Friday, January 13, 2012

Toronto--Danforth riding boundary history.

With a by-election in the riding of Toronto--Danforth imminent (caused by the death of Jack Layton in August), I will be taking an in depth look at the riding over the coming months. My first post will be analyzing the modern day riding of Toronto--Danforth's boundary history. That is, I'll be showing the boundaries of other ridings over time that happened to fall within the present day boundaries.

Eric Grenier did an excellent history of the riding, but looked at its history as all one riding starting with Toronto East in 1867, and following it until 1933 when it became Broadview, and then following Broadview until it became Broadview--Greenwood in 1976 and then following it through its name change to Toronto--Danforth in 2000 to today. The problem with this approach is, there is no part of the riding that existed in all incarnations of these past ridings.

Toronto East began in 1867, mostly on the west side of the Don River, and included only a small part of present day Toronto--Danforth. However, it would gradually shift eastward across the Don River until it was entirely on its east side. In 1933, most of Toronto East became the new riding of Broadview. In 1976, most of Broadview became Broadview--Greenwood.  But, it had shifted northward to the point where its territory did not include any part of the original Toronto East in 1867. Eventually Broadview--Greenwood got bigger until it filled in the entirety of present day Toronto--Danforth.

To illustrate the riding boundaries over time, I have made maps of each redistribution that resulted in boundary changes in the area currently covered by the Toronto--Danforth riding.

From 1867 to 1903, the present day riding of Toronto--Danforth was split between two ridings along Queen Street. Queen Street formed the city limits of the city of Toronto until 1884 (see annexation map). The area north of Queen was found in the "East riding of York" (York East), while the area south would be in the riding of "East Toronto" (Toronto East).

York East was a mostly rural riding which consisted of the Townships of Markham, and Scarborough, York east of Yonge Street and the village of Yorkville. Until 1884, the area north of Queen Street was part of York Township (then East York Township).

Toronto East was more of an urban riding. It originally consisted of the wards of St. Lawrence, St. David's and St. James. Only St. Lawrence Ward extended into modern day Toronto-Danforth. In today's terms, the riding basically extended west to Yonge Street, and north to Bloor Street. Most of the riding was in present day Toronto Centre. In 1872, Toronto East lost St. James Ward to the newly created Toronto Centre riding. This did not affect the boundary in present day Toronto--Danforth however.

Toronto--Danforth showing 1867-1903 riding boundaries and features

The 1903 redistribution would see the next boundary change in the area. In 1884, a large segment of the region (Riverdale) was annexed by the City of Toronto. Small segments along Queen Street (1887)  and Greenwood Avenue (1890) were also later added to the city. These annexations were reflected upon the 1903 redistribution, which gave this new part of the city to the riding of Toronto East. Meanwhile, the riding of York East was abolished. The part of the York East now found in Toronto--Danforth found itself in the new riding of York South. While not within city limits, this area was becoming more and more urban in nature.

Toronto--Danforth showing 1903-1914 riding boundaries and features
The City of Toronto annexed some more land between 1903 and 1914, but upon redistribution the new riding boundaries would ignore the new city limits. The northern boundary of the Toronto East riding would remain along Danforth Avenue, but the eastern boundary would be moved west to Pape Avenue. This was caused by the re-creation of the new York East riding. York East would consist of all of Scarborough, plus the furthest eastern portion of Toronto, east of Pape and south of Danforth. The area north of Danforth would remain in the riding of York South.

Toronto--Danforth showing 1914-1924 boundaries and features.

As Toronto grows larger, the riding of Toronto East has been making an eastward drift. By 1924, the riding has shed almost all of its territory west of the Don River, and can now be found almost exclusively within the modern riding of Toronto--Danforth. There was only a small section, likely uninhabited west of the Don River in the northwest corner of the riding between the CN railroad and the river. While the riding moved east, its eastern border also moved with it, going from Pape Avenue in 1914 to Greenwood Avenue in 1924 (Knox Avenue south of Queen). Its northern boundary also moved, up to the Toronto city limits (west of Pape) and Danforth Avenue (east of Pape).

The riding of York South's southerly boundary was thus moved north, and followed the city limits of Toronto. The remainder of modern day Toronto--Danforth would find itself in the new riding of Toronto--Scarborough. This riding did not actually include any part of Scarborough (which would be in the riding of York South). It just included the part of Toronto east of Toronto East. I guess they had to come up with a name, and "Toronto East East" didn't sound good. Scarborough was right next door, so why not name it after its neighbour?

Toronto--Danforth showing 1924-1933 boundaries and features.

The 1933 redistribution abolished the riding of Toronto East. Most of the riding became the new riding of Broadview. The eastern boundary of Broadview would be Jones Avenue for most of its length. To the east of Jones would be the new riding of Greenwood. Greenwood extended along the Toronto waterfront until Woodbine Avenue, in present day Beaches--East York. However, more than half of Greenwood would be found in present day Toronto--Danforth. The northern boundary of both these ridings would remain the city limits.

North of the city limits would be transferred to the new riding of York East, which included all of York County east of Yonge Street (outside of Toronto).

