Anthony Perruzza

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Anthony Perruzza
Toronto City Councillor
for Ward 7 Humber River—Black Creek
Assumed office
December 1, 2018
Preceded byWard created
Toronto City Councillor
for Ward 8 York West
In office
December 1, 2006 – December 1, 2018
Preceded byPeter Li Preti
Succeeded byWard dissolved
Member of Provincial Parliament
for Downsview
In office
September 6, 1990 – June 7, 1995
Preceded byLaureano Leone
Succeeded byAnnamarie Castrilli
North York City Councillor for Ward 5
In office
December 1, 1988 – December 1, 1990
Preceded byMaria Augimeri
Succeeded byClaudio Polsinelli
Metro Toronto Separate School Trustee for Ward 15
In office
December 1, 1985 – December 1, 1988
Preceded byTony Nigro
Succeeded byRick Morelli
Personal details
Born1959 or 1960 (age 63–64)[1]
Political partyIndependent
(Municipal politicians are elected on a non-partisan basis in Toronto)
Other political
New Democratic

Anthony Perruzza (/pəˈrtsə/ pə-ROOT-sə, Italian: [perˈruttsa]; born 1959 or 1960) is a Canadian politician who has served on Toronto City Council since 2006. He currently represents Ward 7 Humber River—Black Creek. Perruzza was a North York councillor from 1988 to 1990, and served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1990 to 1995 as a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP). Perruzza was a candidate for mayor of Toronto in the 2023 by-election, placing tenth.[2]

Early life[edit]

Perruzza moved to Canada at age nine, and was raised in a working-class family in North York. He became a carpenter in his teens and paid his way through university. He studied history and political science at York University.[3]

Political career[edit]

He first campaigned for the North York city council in a November 1984 by-election for the city's first ward. A newspaper report from the campaign lists him as a twenty-six-year-old businessman and part-time student. Perruzza supported property tax cuts and the creation of a local recreation centre.[4] He lost to Mario Sergio in a crowded field of candidates.

School trustee[edit]

Perruzza campaigned for a seat on the Metro Toronto Separate School Board (Catholic school board) in the 1985 municipal election, and narrowly defeated incumbent trustee Tony Nigro to win Ward 15. Early newspaper reports actually indicated that Nigro was the winner, before the final polling data was received.

In February 1986, Perruzza informed the media that board members were secretly considering cutbacks of up to $4.7 million to school various programs. He said he was making the information available because "the public should be given an opportunity to voice their concerns before the cuts are made". Some trustees criticized his decision.[5] Perruzza later spoke against a board decision to prevent public nurses from teaching sex education in separate schools,[6] and urged Catholic grade schools to accept non-Catholic students, describing existing bans as discriminatory.[7]

North York councillor[edit]

After serving one term as a trustee, Perruzza campaigned a second time for the North York City Council in the 1988 municipal election. The election was marked by an unusual controversy, as one of his opponents was caught trying to throw away 161 Perruzza election signs at York University at 3:30 in the morning.[8] Perruzza was elected without difficulty in the city's fifth ward, and became the only New Democrat on the new council.[9]

Perruzza criticized some development initiatives proposed by North York Mayor Mel Lastman, including a plan to build condominiums on land owned by York University.[10] He accused his council colleagues of shirking their responsibility to provide affordable housing,[11] and spoke against Lastman's effort to institute a mandatory fee for North York municipal candidates, describing the plan as a "price tag on democracy that will favor incumbents".[12] He was appointed to the North York Board of Health in 1989.[13]

In early 1990, Perruzza recommended that North York license and regulate its previously-illegal rooming houses and basement apartments. He argued that the city had an obligation to provide protection to tenants and improve living conditions, but could not do so as long as the dwellings had no legal status.[14] He opposed an 8.4 per cent property tax increase in the same period, and suggested that the city transfer $11.7 million from its planned performing arts centre to make up the necessary operational funds.[15] He argued that developers were being given tax breaks, while residents were required to contribute more at the onset of a recession.[16]

Member of Provincial Parliament[edit]

Perruzza campaigned for the Ontario legislature in the 1990 provincial election, challenging Liberal incumbent Laureano Leone in Downsview. One of Perruzza's main campaign promises was to fight the decentralization of government services, which had resulted in the loss of more than 1,400 government jobs from the riding.[17] He also called for market value property tax assessment in Toronto, so as to provide substantial tax reductions for many of his residents.[18] Perruzza defeated Leone by over 5,000 votes as the NDP won the election and formed a majority government.

