10/28/2014 04:11 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST

John Tory Vows To Reach Out To Ford Nation, Make 'One Toronto'

TORONTO - Mayor-elect John Tory pledged Tuesday to reach out to large stretches of the city that shunned him at the ballot box, saying he would win over voters in what was Rob Ford's political home turf and create "one Toronto."

Tory took solace in his comfortable mayoral victory, but admitted he has work to do in the face of a map from Monday's election starkly showing his support base as an inverse "T" that doesn't crack the city's northwest and east, which supported Ford's brother Doug.

"I think my challenge going forward is to make sure that we gain the confidence of and have people feeling that they are part of one Toronto going forward," he told reporters outside city hall.

"That's the challenge that rests in front of me and I prefer to look at the glass as half full as opposed to half empty."

Making gains on major files will go a long way to ending the "division" among the distinct regions of the city, he added.

"If people see transit getting built; if people see that we're having success in attracting jobs and investment to the city; if people see their finances well organized, they are going to have more confidence in one city, in one Toronto."

Results suggest a marked difference in political leanings between much of the downtown urbanites and suburban residents that make up Canada's most populous city. But Tory was able to break through in a few wards outside the city's core, which likely proved crucial to his victory.

The businessman and former provincial politician took 40 per cent of the popular vote, while his rival, Doug Ford, took 33 per cent. Former NDP MP Olivia Chow garnered 23 per cent of the vote.

Tory said he's already received congratulations from the senior levels of government whose support he will need to make his ambitious transit plan work — with a phone call coming from Finance Minister Joe Oliver, and a text message exchange with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is in China.

Tory, who promised a new era of co-operation at city hall after the antics of the Ford years, was the top choice in the downtown wards that had gone to Ford's chief rival during the last mayoral election.

He also, however, was the candidate with the most support in the region of North York, which had previously supported Ford.

The 60-year-old former CFL chairman and senior telecommunications executive also won the highest number of votes in wards in the southeast and southwest parts of the city which had previously gone to Ford, although he took those areas by a narrow margin.

One reason for that, suggested an observer, was that Toronto continues to evolve, with areas in the city's north increasing in density.

"The condos extend, the people who value public transit extend, the people who are very concerned about the Ford family's leadership style, concerned about the legacy of the addictions of the erratic behaviour. Where we're seeing Tory doing really well are in those areas," said Renan Levine, a political science lecturer at the University of Toronto, who noted every vote, regardless of which ward it comes from, secures a win in the mayoral election system.

Tory also benefited from being a conservative candidate as some conservative voters who chose Rob Ford in 2010 likely felt comfortable opting for Tory in this election, Levine said.

Doug Ford, who only entered the mayoral race after his infamous brother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, had the most support in the city's east and west.

Chow, 57, who campaigned as the "only progressive" candidate, secured the most votes in three wards just west of the city's southern core, but her overall performance was disappointing.

Meanwhile, Rob Ford, who ran as a councillor in a ward in the city's north west, enjoyed a landslide victory, gaining 11,629 of 19,733 votes cast.

He remains in office until Dec. 2, when Tory will be sworn in.

Tory has pledged a return to stability and civility at city hall after four years which have seen Ford dogged by a string of scandals that included allegations of crack cocaine use, spouting profanities on live television and being the subject of police surveillance for months.

In all, about 1.6 million city residents were eligible to vote at 1,679 polling stations. Preliminary figures indicated more than 60 per cent turned out to vote — well above the 50 per cent who cast ballots in 2010.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly quoted John Tory as talking about "jobs and finances" instead of "jobs and investment."

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