Childhood & Early Life
John Howard Tory was born on May 28, 1954, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as eldest child of John A. Tory and Elizabeth (née Bacon). His father was a Canadian lawyer and corporate executive who served as president of Thomson Investments Limited and as director of Rogers Communications. His grandfather John S. D. Tory, a Toronto lawyer, founded the law firm Torys. Tory has one sister, Jennifer and two brothers, Jeffery and Michael.
He followed footsteps of his grandfather and father and studied at the University of Toronto Schools. He attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto and earned Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1975. Thereafter he enrolled at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University and obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1978. In 1980, he received a call to the bar. He is a United Church of Canada member.
Career in Business
Hired by family friend Ted Rogers, Tory worked as journalist for the Rogers Media owned Toronto radio stations CFTR and CHFI from 1972 to 1979. He remained associated with Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington first from 1980 to 1981, and then from 1986 to 1995 holding different positions including as partner, managing partner, and Executive Committee member.
He worked as principal secretary to the Premier of Ontario, Bill Davis and as associate secretary of the cabinet from 1981 to 1985. Thereafter he served as special advisor in the office of the Canadian Special Envoy on Acid Rain
He remained campaign chairman and tour director of the then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as also managed Kim Campbell’s campaign during the 1993 federal election.
He served as president and CEO of Rogers Media from 1995 to 1999 and also had a stint as president and CEO of Rogers subsidiary Rogers Cable from 1999. From 1996 to 2000 Tory remained the ninth commissioner of the Canadian Football League. For several years, he hosted a public affairs program on the community access channel of Rogers Cable. He also remained a member of the board of the Canadian food retailer Metro Inc.
Tory remained a key backer of the 62nd Mayor of Toronto Mel Lastman for six years and served as campaign co-chair of the latter’s 1998 and 2000 mayoral runs. After Lastman announced of not running for re-election, Tory entered the race for Mayor of Toronto during the November 2003 election which was finally won by David Miller. Tory later aided Miller and another Mayoral candidate Barbara Hall in raising funds to repay their campaign debts.
After the then Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Ernie Eves announced his intent to resign as leader, Tory hinted of running in the election and made his candidacy official on May 6, 2004. He won the leadership by approximately 54% of the vote on the second ballot and held office as Leader of the Ontario PC Party from September 28, 2004 to March 20, 2009.
Eves resigned as Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, on January 31, 2005 and paved Tory’s way to run in that provincial electoral district in southwestern Ontario, considered the most safe Conservative seat in the province. Tory won the by-election with 56% of the vote on March 17, 2005 and assumed office as Ontario MPP on March 29, 2005.
He succeeded Bob Runciman as the 33rd Leader of the Opposition in Ontario and held such position from March 29, 2005 to October 10, 2007.
He ran from the provincial electoral district of Don Valley West during the Ontario general election of 2007, held on October 10, that year. The riding garnered attention during the election as Tory, who lived most of his life in the area and who at the time was holding position of leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, faced defeat by Kathleen Wynne, the incumbent MPP, Ontario Liberal Education Minister.
Following his loss to Liberal candidate Rick Johnson in the March 5, 2009, by-election in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, generally considered a safe PC riding in central Ontario, Tory resigned as party leader after which Bob Runciman succeeded as interim leader.
Weeks after his provincial political career ended, Tory made his comeback to broadcasting in pursuit of hosting a Sunday evening phone-in show in the AM radio clear-channel station CFRB in Toronto. The radio stations CHAM in Hamilton and CKTB in St. Catharines simultaneously transmitted ‘The John Tory Show’.Meanwhile Tory also sought openings in law, business and in the non-profit sector
He was shifted to the Monday to Friday afternoon slot of CFRB in fall 2009 for the 4pm to 7pm new show ‘Live Drive’ that was first aired on October 5, that year. Tory featured in the show for the last time on February 21, 2014, before announcing his mayoral candidacy. His work as co-chair of DiverseCity earned him a Harry Jerome Award in 2011. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was also awarded to him.
Although in-between he considered challenging incumbent Toronto Mayor David Miller during the 2010 municipal election, he later dropped the idea so as to continue his radio show and also become Board Chair of CivicAction, a position he held from 2010 to 2014. His association with CivicAction as a founding member and chair as also being chairs and volunteers on numerous fundraising campaigns have been recognised by making him a member of the Order of Ontario in 2012.
On February 24, 2014, Tory registered his candidacy for the 2014 Toronto mayoral election that took place on October 27 that year. Tory won the election defeating incumbent Mayor Rob Ford’s brother and city councillor Doug Ford, and former Trinity—Spadina MP Olivia Chow, and assumed office as the 65th Mayor of Toronto on December 1, 2014.
Tory called to end the Community Contacts Policy on June 7, 2015 and the Toronto Police Board, invalidated rules that govern the use of such controversial policy that allowed police to randomly stop any person they felt suspicious and check identification and personal information.
Although many including former Mayor David Crombie prefer to raze off the Gardiner Expressway instead of renovating it, Tory has continued to back the renovation of Gardiner Expressway east of Jarvis Street. He is also in favour of developing a one-stop extension of Toronto subway Line 2 and has also placed a proposal in August 2016 to develop a 21-acre greenspace in the downtown core to be built above the Railway Lands.
Tory registered his candidacy for the Toronto mayoral election of 2018 on May 1, 2018. The election held on October 22 that year saw Tory being re-elected for a second term. Tory kept his promise of keeping the property tax increases lower than or at least at the rate of inflation during his last spell as Mayor and has made such commitment this time as well.