Bailao completes seven-year wait for Ward 18 seat

Ana Bailão accepts a win in Ward 18 this time around, after losing to outgoing Coun. Adam Giambrone back 2003. (LOSINSKI_BAILAO_PICEDIT)

Waiting seems to be a recurring theme when it comes to Ana Bailão’s bid for councillor of Ward 18.

Bailão sat in a car outside her victory party last night for close to an hour. Seven years after losing to Adam Giambrone in 2003, polling result delays left her hesitant to claim the win.

After finally entering a crowded and stifling Casa Dos Acores on College Street, Bailão thanked the anxious group and her campaign team. She acknowledged a long-time supporter and friend.

“She was there seven years ago,” Bailão said. “She cried a lot with me seven years ago. Christina, we did it tonight.”

Bailão won with 6,277 votes, or 43.7 per cent of the total. Opponent Kevin Beaulieu, former executive assistant to outgoing Coun. Adam Giambrone, finished with 4,911 votes, or 34 per cent.

Bailão lost her previous bid for councillor to Giambrone by 1,260 votes. She said the race was close then, and it was close this time around as well.

“It seems like it’s the passion here in Ward 18. We’re very good at close elections,” she said. “Back seven years ago, it was very close as well.”

Electrification and gentrification were two of the issues debated by candidates in the ward during the most recent campaign. The proposed GO Train expansion could mean 400 more diesel trains running through the ward, and Bailão has committed to championing residents’ concerns about that project.

The ward itself is experiencing renewal, as evidenced by the burgeoning club scene in Parkdale. The changes are causing concern among some residents. Bailão will be involved.

“I think it’s important to manage the change that is happening here. It’s very important that I approach the community and create a vision for the community,” she said. “…I kept hearing this over the last nine months, that people welcome the change but they want to make sure that it stays a cared-for neighbourhood.”

One of those concerned residents is Maria D’Armto. Last night she hovered near the door of the hall, awaiting Bailão’s arrival. With a rose in hand, she beamed with happiness over the outcome.

D’Armto has lived in Ward 18 since immigrating to Canada in 1958. She liked the candidate from their first meeting at her front door last spring and is confident that Bailão will take care of her concerns, including an unkempt tree in front of her house.

“She’s a good person. She’s in my heart,” D’Armto said, pointing to her chest. “And I say to Ana, if you win you have to fix the tree.”