1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction
Toronto Centre-Rosedale

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
George Smitherman
Progressive Conservative Party:
Durhane Wong-Rieger
New Democratic Party:
Helen Breslauer
John Sewell
Green Party:
John Cohen
Freedom Party:
Paul McKeever
Natural Law Party:
Ron Parker
Family Coalition Party:
Bill Whatcott
Mike Ryner

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Fort York (32%):
Rosario Marchese
St. Andrew-St. Patrick (16%):
Hon. Isabe Bassett
St. George-St. David (89%):
Hon. Al Leach

Member of Parliament:
Bill Graham

Surrounding Ridings:
Don Valley West
St. Paul's

Population: 105 581
Avg Household Income 54 052
Language (Home)
English 81 040
English 6 615
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02/22/99 RC Email:
Al Leach has no chance in the riding. He is universally despised and detested. It is thought that John Sewell, running as an Independent might pull votes away from both NDP and Liberal candidates. However that is not likely since people understand that he would not be effective as an Independent. George Smitherman was Barbara Hall's executive assistant. He is an effective public relations person but it is Helen Breslauer who has the best credentials. This riding will go NDP because they have the best candidate.
Too Close
02/23/99 Andy Lehrer Email:
Independent candidate (and former mayor) John Sewell has a substantial following and will make it interesting. Conventional Wisdom is that Sewell will split the anti-Tory vote and allow Tory Al Leach to sneak in but the Tories are VERY unpopular in the riding and Leach could well come in third. Sewell will not only take votes from the NDP and the Liberals but from red Tories in Rosedale as well. I'd say it's likely between Smitherman and Sewell.
Too Close
02/24/99 John Ashton Email: ashton@ebtech.net
I used to live in this riding some time ago. This will be a fascinating race. Al Leach will have a very rough time in this election, and it'll be interesting to see if he can spend his way out. I heard some very mixed reviews as to the strength of Liberal George Smitherman. The NDP have a good candidate in Helen Breslauer, but will it be enough? I don't think Independant John Sewell will take it, but it'll be interesting to see how much support he gets.
02/25/99 Burke Christian Email: external@msu.mcmaster.ca
I believe George Smitherman of the Liberals will be victorious in this riding. Al Leach has declared he is not running in the election and due to the MegaCity and the closure of Women's College Hospital any Tory candidate is in trouble. Sewell plays a factor in this riding, but Mr. Smitherman is from a powerful community (GLBT Community) and will likely garner huge support from this area. I also believe that Sewell will steal votes from the NDP giving the Liberals the edge. So Smitherman by a narrow yet comfortable margin.
02/25/99 Email:
Al Leach has announced he won't be running in the next election and the Tories are scrambling for a candidate. Jane Pepino has turned them down. If the Tories can't get a name candidate their chances evaporate and, as well, without a name candidate the fears of splitting the anti-Tory vote and electing the PC candidate by default also dissipates. This will make it easier for voters to take a risk and vote for John Sewell who I think benefits from Leach's departure. My building has already been hit by Sewell pre-election literature so his machine is obviously already in operation.
02/25/99 RC Email: free@inerlog.com
Now that his arch enemy, Al leach, has fled the scene, John Sewell should heed George Smitherman's call to depart as well. Sewell was only running to even a score. He had founded a movement which brought a result of 76% against amalgamtion in a metro wide referendum, and had inspired 10,000 people to parade down Yonge street to preserve democracy. In the end, he found himself impotent against the jackbooted might of a rogue government intent on acting against the will of the people. Thus his motives in inserting himself into the riding are understandable but note that he would he would never have dared do this in Marilyn Churley's riding where he resides. Then for him to have sent an envoy to the Nomination meeting to request that the NDP leave the field open for him is delusional if not bizarre. People are saying that he will not make much of a dent because most people are astute enough to see that an independent has no way to influence policy. His support is coming from a star struck contingent within the Citizens for Local Democracy who became his unquestioning acolytes. As Helen Breslauer becomes better known she will command support as the most meritorious candidate.