Perruzza's election to the provincial legislature meant that he was forced to relinquish his seat on council. He criticized North York councillors for choosing to appoint his replacement, rather than calling a by-election. When it became obvious that no by-election would take place, Perruzza called for Mike Foster to be appointed to his seat. The council instead chose Claudio Polsinelli, a defeated Liberal candidate.[19] Some North York councillors accused Perruzza of billing the city for stationery and business cards for use in his provincial campaign. Perruzza denied this, acknowledging that he ordered a significant amount of paper in 1990 but saying that none of it went toward his provincial campaign.[20]

Perruzza and fellow MPP George Mammoliti supported a fight led by community residents to rebuild the York Woods Library Theatre in 1992.[21] The following year, he announced his support for a compromise Metro Toronto tax reform plan that reflected the interests of both downtown and North York residents.[22] In 1994, he pushed for greater accountability in the social housing trade.[23] Late in his term, Perruzza supported the construction of a new community centre on Jane Street near Grandravine.[24]

On June 9, 1994, Perruzza was one of twelve New Democratic Party MPPs to vote against Bill 167, legislation that would have provided same-sex couples with rights and obligations (including family benefits) equal to opposite-sex common law couples.[25] The NDP had officially endorsed the bill, but allowed the issue to be decided by "free vote". The bill was defeated by a vote of 68-59. If the twelve dissenting New Democratic Party MPPs had voted for the motion, it would have passed.

Perruzza held five parliamentary assistant positions between 1990 and 1995. The NDP lost the 1995 provincial election, and Perruzza was narrowly beaten by Liberal candidate Annamarie Castrilli in Downsview.

Return to municipal politics[edit]

Perruzza returned to municipal politics after his provincial defeat. With the amalgamation of North York into the City of Toronto, he campaigned for the new city's seventh ward council seat in the 1997 municipal election. He was endorsed by the Toronto Star newspaper, but finished fourth in the two-member ward.[26]

He campaigned for Toronto City Council's redistributed eighth ward, which includes the Jane and Finch area, in the 2000 municipal election. He was endorsed by the Toronto Star, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.[27] He was narrowly defeated by Peter Li Preti.

Perruzza challenged Li Preti again in the 2003 municipal election, charging that his opponent was negligent in defending the rights of tenants.[28] He was again endorsed by the Toronto Star.[29] Li Preti was re-elected by a reduced margin.

Perruzza challenged Li Preti a third time in the 2006 municipal election. He called for a licensing system for landlords, and focused on community safety issues.[30]

Several incidents occurred during advanced polling on the weekend of November 4–5, 2006, leading to Perruzza and Li Preti accusing one another of dirty campaigning and the breaking of numerous election and criminal laws. Among other claims, each candidate accused staff from the opposing campaign of interfering with elections staff, campaigning illegally at polling locations and intimidating their opponent's voters. No criminal charges were laid by police. However, in a completely unprecedented move, the City of Toronto hired off-duty police officers at a cost of approximately $23,200 to guard all 40 voting locations in the ward on election day to assure that voters would remain safe and free from harassment.[31]

Perruzza defeated Li Preti on election day, winning the Ward Eight seat by a margin of about 5 per cent. He is an ally of Toronto Mayor David Miller, who was re-elected over challenger Jane Pitfield.[32]

On council[edit]

After the 2006 election, Perruzza was appointed to serve on the Licensing and Standards Committee, the Toronto Transit Commission and the audit committee. He was also named vice-chair of the North York Community Council.[33][34] Perruzza has reiterated his call for a licensing system for landlords, and supports increased public transit in Toronto's York Region.[35] He openly supports LGBT rights, and has shown this in his support of The 519 Church Street Community Centre.

He formerly served on the 2010 to 2014 Executive Committee and was the Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee in 2013 and 2014.

