Mayors Ross Alger of Calgary and Cec Purves of Edmonton, who have guided their cities' affairs during a period of unprecedented growth, sought second terms Wednesday in the two biggest contests in Alberta's civic elections.
In oil-rich Calgary, voters turned out in record numbers to cast ballots in what was expected to be a close race between Alger and lawyer Peter Petrasuk and former television reporter Ralph Klein.
Much of the voter interest in Calgary centered on election of school trustees because of the recently ended four-month-long public school strike and the firing of the separate school board's superintendant.
Voting was reported much lighter in Edmonton where the 46-year-old Purves was running against a collection of unknown but controversial opponents.
Perves, running on a record that included gaining approval for a convention center and extending the city's light rail transit (LRT), is a local businessman who served three terms as alderman before his election as mayor in 1977.
Alger, an accountant and mayor of Calgary for the past three years, has defended record spending during his term, pointing to large development in the Calgary core and suburbs and construction of an LRT to equal Edmonton's.
In their campaigns to unseat Alger, Petrasuk called for 'strong, capable management' of the city's affairs while Klein sought more communication between the mayor and the people.