Conservative leadership hopefuls gathers Saturday in Markham to woo the faithful to their side, in what will be a long leadership race, with the leadership not decided until mid 2017.

Six high profile Conservatives took to the stage at Le Parc to craft their view of what the party would look like with them at the helm. Erin O’Toole, Maxime Bernier, Kellie Leitch, Michael Chong, Tony Clement, and Lisa Raitt all spoke and answered questions. But the buzz was around the now-retired, perhaps un-retired Peter McKay who also showed up to size up the assembly with child in tow.

Other Conservative would-be’s like Doug Ford also made a brief appearance. The only conspicuous absence was the formidable presence of Jason Kenney, who many feel would  be the front runner if he chooses to enter the fray.

The event, hosted by Markham-Unionville MP Bob Saroya, served  as an unofficial start to the formal campaign to replace Stephen Harper and interim leader Rona Ambrose, ahead of the Conservative national convention in Vancouver this month.