Chairman of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

The Chairman of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto or Metro Chairman was the regional chair of Metropolitan Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the most senior political figure in the municipality. The Metro Chairman was elected by the members of Metropolitan Toronto Council.

Chairman of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto
Flag of Metropolitan Toronto.svg
Flag of Metropolitan Toronto
AppointerPremier of Ontario (First Chairman)
Metropolitan Toronto Council
PrecursorWarden of York County, Ontario
Formation1953 (1953)
First holderFred Gardiner
Final holderAlan Tonks
Abolished1998 (1998)
SuccessionMayor of Toronto

New level of governmentEdit

The position was created in 1954 when Metropolitan Toronto was created by the province of Ontario as a new urban county-level municipality out of the southernmost part of the-then York County. It had exactly the same boundaries as the present-day City of Toronto, but originally consisted of thirteen cities and boroughs, each with its own mayor. These cities included the City of Toronto and what were then its surrounding suburbs: the towns of New Toronto, Mimico, Weston, and Leaside; the villages of Long Branch, Swansea, and Forest Hill; and the townships of Etobicoke, York, North York, East York, and Scarborough.

Metropolitan Toronto was the government entity responsible for co-ordinating various activities within the metropolitan area, including policing and transportation.

Fred Gardiner was appointed by the Premier of Ontario Leslie Frost as the first Metro Chairman. He was subsequently re-elected to the position by Metro Council.

Metro's first two chairmen—Fred Gardiner and William R. Allen—were each honoured with an expressway bearing their name upon retirement.

Chair's relationship to councilEdit

For Metro's first three decades, the Metro Chairman was not required to be an elected member of Metro Council, and it was customary for a new Metro Chairman to resign from his previous position upon becoming chairman.

In 1987, Metro Council was reformed by the province so that Metro councillors were directly elected to the body. (They had previously been drawn from among local city and borough councils.) Under this reform, the chair was required to be a Metro Councillor representing a ward and could not be a non or former member of Metro Council. City mayors, who remained on the reformed Metro Council, were also not permitted to be elected to the position of Metro Chairman.

Accordingly, in the 1988 municipal election incumbent Metro Chairman Dennis Flynn was required to run for election from a Metro ward if he wanted to be re-elected as Metro Chairman. As well, Alan Tonks, ran for a Metro Council seat rather than for re-election as Mayor of York as he wished to challenge Flynn for the position of Metro Chairman which was voted upon by Metro Council at its first meeting following the municipal election. Both Flynn and Tonks were elected as Metro Councillors and Tonks defeated Flynn in the vote for Metro Chairman.


The position ceased to exist when the six municipalities of Metro Toronto were amalgamated into the City of Toronto. The newly created position of mayor for the resulting single-tier "megacity" replaced not only the mayors of the former Metro municipalities, but also abolished the office of Metro Chairman.

List of Chairmen of the Municipality of Metropolitan TorontoEdit

See alsoEdit