Participatory budgeting and other participatory forms of public engagement have reached a high point of popularity as a best practice of democratic government. This gives some cause for celebration for those seeking to democratize democracy. However, recent scholarship has revealed a perplexing paradox in how new opportunities for resident involvement remain countered by pre-existing approaches to decision-making guided by abstract notions of public interest. This dissertation investigates this paradox by focusing on one of the newest cases of participatory budgeting in North America emerging from one of North America's biggest cities. As an investigation of the City of Toronto's participatory budgeting pilot project, running from 2015 to 2017, this dissertation demonstrates that this paradox is indeed taking place in Toronto. Using a Gramscian analysis of power with a particular focus on the construction of knowledge, this dissertation provides a plausible narrative of how participatory ideals are mobilized alongside prevailing forms of authority to provide new participatory opportunities for involvement without a significant transition of power.