In 2015 Perruzza launched DUKE Heights Business Improvement Area, which worked to revitalize local businesses and attract new investment to the area.[36] Perruzza has been committed to improving public spaces in his ward. He worked to revitalize local parks, including partnering with multiple stakeholders to revitalize Driftwood Parkette in 2016.[37] Perruzza was a strong advocate for improving public transit in Toronto. He supported the construction of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, which brought subway service to his ward.[38]

In 2020, after Metrolinx reneged on a long held promise to hand over land at the Maintenance and Storage Facility of the Finch West LRT for a community hub in the Jane-Finch community, Perruzza voiced his concerns to the executives of Metrolinx and the media over the broken promise.[39]  After much pressure from Perruzza, other local politicians and community, Metrolinx retracted their statement and promised to make the land available at a nominal cost.[40]

Perruzza, who’s ward includes Toronto’s most diverse and lowest income neighbourhoods,[41][42] served as the City of Toronto’s Poverty reduction advocate from 2018 to 2022.  In his role he advocated for more affordable transit for low income families.[43]

Through his position on Toronto City Council, Perruzza currently sits on the following committees and Boards: Etobicoke York Community Council, Infrastructure and Environment Committee, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Exhibition Place Board of Governors, Hockey Hall of Fame Board of Directors.[44]

2023 mayoral by-election[edit]

On April 12, 2023, Perruzza announced his campaign for mayor of Toronto in the 2023 by-election, releasing a statement that, if elected, he would oppose increases in property taxes, transit fares and user fees. He also said he would negotiate with the federal and provincial governments to secure stable funding.[45]

Personal life[edit]

Married for 15 years, Perruzza and his wife Keyla are raising their two children in North York. They share their home with their elderly parents – two very active seniors.[46]

Electoral record[edit]

2022 Toronto municipal election, Ward 7 Humber River—Black Creek
Candidate Votes Vote share
Anthony Perruzza 8,707 61.30%
Chris Mammoliti 3,215 22.64%
Amanda Coombs 2,282 16.06%
Source: City of Toronto[47]
2018 Toronto municipal election, Ward 7 Humber River—Black Creek
Candidate Votes Vote share
Anthony Perruzza 8,336 36.80%
Giorgio Mammoliti 5,625 24.83%
Deanna Sgro 4,512 19.92%
Tiffany Ford 3,187 14.07%
Amanda Coombs 445 1.96%
Winston La Rose 247 1.09%
Kerry-Ann Thomas 153 0.68%
Kristy-Ann Charles 147 0.65%
Source: City of Toronto[48]
2014 Toronto election, Ward 8
Candidate Votes %
Anthony Perruzza 8,705 71.10%
Arthur Smitherman 1,326 10.83%
Suzanne Narain 852 6.96%
Princess Boucher 524 4.28%
Antonio Vescio 431 3.52%
Thomas Barclay 406 3.32%
Total 12,244 100%
2010 Toronto election, Ward 8
Candidate Votes %
Anthony Perruzza 4,724 41.464%
Peter Li Preti 4,372 38.374%
Antonius Clarke 1,487 13.052%
Arthur Smitherman 268 2.352%
Naseeb Husain 243 2.133%
John Gallagher 129 1.132%
Ramnarine Tiwari 117 1.027%
Gerardo Miniguano 53 0.465%
Total 11,393 100%

2006 Toronto municipal election, Councillor, Ward Eightedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
Anthony Perruzza 4,738 45.70
(x)Peter Li Preti 4,159 40.1
Hau Dang Tan 734 7.08
Garry Green 371 3.58
Ramnarine Tiwari 193 1.86
Abdulhaq Omar 173 1.67
Total valid votes 10,368 100.00

2003 Toronto municipal election, Councillor, Ward Eightedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
(x)Peter Li Preti 4,670 52.53
Anthony Perruzza 4,220 47.47
Total valid votes 8,890 100.00

2000 Toronto municipal election, Councillor, Ward Eightedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
(x)Peter Li Preti 5,363 56.49
Anthony Perruzza 4,131 43.51
Total valid votes 9,494 100.00
1997 Toronto election, Ward 7
Candidate Votes %
Maria Augimeri 11,243 28.01
Peter Li Preti 9,747 24.28
Maria Rizzo 8,850 22.05
Anthony Perruzza 6,347 15.81
Anna Stella 2,961 7.38
Jeanelle Julien 523 1.30
Abdulhaq Omar 467 1.16
Total valid votes 40,138 100.00

Electors could vote for two candidates.
The percentages are determined in relation to the total number of votes.