Too Close
02/26/99 RC Email: free@inerlog.com
Sewll is dreaming in South Africa if he thinks Leach's departure has much to do with quailing before his superior strength. First of all Leach had already decided months ago not to run and only came on briefly because he thought Sewell would split the anti Harris vote and give him a slide up the middle. However, despite Sewell's wrong headed, ill advised, quixotic drive to end up victorious, it was a low PC vote as well as a low Sewell vote plus age that ultimately removed the father of amalgamation from the field. Now a new factor has entered the picture, with Kyle Rae's decision to back the wrong horse, a low blow to both Smitherman and Helen Breslauer. However more astute observers still do not consder Sewell a serious contender. Team playing is more important than prophecy when it comes to working in the legislature. He was a government of one for C4LD and it's just not possible for him to take over the government as an independent. Meanwhile, the workers for Helen Breslauer are shifting into high gear. It's way too early to discount the NDP in this riding.
Too Close 02/26/99 Toronto Star Email:
Sewell openly `delighted' as rival Leach bows out By Bruce DeMara
Too Close
03/02/99 John Ashton Email: ashton@ebtech.net
Leach's announcement certainly makes this race a whole new ball game. Even Leach's most vociferous oppenents (myself included) will have to admit that his decision proves he had more sense than most people gave him credit for :). Having no Leach might even help the Tories a bit in Rosedale, but they're still in for a beating. However, for Smitherman, Breslauer, and Sewell, this leaves things more uncertain. I believe that Sewell's chances were neither harmed nor helped by Leach's departure. I still don't think Sewell can win, but whatever votes he has will be earned on his own reputation, not because of Leach. With the fear of "vote-splitting" out of the way, Helen Breslauer does have more of a chance to encourage people to vote "on the issues", which is a help for her. I still hear very mixed reports on the strength of George Smitherman's campaign.
03/03/99 A. Email:
This was originally going to be an Al Leach-John Sewell Megacity grudge match. Now that Leach is out, Sewell has no real reason to remain in the race. The riding takes in a number of good NDP polls from the old Fort York riding, and remember that this was the NDP's closest shot at picking up a *new* seat in 1995. With another strong candidate in Helen Breslauer, I'll give her a slight edge here. But Smitherman could take it if the Liberals surge.
03/05/99 I.MacFarlane Email: imacfarlane@accel.net
Smitherman will take the riding due to the departure of Leach and his strong ties to the community. He may take some of the anti-megacity vote away from Sewell due to his ties in local city politics.
X 03/11/99 NOW Email:
Tories creeping closer to big vote by Enzo DiMatteo/Glenn Wheeler
Meanwhile, district 12 members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation have made their election picks for Toronto ridings where they think the Tories can be beat. NOW scribe John Sewell gets the nod in Toronto Centre-Rosedale, but in Parkdale-High Park they couldn't choose between golden Grit MPP Gerard Kennedy and exTory Irene Atkinson, whose running for the NDP.
X 04/06/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
Let me be bold and give this one, Leach or no Leach, to John Sewell. Whatever the other candidates' merits, a candidate like Sewell ensures their partisanship looking stiffly, tediously, earnestly irrelevant by comparison (shades of the Minnesota governor's race?). And as for the accusations of the political independent's broad-scheme-of-things impotence (shades of "Silent" Peter North?), if anyone'll make sure it isn't so, it's Sewell and his ground troops. The one conundrum: if the dreaded PCs aren't reelected, what's the point of having Sewell around? Oh, don't worry, *he'll* have a few tricks up his sleeve...
Too Close
04/10/99 CR Email:
There is now a PC candidate nominated for TCR. Durhane Wong-Reiger headed the Hemophiliac Association and had a lot to do apparently with the decision to compensate. She may siphon off the odd vote here and there but is not a serious contender. George Smitherman has a bad strike against him having lobbied City Hall to approve the bank mergers. The real fight is between Breslauer and Sewell. Despite his exaggerated opinion of his own heroic stature, Sewell's presence in this riding is best summed up by the motto "The Ego has landed." TCR deserves a sensible person like sociologist Helen Breslauer to send to the legislature. Hardly "earnestly, stiffly irrelevant" more like sane, knowledgable and someone who will have a voice in caucus.
Correction: PC has not nominate a candidated yet
04/08/99 NOW Email:
Cooking up a Tory defeat By Enzo di Matteo
Toronto public enemy number one, aka Tory municipal affairs minister Al Leach, has flown the coop to pursue a quiet life in retirement.
Truth is, the political writing is on the wall here for the Tories, period. The area was perhaps the most vociferous in its opposition to amalgamation. And the Tories' rental reform polices aren't exactly doing any favours for the 80 per cent of the riding's residents who are tenants.
