Friday, May 27, 2011

Ontario political regions: The Beach(es)

The Beach or "The Beaches" (apparently there is a dispute over the name), is a neighbourhood in eastern Toronto. For my analysis, the Beaches will  generally refer to that part of Toronto bounded on the north by the former borough of East York, on the east by the former city of Scarborough, on the west by Coxwell Ave and the south by Lake Ontario. The area can currently be found in the riding of Beaches--East York. The area is one of the more left wing areas of Toronto, especially provincially. Federally it has had a history of the NDP, but the party was not able to get it back from the Liberals (who held from 1993) until forming opposition in 2011. Before winning in 1993, the Liberals hadn't actually held this seat in 101 years as it had passed between the Tories and the NDP. However, the Tories have finished third here every election since 1988.

In the early history of the area, the area was divided between the ridings of Toronto East and York East. St. Lawrence Ward, which included a thin strip of land along Lake Ontario was found in Toronto East, and included The Beaches themselves. The rest of the area was found in the riding of York East, and was at this point outside of the City of Toronto. It's difficult to determine which area had more people, but, the York East portion was geographically larger, and probably had more people over time, if not in 1867. In 1888, the village of East Toronto was incorporated, and it was found in York East.  For reference, the boundary between the two ridings was at about Queen St.

1) Jas. Metcalfe (1867-1878)
2) Alfred Boultbee (1878-1882)
3) Alexander Mackenzie (1882-1892)
4) W.F. MacLean (1892-1904)

McLean was an Independent Conservative.

In 1903, the area outside of Toronto City limits would be found in the riding of York South. St. Lawrence Ward (now called "Ward 1") remained in Toronto East. 

4) W.F. MacLean (1904-1917) continued

This region would all get annexed during this time, and by 1914 the area would find itself in the riding of York East which included all of Toronto east of Pape and Scarborough Twp.

5) Thos. Foster (1917-1921)
6) J.H. Harris (1921-1925)

In 1924, the area would be in the riding of Toronto--Scarborough.

6) J.H. Harris (1925-1935) continued

In 1934, there was a lot of redistribution in the Toronto area, and the bulk of The Beaches would be fit into the new riding of Danforth. The area west of Woodbine Ave. however would fall in the riding of Greenwood.

6) J.H. Harris (1935-1953) continued
7) R.H. Small (1953-1962)  
8) Reid Scott (1962-1968)

Danforth was abolished in 1966, and the riding of Greenwood was moved over to include all of the Beaches area formerly in Danforth

9) F.A. Brewin (1968-1979)

In 1976, the new riding of Beaches was created:

10) R.M. Richardson (1979-1980)
11) Neil Young (1980-1988)

In 1987, the new riding of Beaches--Woodbine was created. Its name was changed to Beaches--East York in 1997:

11) Neil Young (1988-1993) continued
12) Maria Minna (1993-2011)
13) Matt. Kellway (2011-present)

The riding, which also includes part of the former Borough of East York is slightly underpopulated compared to the provincial average. However, if the province is given more seats, under a new plan, the boundaries are likely not to change much.
Provincial history
A riding of Beaches existed from 1926 to 1967 and a riding of Beaches--Woodbine existed from 1967 to 1999 before matching federal boundaries. MPPs since 1926:

* T.A. Murphy (1926-1948)
* Reid Scott (1948-1951)
* W.H. Collings (1951-1961)
* R.J. Harris (1961-1967)
* J.L. Brown (1967-1971)
* T.A. Wardle (1971-1975)
* M.H. Bryden (1975-1990)
* Frances Lankin (1990-2001)
* M.D. Prue (2001-present)

Political geography (2008 election)
While irrelevant now, in the 2008 election the Liberals won much of the Beaches area, especially in the east end of the region and along the lakefront, but there was no part of The Beaches where they had overwhelming support. Meanwhile, the NDP won a few polls in the west part of the Beaches in 2008, but again no overwhelming areas. 

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