Toronto--Danforth showing 1933-1966 boundaries and features.

It was not until 1966 that the boundaries within modern day Toronto--Danforth would be changed again.

The riding of Broadview would be expanded eastward to Greenwood Avenue (north of Queen Street) and northward to Sammon Avenue (east of Pape Avenue). A small, likely uninhabited chunk west of Cherry Street in the Port Lands was given to the neighbouring Rosedale riding. As a result of Broadview moving eastward, and York East moved northward.

Toronto--Danforth showing 1966-1976 boundaries and features.

In 1976, Broadview shifted northward, and became the riding of Broadview--Greenwood. Despite its new name, it did not take any territory from the former Greenwood riding which was abolished into the new riding of Beaches. In fact, Beaches actually took some territory from Broadview, gaining the area between Gerrard Street and Queen Street east of Jones Avenue.

The riding of Rosedale, took up some more territory in the area, and would now include parts of Toronto's Studio District. It gained the part of the former riding of Broadview south of Queen Street. To compensate, Broadview shifted north, moving its northern boundary all the way to the Don River. This new area in the Borough of East York was gained to the expense of York East, which was regulated to a small corner present day Toronto--Danforth (east of Greenwood, north of the city limits).

Toronto--Danforth showing 1976-1987 boundaries and features.

In 1987, Broadview--Greenwood was expanded to the point that it covered most of today's Toronto--Danforth riding. The riding of York East was abolished, and Broadview--Greenwood took up the territory it had in the area. It also took back the area from Beaches between Gerrard and Queen that was lost in 1976. The riding was also expanded southward, to include the area south of Queen Street and west of Leslie Street that belonged to Rosedale previously.

Beaches was renamed Beaches--Woodbine, and other than Broadview--Greenwood, would be the only other riding that covered today's Toronto--Danforth.

Toronto--Danforth showing 1987-1996 boundaries and features.

Broadview--Greenwood ate up some more territory of next-door Beaches--Woodbine. The northern boundary of Beaches--Woodbine was moved south from Danforth Avenue to Gerrard Street. Meanwhile, Broadview--Greenwood expanded outside of the area, taking in a small area northwest of the Don River.

Beaches--Woodbine was renamed "Beaches--East York" in 1997, before the federal election took place. Broadview--Greenwood was renamed "Toronto--Danforth" in 2000. The boundaries were altered to where they are today upon the 2003 redistribution.

Toronto--Danforth showing 1996-2003 boundaries and features.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Saint-Maurice--Champlain and the Liberals (poll maps)

2011 poll map of Saint-Maurice--Champlain coloured by leading party.
Yesterday, it was announced that NDP MP Lise St-Denis crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party of Canada. Apparently, she had a falling out with the party, as she disagreed with the party on some issues. It was enough for her to switch, anyways.

As an electoral geographer, I wanted to take a look at the maps, to see if this was a good idea for her. And what I found was a resounding "no". Historically, this riding has gone Liberal before. After all, part of it was represented by Jean Chretien when he was Prime Minister. However, it should be noted that many of his elections were a little too close for comfort, and without him on the ballot, the area would assuredly have gone to the Bloc. This riding was created in 2003 from the previous riding of Saint-Maurice, which Chretien represented and Champlain, which voted for the BQ in 1993, 1997 and in 2000. The Liberals came within 15 votes of winning Champlain in 2000.  Only the Shawinigan area was taken from the riding of Saint-Maurice. Geographically, most of the riding came from Champlain. Population wise however, 60% of the riding's inhabitants previously lived in Saint-Maurice.

Liberal vote by poll (2011)

The BQ won Saint-Maurice--Champlain in 2004, 2006 and in 2008 before losing to the NDP in 2011. The Liberals have gotten worse and worse in this riding over time. The Liberals finished 2nd in the riding in 2004, with 31% of the vote. They slipped to 3rd in 2006 and 2008 where they received 12% and 21% of the vote respectively. In 2011, they slipped further back to 4th, getting 12% once again.

Mme. St-Denis has cancer, and will probably not run for re-election in 2015. If she followed the NDP's party policy of resigning before switching parties, she would have had to run in a by-election. Under the current political climate, this seat would be a race between the NDP and the BQ. The Liberals would be lucky to finish 3rd. St-Denis, who doesn't live in the riding has no connections there, and refused to move there upon getting election. It is unlikely that her incumbency status would help her win at all.

In 2011, the Liberals won just three regular polls in the entire riding. They won two in the Town of La Tuque, and one apartment poll in Shawinigan. The Liberals did the best in the La Tuque municipality, where their candidate was the former Chief Administrative Officer. The Municipality of La Tuque covers a large geographical area; most of the riding is actually located within the municipality. One would expect the Liberals to have done quite well in Shawinigan, the hometown of Jean Chretien; but they did not.

The NDP did well right across the riding, winning most polls. The Bloc won a small number polls. They won a few clusters here and there, while the Tories won no polls, despite winning more votes than the Liberals.

Map of the riding; highlighted to show former riding boundary between Champlain and Saint-Maurice and also showing the boundary of the municipality of La Tuque.