Three former Toronto city councillors were poised to make the jump from municipal to provincial politics Thursday, as Kristyn Wong-Tam, Mary-Margaret McMahon and Michael Ford were all projected to win in their respective ridings.
Wong-Tam was projected to win for the NDP in Toronto Centre, McMahon was ahead for the Liberals in Beaches-East York, while Ford — Premier Doug Ford's nephew — was projected to win for the Progressive Conservatives in York South-Weston.
Ford, the former Ward 1 councillor in Etobicoke, was out in front of incumbent NDP candidate Faisal Hassan, who won the west Toronto seat by 1,165 votes in 2018 with only about three and eight per cent of the vote share separating him from the PCs and Liberals, respectively.
All three parties thought they had a shot of securing the riding, but the wild card was the name recognition of the PC candidate.
The Ford political brand carries serious weight in that part of the city, and large parts of York South-Weston share similar demographics with Etobicoke North, where Doug Ford won with more than 50 per cent of the vote in 2018.
Wong-Tam, the former Ward 13 councillor, is poised to take the traditionally Liberal riding of Toronto Centre, beating out Liberal candidate David Morris as her closest competitor.
McMahon, who represented Beaches-East York at city hall, was also set to beat NDP incumbent Kate Dupuis in the provincial riding of the same name.
New Democrats projected to retain several Toronto seats
Meanwhile, the NDP was similarly projected to hold on to its ridings in other parts of Toronto, ensuring the party would keep the bulk of the gains it had made in the region in the last election, with the party's only real loss coming in Beaches-East York.
Doly Begum was set to be re-elected in Scarborough Southwest, while incumbent Peter Tabuns was poised to win again in Toronto-Danforth.
The NDP also held on to Parkdale–High Park and Davenport, where Bhutila Karpoche and Marit Stiles were set to be elected, respectively.
The battle was much tougher in Toronto–St. Paul's, where NDP incumbent Jill Andrew was projected to narrowly overtake Dr. Nathan Stall, who resigned from the Ontario Science Advisory Table to run for the Liberals.
Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders, meanwhile, was defeated in Don Valley West, where he was considered a star candidate for the PCs, but lost to projected winner Liberal Stephanie Bowman.
Saunders stepped down as chief of Toronto police in the summer of 2020.
This all comes as the Progressive Conservatives are cruising to a second majority government in Ontario, the CBC News decision desk projects.
The PCs went into election day as the front-runners after a 29-day campaign that saw little movement in public opinion polls.
Ford will return to the premier's office after a term that began turbulently with a series of nepotism scandals and spanned more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 Ontarians.
The PCs spent the last four years governing with a legislative majority after winning in 76 ridings in 2018. After some MPPs defected and several more were tossed from the caucus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the party held 67 seats when the provincial parliament dissolved in early May.
For an up-to-date list of results throughout Ontario as the results are counted, visit the CBC News election results tracker.