10/24/2014 03:34 EDT | Updated 12/24/2014 05:59 EST

Ontario municipal elections see big-name mayors step aside or fight for job

Ontario voters will cast their ballots next week in dozens of municipal elections that will see several big-name mayors sitting on the sidelines or fighting tooth and nail to hold onto power.

Canada's largest city will be in the spotlight Monday as residents decide whether to extend the Ford family's reign by sending Rob Ford's older brother to the mayor's office.

Doug Ford, a rookie city councillor who has been his brother's most vocal champion at city hall, jumped into the race last month after the scandal-plagued mayor was suddenly hospitalized for what was later diagnosed as a rare and aggressive cancer.

Rob Ford — whose admitted substance abuse has made headlines around the world — is instead running for council in his former west Toronto ward, which his brother has held for the past four years and remains fiercely loyal to the family.

Two veteran politicians are also considered frontrunners for the job: former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory and Olivia Chow, a New Democrat who represented downtown Toronto in the House of Commons for nearly a decade before running for mayor.

Polls suggest Tory, a former CFL chairman and telecommunications executive, has a comfortable lead.

Toronto won't be the only one replacing a controversial incumbent.

Voters in London will choose a successor for former Mayor Joe Fontana, who resigned this summer after he was convicted of government fraud for forging a check while he was a Liberal MP. Fontana, who is spending four months on house arrest, has pledged not to run for public office again.

The three top contenders are Matt Brown, Paul Brown and Joe Swan.

Mississauga residents will have a new mayor for the first time in nearly four decades.

Hazel McCallion has won 12 municipal elections in a row with little campaigning but now plans to retire. The beloved 93-year-old mayor — nicknamed Hurricane Hazel — has thrown her support behind Bonnie Crombie, who is battling Steve Mahoney for the job.

In nearby Brampton, a spending scandal could put an end to Mayor Susan Fennell's tenure. A recent audit found she filed more than $172,000 in expenses that breached city policies, though some $41,000 were repaid. A forensic audit later concluded that Fennell owed just $3,523.

Meanwhile, in northern Ontario, the aftermath of a deadly shopping mall cave-in will likely influence the outcome of the election. A report released last week found municipal officials turned a blind eye to worsening conditions at the Algo Centre Mall, which collapsed in 2012, killing two women and wounding several others.