Layton, Malik and Cressy together, celebrating their respective victories

Joe Cressy victorious in Trinity-Spadina

Council candidate comes out on top in the crowded Ward 20 race

Trinity-Spadina has been a hot political battleground this year. In June, residents voted in both the provincial election and the federal by-election.

On Oct. 27, residents cast their ballots in the Toronto municipal election. Deciding who to vote for was no easy task. Along with a highly competitive mayoral race, there were 22 candidates vying to be the new councillor of Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina.

At around 8:40 p.m., the result was final. Olivia Chow’s former campaign manager Joe Cressy was elected as the new councillor for Ward 20.

“I learned what it was like to lose and now, I learn what it’s like to win,” Cressy said referring to his defeat in the federal by-election in Trinity-Spadina.

Joe Cressy and his team celebrated their victory at Ryze Toronto, but they were not alone. Newly elected trustee for Toronto District School Board ward 10 Ausma Malik and re-elected Coun. Mike Layton of Ward 19 joined in to celebrate their victory with Cressy.

The celebration at Ryze Toronto was more than a big victory party, it was a show of solidarity between the elected candidates and a rally for progressive voices and values in municipal politics.

“We have set a new precedent for what progressive political representation can look like,” Malik said. “I hope we inspire a new generation of young leaders who will serve the common good and champion justice, equality and fairness without fear.”

Many candidates of minority backgrounds were targets of anonymous racial and Islamophobic propaganda and attacks during the election. Posters claiming Malik was sympathetic to Islamic terrorist groups were distributed around Trinity-Spadina. The resulting public outrage later solidified into support for Malik.

“We struck a blow to prejudice and ignorance and we succeeded,” Malik said.

The months of campaigning has left the candidates exhausted. But no one has felt the brunt of campaigning more than the campaign volunteers. Many volunteers canvasing for Joe Cressy also canvassed on behalf of Olivia Chow.

This was Nicole Edwards’s first time volunteering in a campaign. At the 11th hour before the polling stations closed, Edwards worked to rally the votes with Joe Cressy’s mother in the neighbourhood.

“I’m a people’s person,” Edwards said. “Going door-to-door wasn’t a problem [for me.]”

After the results came in, Coun. Mike Layton arrived and congratulated Joe Cressy with a hug.

“I’m excited to work with Cressy,” Layton said.

Olivia Chow was defeated in the mayoral race, but Joe Cressy and his supporters remained positive about John Tory being elected mayor.

“At least we don’t have a mayor named Ford,” Cressy said.

When Cressy takes the office on Dec. 1, he and the rest of city council will have to deal with many issues from affordable housing to transit. In the past four years, Torontonians saw a very divisive council. Many people hope John Tory will bring civility back to council.

“It’s healing time,” Cressy said. “It’s time to work together with a common vision.”