Feb 28, 2023

By Jane Brown

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There is still only one high profile candidate who’s declared intentions in the coming Toronto mayoral byelection. But it appears others will be joining the race soon.

Urbanist Gil Penalosa was first to say he will run to be the next Toronto mayor, after coming second to John Tory last October.

Now, a former Toronto city councillor, deputy mayor and occasional panelist on Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer confirms she’s eyeing a run for mayor.

Ana Bailao tells the Toronto Star she’s “strongly” considering a run for Toronto mayor and if she does and wins, she will work on solving a problem that has plagued subway users.

Bailao says most Torontonians are still unable to use their mobile phones while riding the city’s subway system.

Calling it a convenience and safety issue, Bailao says cellular providers Rogers, Telus and Bell have a “duty” to work with both the city and the company that built a subway cell network which the major firms have long refused to use.

Bailao says if she does run for mayor, she will work to change that.

In her first public comments confirming interest in what could be a crowded race to replace John Tory in a June 26 byelection, the city councillor from 2010 to 2022 told the Star she is listening to family, friends and others urging her to run.

City council’s former housing advocate, who recently started working for developer Dream Unlimited, said alleviating Toronto’s affordable housing crisis would be central to her campaign, as would working across political divides.

“I believe I had a transformative impact,” on Toronto efforts to expand affordable housing options, Bailao said, noting programs to entice developers to build on underused city land, and the legalization of garden suites and laneway housing.

“Now I want to continue to give back — to bring council together and to bring the city together to address the issues we are all facing.”

On Monday, longtime Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter announced she would not be running for the Liberal leadership, but she is considering a run for Toronto mayor.

Others who could join the race include City Councillors Josh Matlow and Brad Bradford.

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