1995 Ontario general election: Downsview
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Liberal Annamarie Castrilli 9,142 39.48 $36,676.53
New Democratic Anthony Perruzza 8,782 37.92 $36,600.54
Progressive Conservative Frank Ellis 4,444 19.19 $8,755.28
Independent Donato De Dominicis 572 2.47 $3,816.31
Green Tiina Leivo 217 0.94 $1,046.57
Total valid votes 23,157 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 439
Turnout 23,596 63.90
Electors on the lists 36,926
"Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. 1995-06-08. Retrieved 2012-09-04.

1990 Ontario general election: Downsview
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Anthony Perruzza 13,440 56.58
Liberal Laureano Leone 8,219 34.60
Progressive Conservative Chris Smith 1,477 6.22
Libertarian David Kenny 619 2.61
Total valid votes 23,755 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 383
Turnout 24,138 66.08
Electors on the lists 36,528

1988 Toronto municipal election, North York Councillor, Ward Fiveedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
Anthony Perruzza 5,207 50.65
Frank Crudo 1,967 19.13
Bruno Rea 1,557 15.14
John Butcher 951 9.25
Charles Olito 599 5.83
Total valid votes 10,281 100.00

46 out of 47 polls reporting.[49] [50]

1985 Toronto municipal election, Metro Toronto Separate School Board, Ward Fifteenedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
Anthony Perruzza 1,999 33.80
(x)Tony Nigro 1,940 32.80
Ralph Paonessa 1,130 19.10
A. Renato Lavalle 846 14.30
Total valid votes 5,915 100.00

Toronto municipal by-election, November 12, 1984, North York Councillor, Ward Oneedit
Candidate Total votes % of total votes
Mario Sergio 2,685 .
Ted Wray 1,139 .
Frank Esposito . .
Ralph Frascino . .
Nick Iamonico . .
Paul Leli . .
Cal Osmond . .
Anthony Perruzza . .
Mario Reda . .
Jack Sweet . .
Camilo Tiqui . .