The Grits hope to repeat their 1993 by-election victory by pinning their hopes on the gay vote with gay activist George Smitherman, who will benefit from the fact that the riding is held federally by Grit Bill Graham, who won handily in 93 and 97 with an impressive 50 per cent of ballots.
Enter John Sewell, the general of the city's formidable anti-amalgamation forces (and NOW writer), and the Tories have more than they can care to handle. No surprise, then, that they're having a tough time finding a replacement for Leach. Noted lawyer Jane Pepino turned them down flat.
Too Close 04/14/99 A.L. Email:
Durhane Wong-Reiger, the Tory candidate, will get some personal support as head of the Canadian Hemophile Association but not much. The gay and lesbian and AIDS activist community which might normally be attracted to her as a candidate are far too anti-Harris to make that sort of move in this election. Tories will likely come in third or fourth. Some of the more mainstream, Red Tory, "north of Bloor" vote will go to John Sewell... partly out of Rosedale's antipathy to amalgamation, partly because many of these people won't vote NDP. The Regent Park vote will be hotly contested by the NDP and the Liberals and will be a test for Sewell's community machine. The more affluent gay/lesbian and Cabbagetown vote will likely be split between Smitherman and Sewell. The NDP has come close in this riding before and is good at getting out the vote so in a three or four way contest they party could well pull out an upset. Sewell is the sentimental favourite but can only win if he can convince voters that he can win and that a Sewell vote isn't a wasted vote (this will depend on whether or not Sewell can blanket the riding with signs and knock on more doors than the opposition). If Sewell can build a perception as a winner, he can turn it into reality... especially if New Democrats feel that the NDP can't win and decide to goto Sewell for sentimental reasons and to keep the riding from going Liberal. Similarly, if it looks like the Tories have no chance many Tory voters could vote "strategically" for Sewell in order to keep the riding out of NDP or especially Liberal hands. A lot of *very* interesting dynamics could come into play. A fascinating contest.
Correction: PC has not nominate a candidated yet
Too Close
04/19/99 Email:
Based on views expressed at gatherings, Sewell is of no interest to affluent residents of Rosedale. As for any PC candidate, fourth place is not just a near certainty -- it is inevitable. However, whether Smitherman will be swept along in a liberal flood or whether voters who get to know an increasimgly visible NDP candidate, Dr. Helen Breslauer, a sociologist, former U of T professor, and excellent speaker, will vote with their own perceptions instead of according to some misguided notion of "strategic voting", remains to be seen.
Too Close
04/20/99 A.L. Email:
That's an interesting point. If it's clear that the Tories have no chance in this riding then the pull on New Democrat and anti-Tory swing voters to vote strategically for Sewell will dissipate. A poor Tory campaign in TCR could consoldiate the NDP vote and help them come up the middle *if* and only if Breslauer can run a strong, credible and visible campaign. Liberal-NDP-Sewell tossup... no icon for that one:)
04/21/99 A.R. Email: adamrad@istar.ca
It's never a good idea to count the PC candidate out when there's a Liberal/NDP split, and if you throw Sewell into the mix the Tories have an opportunity that they don't deserve. In fact, Sewell isn't doing anybody any favours, except for himself and for Mike Harris. Without him, the Tories would be toast, and in truth he doesn't have a hope in hell of winning - only of fatally dividing the centre-left. I still give Smitherman, who's by far the strongest candidate, a good shot to win, but that'll only happen if voters realize that they can't beat the Tories by splitting their votes three different ways.
Too Close
05/06/99 bp Email:
This really will be a four-way race. The PC candidate should not be discounted. There is a strong Tory base here (at least a quarter of the vote) and that may be all that is required to win. The NDP candidate Helen Breslauer has run a strong pre-election campaign and has been seen at many community events. With strong campaigns by Sewell and Smitherman anything is possible here.
Too Close
05/07/99 Derek Vanstone Email: derek_vanstone@hotmail.com
Contrary to the previous postings - the Tory candidate has been nominated.
Her name is Durhane Wong-Rieger.
Many people know her as the President of the Canadian Hemophilia Society, and she got national attention during the Tainted Blood debate.
She has been described as a "star candidate" in the National Post.
