We explore influences on the number of candidates, and female candidates in particular, who contest mayoral elections in Canada. We draw on an original cross-national data set of election results from mayoral elections in Canada's 100 largest cities between 2006 and 2017. An average of 4.96 candidates contested mayoral elections in this period, and 16 per cent of all candidates were women. Density and mayoral prestige were related to higher numbers of candidates; in contrast, incumbent candidates and the availability of other elected positions were related to lower numbers. Notably, the presence of a female incumbent was related to higher numbers of women running for the position of mayor; in contrast, higher mayoral salaries were associated with an increase in the number of male but not female candidates. This analysis enhances our understanding of the factors underlying contested local elections, as well as the factors that appear to facilitate women contesting local elections.