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With Toronto's new ward map, here's what you need to know for the 2018 municipal election

The nomination period for the upcoming municipal election begins May 1. Here’s your guide to voting and changes to ward boundaries

April 30, 2018
Jennifer Pagliaro

When is the municipal election?

Election day is Oct. 22. The nomination period, when candidates can submit their forms to run, begins May 1. That means the campaign will officially be underway in May.

Who can vote?

Any Toronto resident who is a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years old. Anyone who owns or leases property within the city, or whose spouse owns or rents property, can also vote even if they don’t live within the city’s borders. You can only vote in the ward where you live or where your business is located. If you live in the city and own a business here, you must vote in the ward where you live.

What do I get to vote for?

Everyone eligible can vote for both a council candidate to represent the ward you’re voting in and a mayor, who represents the city at large. If you’re a resident, you can also vote for a school board trustee for your area.

How can I make sure I’m on the voter’s list?

You can check if you’re signed up and verify your address at voterlookup.ca.

Why should I vote?

No one can make you vote, but it’s important to know city council is responsible for everything from garbage pickup to building new, multi-billion-dollar transit projects. Every year, they are responsible for an $11-billion operating budget largely funded by property taxes and the municipal land transfer tax. In 2014, 54.67 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, which is an improvement over previous elections of 50.55 per cent in 2010 and 39.30 in 2006.

Where will I vote?

This election, there are new ward boundaries that all voters should be aware of. Council approved increasing the total number of wards to 47 from 44. There is one councillor elected per ward. The new ward structure involved shifting several boundaries across the city, which means you may not be voting in the ward you currently live in and the councillor who currently represents you may not be running in the ward you’re now eligible to vote in. There are seven suburban wards that remain unchanged. Starting in May, voters can check on thestar.com and the city’s elections website at toronto.ca/elections to find out which ward they live in and who is running to represent them. Some ward boundary changes are slight and are not immediately obvious by looking at a citywide map. Polling station locations, where you cast your ballot in your neighbourhood on election day, will be available closer to the election.

What will the wards be called?

Wards will only be identified by numbers 1 through 47. Wards have traditionally had community-centric names, such as “Davenport,” which will no longer be used.

How will the ward boundaries affect the election?

The ward boundary changes created four new wards. Three existing wards were collapsed into two wards. Because of the new wards and shifted boundaries there will be some open-seat races and incumbent head-to-head contests that could change the overall politics of council, where every member, including the mayor, have one equal vote on all issues.