I think she has a terrific opportunity to retain the riding for the Tories - remember that this is currently a Tory held seat, and it does include the Rosedale area. Remember that this is a seat which was taken by the Tories in the last election, and the Liberal candidate was much more of a presence at that time. Moreover, there was not the presence of someone such as Sewell to split the left-of-centre vote.
I know that I will be voting for her.
05/10/99 Toronto Star
Sewell turns downtown race into lively four-way contest By Warren Gerard
Too Close 05/13/99 GBR Email: lizgary@connection.com
Yet another riding where the "honourable" (tee-hee!) Tory MPP has left for sunnier climes rather than face an angry electorate, al la Shea, Parker, Johnson. Without Sewell, this would be an ABT (anybody but the Tory) race. With him, it's Hobson's choice. Factors here are CVA, rent control removal, the forced amalgation, health care, and education. Rosedale/Moore Park shouldn't weigh too heavily, due to their low population density, and this riding is 80% renters. The gay-lesbian factor traditionally turns out for elections, the Tories are history here, Sewell's a dark potentially vote-splitting horse. You pays your money, and you bets your horse.
Too Close 05/16/99 Blair Falconer Email: bfalconer@fmarathon.com
Just thought I'd give the same 'jog by' assessment as I recently gave for my own riding (Broadview-Greenwood) as I ran into work this morning. While John Sewell does have some signage support through Cabbagetown, there was ample signage for both the Liberals and NDP, with the NDP predominationg south of Carlton, as may be expected. The Tories seem to have gotten a late start since they needed to find a candidate, but the ship has been righted and stopped taking in water. With Rosedale in the riding, the PCs cannot be counted out by a long shot, especially since a number of bluenoses will vote for Harris regardless of the local candidate. So how does Sewell's vote break down? Does he steal more from the NDP, Liberals, or do Toronto Tories who hated the almagamation use him as their protest vote? By the way, I think the 'anti-amalgamation coalition', minus Al Leach to hate, dissolves. Unlike the other municipalities, Toronto didn't lose its name nor its identity -- it absorbed everyone else's. So why did Sewell run here? Leach. And Leach is gone. I would lean towards the PCs pulling it out if they work really hard and Harris looks to be winning provincially -- but one gaffe and it could go any which way.
05/18/99 Chuck McPhail Email: w5p@hotmail.com
Given how hard the NDP has tried to win this riding in the past, for that reason alone, they deserve to win here. However, this time around, various interesting scenarios and political factors come into play.
Gay City Councillor and NDPer, Kyle Rae, has thrown his support behind Independent candidate John Sewell. This won't go over well with local new democrats who gave and have helped maintain Rae's presence in local politics. Afterall, apparently, he didn't mind using their name and all-out support in the last municipal election.
Smitherman, a fellow gay and local businessman, in the Church/Wellesley gay district, has reason to be miffed at both Rae and Sewell, but for different reasons. At Rae, because he doesn't appear particularly interested in assisting any gay candidates other than himself. And at Sewell, because he could seriously dillute the anti-Harris vote, allowing the tories to maintain their hold on the riding.
The fact is that the gay vote risks being split three ways this time. This will only help to allow the tory vote, not to look so pathetic, if this occurs.
If the Liberals surge to over 42% in provincial polling, look for a very close NDP/Liberal battle, with the possibility of the Liberals pulling off a victory.
However, my sense is that the NDP will win this one.
05/18/99 derek Email: rhino88@interlog.com
This riding will go Liberal. It is absolutely ludicrous to think that the NDP has any chance in a riding they have never won when their province wide vote is way down and John Sewell is there taking away NDP votes. The NDP candidate, Helen Breslauer, is unknown and is very weak compared to past NDP candiates in that riding and many NDP campaign workers are either working for Sewell or for NDP incumbents elsewhere. The Troy vote was only 33% last time and has no where to go but DOWN. Smitherman will take this in a walk!
