Toronto Mayor John Tory, 68, stepped down suddenly on Friday after admitting having an extramarital affair with a female staffer. File Photo by Bruce Reeve/Wikimedia Commons
Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Toronto Mayor John Tory has stepped down from office after confirming he had a romantic relationship with a former city staffer.
Tory, a popular incumbent serving his third term as mayor of Canada's biggest city, made the announcement Friday during a brief appearance in which he admitted the relationship.
"During the pandemic I developed a relationship with an employee in my office in a way that did not meet the standards to which I hold myself as mayor and as a family man," he said, adding, "I recognize that permitting this relationship to develop was a serious error in judgment on my part."
The female staffer found work outside his office during the time that she and the married Tory, 68, were having the affair, he said.
It came at a time when he and his wife were "enduring many lengthy periods apart" during the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor stated.
"I am deeply sorry and apologize unreservedly to the people of Toronto and all those harmed by my actions, including my staff, my colleagues on city council and the public service for whom I have such respect," Tory said.
"Most of all, I apologize to my wife Barb and to my family who I have let down more than anyone else."
The affair ended by mutual consent earlier this year, Tory said.
His image as a clean-cut former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party helped him present a contrast to controversial former mayor Rob Ford when he won his first term as mayor in 2014.
He won reelection in 2018 and 2022 and would have reigned as Toronto's longest-serving mayor had he finished his current term.
Under the city's charter, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie will take over as the city's chief executive until a byelection can be held.
Tory's sudden resignation reverberated around the city, with colleagues and constituents expressing surprise at the development.
"I'm getting texts and calls. I think everybody is in a bit of a state of shock right now," Toronto Council Member Paula Fletcher told the CBC.
With the former mayor's budget set to be considered in the coming days, the city council, she said, will need to "step up" to show leadership in the months ahead.