  1. ^ Downsview riding: [Final Edition] Toronto Star [Toronto, Ont] 02 June 1995: NY.2.
  2. ^ "Councillor Anthony Perruzza running for mayor of Toronto". 12 April 2023.
  3. ^ Anthony Perruzza: About Archived February 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, accessed 15 October 2006.
  4. ^ John Keating, "Eleven run for seat on North York council", Toronto Star, 6 November 1984, p. 13.
  5. ^ Robert Mattas, "Trustee says program cuts could reach $4.7 million", Globe and Mail, 13 February 1986, A17; Lynne Ainsworth, "Trustees delay $3 million cut for schools", Toronto Star, 21 March 1986, A7.
  6. ^ Lynne Ainsworth, "Sex education by public nurses banned from separate schools", Toronto Star, 21 November 1986, F19.
  7. ^ "Non-Catholics still barred from separate grade schools", Toronto Star, 17 June 1988, A5.
  8. ^ Robert MacLeod, "Candidate in Ward 5 found with rival's signs", Globe and Mail, 8 November 1988, A1. The rival candidate was Bruno Rea. He initially denied that he took the signs himself, and instead blamed the theft on overzealous campaign workers. Rea later pled guilty to a charge of mischief, and was given a fine. See Royson James, "Bittersweet victory for Mel as Marilyn loses", Toronto Star, 15 November 1988, B3; Lila Sarick, "Ontario judge voices dismay over theft of election signs", Globe and Mail, 10 February 1989, A9; "Campaign sign-nappers fined", Globe and Mail, 16 February 1989, A16.
  9. ^ Royson James, "North York swings against Metro trend", Toronto Star, 22 November 1988, N1. Howard Moscoe and Maria Augimeri, the two New Democrats on the previous council, were elected to the Metro Toronto Council in 1988.
  10. ^ Royson James, "York U gets okay to sell campus land for condos", Toronto Star, 1 June 1989, A7.
  11. ^ Royson James, "North York quits battle to oust illegal tenant", Toronto Star, 11 April 1989, N5; Gail Swainson, "North York politicians protest plans for Downsview", Toronto Star, 30 November 1989.
  12. ^ Royson James, "North York out to keep 'weirdos' off ballot", Toronto Star, 1 June 1989, D11. Lastman said that he wanted the fee to keep joke candidates off the ballot.
  13. ^ Gail Swainson, "Li Preti kicked off powerful executive committee", Toronto Star, 7 December 1989, N2.
  14. ^ Gail Swainson, "License illegal dwellings North York panel told", Toronto Star, 21 February 1990, A6.
  15. ^ "Talks resume at school board", Toronto Star, 19 April 1990, A6.
  16. ^ Stan Josey, "Taxpayers not cheated, Lastman says", Toronto Star, 23 May 1991, N1.
  17. ^ Gail Swainson, "Perruzza blasts Downsview MPP", Toronto Star, N5.
  18. ^ Lesley Simpson, "Downsview Riding may swing with tide", Toronto Star, 26 August 1990.
  19. ^ Stan Josey, "Will Perruzza and Polsinelli swap seats?", Toronto Star, 27 September 1990, N1.
  20. ^ Stan Josey, "City writes off Perruzza's printing debt", Toronto Star, 28 February 1991.
  21. ^ Phinjo Gombu, "Activists applaud $3 million for theatre", Toronto Star, 20 January 1993, A6.
  22. ^ "5 NDPers push for tax reform", Toronto Star, 15 December 1993, A13.
  23. ^ Jack Lakey, "Officials blasted on social housing funds", Toronto Star, 3 June 1994, A10.
  24. ^ Leslie Ferenc, "Councillor fighting for new community centre", Toronto Star, 23 February 1995, NY1.
  25. ^ Hansard/House Debate, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 9 June 1994 Archived 11 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "... with this council", Toronto Star, 9 November 1997, p. 1.
  27. ^ Don Wanagas, "CUPE backs councillors who fought dump plan", National Post, 19 October 2000, A27; Hamida Ghafour, "Candidates get union endorsement", Toronto Star, 2 November 2000, p. 1; "Our recommendations for Toronto council", Toronto Star, 5 November 2000, p. 1.
  28. ^ Jack Lakey, "Bitter rivals gear up for a rematch", Toronto Star, 4 November 2003, B2.
  29. ^ Royson James, "Faces of the new Toronto", Toronto Star, 7 November 2003, F1.
  30. ^ Anthony Perruzza: Home Archived November 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, 15 October 2006.
  31. ^ Police to watch York West polls, Toronto Star, 8 November 2006.
  32. ^ Paul Moloney and Vanessa Lu, "Miller gets power boost", Toronto Star, 15 November 2006, C4.
  33. ^ "City Council names Speaker and members to Standing Committees, Agencies, Boards and Commissions", Canada NewsWire, 6 December 2006, 13:22.
  34. ^ "By the numbers", Globe and Mail, 20 January 2007, A15.
  35. ^ Tess Kalinowski, "Commuters facing Steeles showdown", Toronto Star, 30 April 2007, E3.
  36. ^ "North York neighbourhood rebranded as Duke Heights". CBC. 8 December 2015.
  37. ^ "A Community Initiative Comes to Life at the New Driftwood Parkette Playground". Downsview Advocate. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  38. ^ Chatterjee, Ryan (2015-04-01). "York West councillor claims Spadina subway extension far too late". The Toronto Observer. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  39. ^ "Metrolinx reneged on promise to hand over land for Jane-Finch community hub, councillor says". CBC. Jul 22, 2020.
  40. ^ "Metrolinx says it will help advance Toronto community centre project after reportedly reversing plan to donate land". Toronto. 2020-07-23. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  41. ^ "Social Atlas 2016 Maps". City of Toronto. 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  42. ^ "Jane And Finch, Canada's Most Diverse Neighborhood". Traveling Circus of Urbanism. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  43. ^ "Families with child-care subsidy will get TTC discount, but thousands on wait list won't". Toronto. 2019-09-26. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  44. ^ "Councillor Anthony Perruzza". City of Toronto. 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  45. ^ "Councillor Anthony Perruzza running for mayor of Toronto". 12 April 2023.
  46. ^ "Community builder, suburban champion, and family man running to be mayor of Toronto. – Anthony Perruzza for Mayor". Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  47. ^ "Declaration of Results: 2022 Municipal General Election" (PDF). City Clerk's Office Toronto. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  48. ^ "Declaration of Results" (PDF). Toronto City Clerk's Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  49. ^ The Globe and Mail, 16 November 1988.
  50. ^ Final unofficial totals taken from the Globe and Mail, 15 November 1985, A2.
    The final official totals were not significantly different.
  51. ^ The 1984 municipal results are taken from the Toronto Star, 13 November 1984, A7. The Star only included the poll results for the top two candidates; all other candidates are listed in alphabetical order. The final official result confirmed Sergio's victory.

External links[edit]