Too Close 05/20/99 Paul McKeever Email: pmckeever@ownlife.com
Some additional considerations from one of the candidates: At last count, there were 11 people who plan to be on the Toronto Centre-Rosedale ballot. There's a candidate from each of the 7 parties - alphabetically, Communist Party, Family Coalition Party, Freedom Party, Green Party, Liberal, NDP & PC - plus 4 independent candidates. Party affiliations do NOT appear on the ballot. That means that, unless voters know the name of the candidate who is running for the party of their choice (if any), the spread of the votes could be quite interesting indeed. And, even if the party affiliations of the three more written-about left-wing candidates are widely known - Smitherman, Sewell, and Breslauer - it is unlikely that the left will vote as a block for a single one of those 3 candidates: expect some serious division of the leftist vote. At the same time, there is great resentment in the riding for the PCs relating to the megacity merger (which went ahead under the PCs despite overwhelming opposition to it), and the withdrawl from social housing grants (among other things). I don't expect the victor in this riding will win only by a small number of votes. Moreover, given the leaders in the 3 parties getting all of the press, I expect an increased number of voters in this riding will consider voting for an independent or for a candidate from one of the other 4 parties.
05/20/99 DT Email:
Sewell's greatest impact has been on the NDP campaign which has lost many potential campaign workers to the Independent candidate. With the NDP campaign derailed and with Sewell fading what's left is a race between the Liberals and the Tories. I give the edge to Smitherman over parachute candidiate Wong-Reiger but with the Sewell wildcard in play it's still possible for the Tories to come up the middle and win based on solid upper class and upper middle class support.
05/27/99 Just another voter Email:
Helen Breslauer is getting no help were as a result of Hampton who is now even considering a coalition government with M. Harris. What can he (Hampton) be thinking? The message is muddled: either you're a Harris fighter or a Harris lackie. Which is it Howie?
X 05/29/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
Sewell still can't be discounted--a lot of experts are still projecting him as a likely winner (which probably causes a bit of wishful-thinking resentment among partisan politicos). Both the Tory and NDP candidacies suffer in spite of themselves from tokenism, though judging by signage, Breslauer's given it a fighting try despite Sewell's poaching; Smitherman's much more serious, but his "vote strategically" schtick smells of desperation. And Sewell has indeed made impressive signage inroads in the erstwhile left-activist dead zone of deepest Rosedale. Actually, I'm intrigued by the overall paucity of signs, whatever the candidate...but one has to recognize the way Sewell has historically worked as politician and activist, ego or no, to see why he not only has a chance--still, today--but might even transform what being an MPP is all about. Don't fear a Tory victory here, though--but because a Tory vote is the clearest "anti-Sewell" vote, don't be surprised if Durhane sleepwalks past both the Libs and NDP.
05/30/99 OEP Email:
With Toronto Star clearly endorsing Smitherman, I think he will pull through with the "strategic" voters behind him. Every polls conducted in the riding suggested that Smitherman should be able to tightly edge out Wong-Reiger.
X 06/01/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
And I'll still gamble on Sewell. Keep in mind that the Smitherman-endorsing Star probably fatally soured on Sewell as a result of the megacity fight. For the record, the Sun's endorsing Durhane--but hey, they're also endorsing the no-hope Tory running against Marilyn Churley...
06/01/99 Bwinters Email: briwinters@yahoo.com
Way to close to call. Smithman has fought a dirty campaign and has turned many people off. Sewell has been charming but cant get enough votes, the NDP has been drowned out. Durhane has proven she can fight and she can hold her own and would make an excellent MPP for the whole riding.
X 06/01/99 RC Email: free@interlog.com
At this stage it is not possible to call except for the PC Candidate. Durhane Wong Reiser has met with groans, laughter, derision, in all ACM's at which she appeared. THe palpable hostility with which she has been received, even in the very heart of affluent Rosedale, who, one might be forgiven for assuming, would be a Tory bastion based on the preference high income people seem to have for "the tax cutter," derives as much from the patent falsity of every word she utters in a machine gun volley of Tory propaganda falsifying the reality of what the terrifying Harris regime has done to Ontario as it does from her dominatrix certainty of the truth of what she is saying when it has no substance whatsoever. This woman has absolutely no place in this riding and should never show her face around here again.
X 06/02/99 derek Email: rhino88@interlog.com
To my complete surprise, it seems like Sewell has a real chance here. A poll has shown that he is almost even with Smitherman and the Tory and NDP candidates are way behind. Sewell actually leads when names are read without reference to party affiliation. The whole thrust of Smitherman's campaign has been that he is the "strategic" choice to defeat the Tories, but that strategy may backfire now that it seems clear that the Tory cannot win and Sewell has a chance.
06/02/99 lrs Email:
Liberal win with surge in 416 area but Tories close second

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Last Updated 2nd June 1999

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