of revelry at Vita Sociale on Yonge Street north of Eglinton Avenue. “[This includes] lowering speed limits in school zones to 30 km/h during school hours and then working with residents, if they have a traffic issue, to get together and come up with a solution.”
The 36-year-old Bedford Park resident won the battle of 16 contestants to replace Karen Stintz in the Eglinton-Lawrence ward, squeaking ahead of perceived longshot Adam Tanel by a mere 1 percent.
The race had been cast in various lights throughout the election period, with aerospace project manager Carmichael Greb, urban planner Terry Mills and former Stintz aide J.P. Boutros largely considered the frontrunners.
Carmichael Greb, daughter of Don Valley West MP John Carmichael, received endorsements from Stintz and mayor-to-be John Tory heading into the election. The first candidate to file nomination papers but who had led a relatively quiet campaign, she took 17.4 percent of the vote. Two candidates with “grassroots campaigns” — lawyers Tanel (16.2 percent) and Dyanoosh Youssefi (13.8 percent) — turned out to be her closest rivals. The other expected frontrunners were left in their dust.
Boutros (10.7 percent) finished fourth and Mills (7.8 percent) placed fifth.
Tanel had been doing particularly well in the northwest part of the ward, with intense visibility from an onslaught of lawn signs and two imposing billboard ads — one on Bathurst Street and one on Avenue Road. The 28-year-old also has a wealth of campaign experience, having worked on several campaigns at all three levels of government.
Despite the razor-thin finish, the runner-up was in good spirits during his election party at Duke of Kent near Yonge and Eglinton. He had said in mid-October he expected to be “at the top or near the top” when the results came in, and joked on Monday night that the news story would be “Tanel was right.”
While Carmichael Greb said the key to victory was sticking to her own campaign and not paying attention to rivals, some of her campaign staff were watching the others closely. Before results came in on election night, two staffers were overheard discussing Tanel as the candidate who posed the biggest threat.
“I’m proud of the team we had that made that possible,” Tanel said. “We had one of the strongest grassroots campaigns I’ve ever seen and that’s what got us so close.”
Youssefi had also been counted out by some pundits, though not by other candidates, who knew she was resonating well with residents. Boutros had said she was the one he would want to lose to if he couldn’t win, and that his vote would have gone to her had he not been in the race.
“I think that for something that was so completely grassroots and without any prior political experience, we reached out to a lot of people,” Youssefi said after the numbers were known. “I’m just incredibly touched by the support of both volunteers and neighbours who have been helping and cheering for us.”
While often being considered the person to beat, Boutros said he isn’t dismayed by a fourth place finish. He hopes Carmichael Greb will “defend the interests of Ward 16” and that she will “do so honourably,” he said.
“I’m very happy to have lost running on what I believe in, rather than winning while betraying my beliefs,” he added. “That’s the most important thing to me.”
Mills, who finished second to Stintz in 2010, said he has “no regrets” in how he ran his campaign this time, and echoed an earlier sentiment, saying it was “a very different race” than four years ago. The fifth-place finisher used a hockey analogy to describe the late scramble of the crowded race.
“The last week has been like a hockey game,” he said. “We’re at the finals, but the trick is there are six teams on the ice, six nets and everybody’s pulled their goalie.
“You just never knew what was going to happen.”
Here is the unofficial vote count, according to the City of Toronto:
Carmichael Greb 3,949, Tanel 3,680, Youssefi 3,145, Boutros 2,428, Mills 1,763, Steven Levitan 1,723, Michael Coll 1,609, Sean Conacher 1,309, Elana Matter 1,245, Gary Heaney 626, Charm Darby 578, Bob Williams 287, John Cannella 121, Thomas Gallezot 97, Paul Spence 93, Peter Vukosavljev 70.
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