I actually don't have the answers to why the turnout was low in the Toronto municipal election -- 39% -- but I have some ideas.
One problem is that the hours were lousy. 10am to 8pm basically eliminates a lot of people who get home from work after 6, are tired, and want to have dinner with the family. The culture isn't what it used to be, where people feel voting is something important enough to leave work for, but that is partly because work, for many people, is so much more important and intense now than in was in the past.
Another problem is that the voting lists were lousy. What percentage of eligible voters actually received a voter notification card telling them where and when to vote? Of the many people who didn't, how many knew where their polling station was, or knew that they could vote even if they weren't on the list?
I don't have past experience to compare to, but when I was knocking on doors and phoning people, I didn't sense a lot of apathy. On the contrary, people were eager to find out what was going on.