10/27/2014 10:16 EDT | Updated 12/27/2014 05:59 EST

Toronto votes: 5 council races to watch

International interest in controversial outgoing mayor Rob Ford has focused attention on the mayor's race this election.

But there are several key battlegrounds on council worth a close look on election day — with one of those wards including Mayor Ford.

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Here are five important wards across the city that could change hands today:

Etobicoke North, Ward 2

At the beginning of the election period, Ward 2 was up for grabs. Etobicoke North’s current councillor, Doug Ford, announced he would not seek re-election, and the councillor before him, Rob Ford, was seeking re-election as mayor.

All that changed when the Ford brothers juggled the electoral map and moved the mayor to the Ward 2 race and Doug Ford to the mayoral race after Rob Ford was diagnosed with a malignant tumour.

So on election day, Andray Domise, Munira Abukar and other promising candidates in the ward are facing the sitting mayor, who has international name recognition and 14-year presence in the area.  

Davenport, Ward 17

In Ward 17 Davenport, erstwhile Coun. Cesar Palacio finds himself fighting Alejandra Bravo, who ran against him in 2006 and in 2003, but not in the last election. In 2006, Palacio (4,827) came out ahead of Bravo (4,546). It was an even tighter race than in 2003, when Palacio finished with 5,127 votes and Bravo with 4,336.

The race is acrimonious: Palacio has served libel notice to Bravo for allegedly distributing a “defamatory” two-page flyer to constituents.

It will also be a bellwether for how the city’s voters will treat allies or former allies of Rob Ford. As a councillor, Palacio was considered politically close to the mayor.

Trinity-Spadina, Ward 20

Former Ward 20 councillor Adam Vaughan made the jump to federal politics this year after Olivia Chow resigned that seat to run for mayor. The empty seat could go to Chow’s political heir and former staffer Joe Cressy, or it could switch to two-time mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson. 

The presence of Cressy and Thomson gives a tinge of federal politics to the race. Cressy is a former NDP policy maker and Thomson ran for the provincial Liberals. Her election signs, in Liberal red, highlight that former connection.

Then there are 20 other candidates as well, making the Ward 20 race the most crowded council race in the election.

Toronto-Danforth, Ward 30

Paula Fletcher is back for her third election in the ward and her second against Liz West.

In 2010, Fletcher finished the election with 8,766 votes, just ahead of West (8,507), and some negative energy has carried over from the last election.

Jane Farrow, a former CBC Radio host, is new contender in the race, making it a more complex rematch.

Neither West nor Farrow are taking credit for a series of nasty flyers targeting Fletcher in the ward. The flyers, in pink, declared that voters give Fletcher the “pink slip” after holding onto the riding for 11 years come this December.

Beaches-East York, Ward 32

In Ward 32 Beaches-East York, Mary-Margaret McMahon is now an incumbent seeking re-election.

Sandra Bussin, the veteran councillor she defeated in the last election, is back on the ballot in a bid to regain her seat on council.

In 2010, McMahon (15,159) trounced Bussin (5,998) at the polls by more than 9,000 votes.

McMahon and Bussin have had tense moments along the campaign, but none more so than when the two jostled over a microphone at a debate.

Toronto Votes 2014: Tune in online, on radio and TV for the latest results on election night starting at 8 p.m. ET., and on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #cbcvotes Click here for a complete guide to our coverage