10/19/2015 22:23 EDT | Updated 10/19/2016 01:12 EDT

Liberals making big gains in Ontario at expense of Conservatives and New Democrats

TORONTO — The Liberal juggernaut launched in Atlantic Canada roared through Ontario as the party opened up early, substantial leads in a province considered among the biggest battlegrounds of the election.

The Liberals were leading in Ontario's big cities, but also outside the urban centres, especially in the suburban 905 area around Toronto that helped propel Stephen Harper's Conservatives to a majority in 2011.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver was in a tight race, with only 10 polls reporting, with his Liberal foe, Marco Mendicino. 

Justin Trudeau's Liberals took the lead in previously Conservative strongholds that include Whitby, Burlington and Markham, and were leading in the NDP-held riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River.

The Liberals were also opening up leads in most ridings in Toronto, even in two ridings previously held by the NDP.

The Conservatives, with about 37 per cent of the Ontario vote, took early leads in some ridings they already held in rural parts of southwestern and southeastern Ontario, while the NDP were leading in four ridings in the North.


Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press