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Trinity-Spadina redistributed into two ridings

April 14th, 2015 · No Comments

By Annemarie Brissenden

Jennifer Hollett received the New Democratic Party nomination for the new riding of University-Rosedale earlier this month at a lively meeting packed with party faithful. Trinity-Spadina councillors and trustee Joe Cressy (Ward 20), Mike Layton (Trinity-Spadina), and Ausma Malik (Ward 10), as well as Peggy Nash (MP, Parkdale-High Park), were among those who showed up to support the broadcaster, academic, and self-described “leading digital expert and visionary,” who was also the digital director of Olivia Chow’s mayoral campaign.

“Olivia is one of the reasons I got into politics. She made it real,” said the acclaimed Hollett, who added she was honoured by the energy and support of those who attended the meeting.

She will face Liberal Chrystia Freeland (MP, Toronto-Centre) in the new riding, which goes into effect with the next federal election, currently fixed for Oct. 19, 2015.

“Most people don’t know that there’s been a boundary change,” said Hollett. “It seems to have flown under the radar.”

The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act mandates a review after every 10-year census, and provides a mechanism for reflecting changes and movements in the nation’s population in the House of Commons.

The representation formula itself is found in the Constitution, although the Fair Representation Act of 2011 introduced a new formula for seat allocation and shortened the process’s timeline.

Ontario received 15 more seats as a result of the review, with Toronto increasing from 23 to 25 ridings.

The Gleaner’s coverage area is home to one of the major changes, as Trinity-Spadina and Toronto-Centre are being redistributed into three new ridings: Toronto-Centre, whose northern boundary going forward will be Bloor Street; University-Rosedale, which includes the north ends of the old Trinity-Spadina and Toronto-Centre ridings and extends to Dundas Street West, where Spadina-Fort York picks up, encompassing everything south to the lake.

“I’ll miss attending events in the north end of the riding,” admitted Adam Vaughan (MP, Trinity-Spadina), who will stand for the Liberals in Spadina-Fort York. But he sees the redistribution as reflective of the city’s growth and hopes that Toronto will be better served under the new boundaries.

Like Vaughan, Freeland will miss parts of her old riding, but is keen to start reaching out to the new one.

“I’m sad that I will no longer have the privilege of representing some of the people in Toronto-Centre,” said Freeland. “Having said that, I hope to have the privilege of representing the Annex.”

The author and journalist is familiar with the area, lives close by, and regularly attends local events, like Harbord Street’s pumpkin festival, a highlight for her children last year.

“I love the Annex,” she said. “I used to live there, so it’s a place I feel very comfortable in.” Both Freeland and Hollett, who recently moved there herself, pointed to the strong feeling of community, and the unique social democratic history of the area, as well as its small town atmosphere.

“It’s a version of Jane Jacobs’s idealized city,” explained Freeland. She’s already begun connecting with people in the area, working with Vaughan and Carolyn Bennett (MP, St. Paul’s) to put together local events on rail safety and youth unemployment.

The latter issue is also on Hollett’s radar.

“University plays a big role in the community; students are worried about unpaid internships and job security,” she said.

Jobs, growing inequality, climate change… these are the concerns that spurred her into running. Hollett is “worried about Canada, but it is easier to sit back and complain. It’s up to us to see change.”

“Jenn is a smart, dynamic, and impressive community leader,” said Cressy, who gave her his enthusiastic support at the nomination meeting, closing the proceedings with “this is a family. Let’s keep it orange.”

He said he doesn’t “like the way the boundaries were redrawn, because it splits communities of interest and historic neighbourhoods.”

But for Hollett, the redistribution, due simply to population growth, is an opportunity to “create a new identity as a riding.”

Vaughan agreed.

“The growth of the city, managed responsibly, led us to this change,” he said, adding, “It’s good for politicians to be a little bit nervous about their future.”

As of writing, the Conservative Party of Canada does not appear to have any candidates nominated for either University-Rosedale or Spadina-Fort York, and did not respond to the Gleaner’s repeated requests for an interview.

The NDP has not yet nominated a candidate for Spadina-Fort York.

For further information on the

redistribution and to see the new riding boundaries, please visit

Elections Canada’s website at www.elections.ca.

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