Fragedakis beats veteran campaigner Pitfield

Successful Ward 29/Toronto-Danforth city council candidate Mary Fragedakis broke down in tears on election night, overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support. But as the ward’s new representative, she’ll have to grow thicker skin.
In the heated battle for the Ward 29 seat, Fragedakis and Jane Pitfield, a 2006 mayoral candidate and former Don Valley West councillor, went head-to-head for retiring councillor Case Ootes’ seat.
On election night, the left-leaning Fragedakis, endorsed by NDP Leader Jack Layton, MPP Peter Tabuns and MPP Michael Prue, finished 2,464 votes ahead of the conservative Pitfield, whom Ootes endorsed. Votes for Fragedakis translated to about 42 per cent of ballots cast.
The results mark a change for the ward, which has been influenced by Ootes’ conservatism for 20 years.
On stage at Danforth pub the Fox and the Fiddle, she said her deep connection to the neighbourhood sparked a sea change within the ward’s voters.
“I have everything invested here. Losing was not an option, but winning or losing was not the goal. The goal was to deliver real services to Ward 29 via a real city councillor who hears and understands what you feel. A councillor who has a sense of the area’s history, present and future,” she said.
The life-long Ward 29 resident said her heartfelt connection to the area, as both a small-business owner and environmental activist, gives her great insight into area issues.
“I want the city to continue its tradition of environmental action and awareness. I will push to increase the tree canopy in Ward 29 and across the city. I will encourage and support practical environmental programs for youth, run by the city.”
Layton made a pit stop at the party to offer his congratulations — and premonitions — for the future of the ward, the city and the country.
“We have a mayor… (who) needs to know that he’s going to have to work with people who have a progressive vision for this city… I simply say to the guy I have to work with all the time, Stephen Harper, it’s time that our federal government got behind our cities across this country,” he said.