It’s no secret — Toronto’s got election fever.

Pass through any of the city’s neighbourhoods and you will see streets filled with signs endorsing one candidate or another. Read any newspaper, alt weekly, or free daily, and the pages are lined with candidates’ goings-on.

Yes indeed, after 4 traumatic years of personal scandals and political gridlock, the city is ready to reinvent itself. On October 27th, Torontonians will cast their ballots for Mayor, City Councillor and School Board Trustee.

Though Rob Ford dropped out of the mayoral race at the last minute, Doug Ford quickly replaced him. The election remains a referendum on the idea of Toronto.

Is Toronto simply a place to pass through between work, shopping and home, as the Fords see it, where we shouldn’t be concerned with the course of its development, instead devoting ourselves to paying the least amount of taxes possible?

Or should Toronto aspire to be a place that cares about what it means to be a city — as Olivia Chow sees it — a place of natural and cultural beauty, a place of shared experiences, a place where people invest in each other, even when that doesn’t necessarily mean we experience the benefits directly.

Or is it something in between — as John Tory views things  — a city of penny-pinching, but cosmopolitan urbanites, afraid of taxes but yearning for that scintillating city-living.

With these three visions on the table, a major question stands: will the city remain divided, roughly along the lines of downtowners and suburbanites. Or will a candidate capture our imagination and unify this fractured burgh?

Casting your vote for Ford, Chow or Tory is a vow, a commitment to what you think Toronto is and should be.

And I know who I’m voting for, and the idea of Toronto I believe in — and it ain’t any of the front runners.

I’m voting for the duck.

Yes, there is a duck running for Mayor of Toronto. Chandler Mallard is a plucky, bright eyed candidate from Toronto Island. Throughout his campaign, he has made it clear that he Loves Toronto — a positive message, and passionate commitment to this place that I haven’t heard from any other candidate. And his support is growing with at least one hundred thousand of the city’s water fowl, in the ravines, river valleys and along the lakeshore, raising their wings and pledging their support.

duck for mayor

This summer I had the good fortune of sitting down with Mr. Mallard at Grossman’s Tavern to talk City. We spoke of transit, urban agriculture and he showed a special interest in figuring out what was up with my beard. You can catch up with the duck’s campaign on his website, and on twitter.

Yup, I’m voting duck, because I love Toronto too. And it’s only from a place of love that we can really get this city going.

See you at the polling stations on October 27th!