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Voters mark their ballot papers in the municipal election in Toronto on Monday.

Chris Young/Canadian Press

Where: Oakville

Who ran: Rob Burton, Ann Mulvale, John McLaughlin, Raymond Ray

Why it was hot: Ms. Mulvale was mayor of the affluent suburb for 18 years before she lost to Rob Burton in 2006 by 1,636 votes. After a few years serving on the board of a municipal pension fund and working as campaign chair for the United Way, she decided to make another run. Appealing to the region's conservative nature, Ms. Mulvale promised to deal with the city's debt. But Mr. Burton has proven popular with an environmental message that has taken on new resonance in Oakville since a community campaign successfully stopped the construction of a proposed power plant. He won another term after promising to curb development.

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Where: Ward 25, Don Valley West

Who ran: Jaye Robinson, Cliff Jenkins, Joanne Dickins, Tanya Hostler

Why it was hot: After losing to Mr. Jenkins by just 80 votes in 2003, Ms. Robinson defeated the centre-right incumbent Monday night in the city's wealthiest ward. A former manager of the city's Economic Development department, she played a role in bringing the popular arts event Nuit Blanche to Toronto, and championed other tourism boons like Winter- and Summerlicious.

Where: Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina)

Who Ran: Rosario Bruto, David Footman, Mike Layton, Jim Likourezos, Sean McCormick, Karlene Nation, George Sawision, Jason Stevens, Karen Sun

Why it was hot: The diverse downtown ward drew many contenders for councillor Joe Pantalone's vacant seat. But it was Mike Layton, whose dad is leader of the federal NDP, who took the riding thanks to a progressive platform and strong environmental credentials. Transit and development were important issues for the high proportion of apartment and condo dwellers, and candidates had to appeal to the diverse neighbourhoods of Chinatown, Little Italy and Liberty Village. Surprisingly, it was former Rogers Sportsnet broadcaster Sean McCormick who came in second, in front of environmental and community organizer Karen Sun, with a compelling conservative message to curb taxes and improve city services.

Where: Ward 30, Toronto Danforth

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Who ran: Paula Fletcher, Liz West, Andrew James, Mark Dewdney, Mihaly Varga, Angie Tingas, Andreas Bogojevic, Gary Walsh

Why it was hot: When incumbent Paula Fletcher invited critics to "c'mon down" and run against her, she probably didn't anticipate such fierce competition. Former CityTV entertainment reporter Liz West entered the race only in mid-August, but earned more than 40 per cent of the vote in this riding that stretches from the waterfront to Danforth Avenue. A strong desire for change prompted candidate Andrew James to drop out of the race and endorse Ms. West.

Where: Ward 18, Davenport

Who ran: Ana Bailao, Kevin Beaulieu, Doug Carroll, Frank De Jong, Abdirazak Elmi, Nha Le, Joe MacDonald, Mohammed Muhit, Kirk Russell, Joanna Teliatnik, Hema Vyas, Ken Wood

Why it was hot: When councillor Adam Giambrone dropped out of the mayoral race in the midst of a sex scandal, his assistant Kevin Beaulieu stepped into the fray. Pitted against another former assistant, Ana Bailao, a one-time employee of current MP Mario Silva, both contenders had a strong understanding of how things work inside City Hall. But Ms. Bailao, who opposed a parking ban on Dundas Street West, vowed to slow the explosion of bars and nightlife in the rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood and promised to work with condo developers, had a strong local following.

With a report from Shannon Busta

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