After a lengthy and heated debate, city councillors officially nixed the idea of renaming an Etobicoke stadium after Toronto’s controversial ex-mayor, Rob Ford.
Perhaps surprisingly, current mayor John Tory supported idea, telling the Toronto Star he was “erring on the side of generosity.” But it wasn’t enough to sway the bulk of city council, who voted 11-24 in opposition to the proposal last week.
The original proposal, which was requested by members of the Ford family, suggested renaming Etobicoke’s Centennial Stadium, which occupies space in the leafy 500-acre Centennial Park, as the “Rob Ford Memorial Stadium.” Ford passed away prematurely at age 46 from cancer. The stadium in question was located in a neighbourhood he had long served, both during his mayoral term and prior to that, as the councillor for Ward 2, said his brother Doug Ford.
To the surprise of no one, it was a controversial idea. In a Toronto Star column opposing the idea, Heather Mallick described Ford as:
“a man who drove drunk, smoked crack, cast foul slurs on gays and people with dark skin, publicly referred to his wife in the crudest sexual terms, wandered around town in an alcoholic stupor, and was an international laughing stock.”
Meanwhile, another high-profile columnist, Edward Keenan, suggested that despite Ford’s “terrible” and “destructive” influence on city politics, “he was the mayor of Toronto.”
Keenan argued that Ford still “remained a beloved figure to a significant chunk of Torontonians”, who deserved to have their memories reflected within the city as well.
At the most recent council meeting, members voted overwhelmingly to instead discuss ways to honour councillors Ron Moenser and Pam McConnell, both long-standing council members who also passed away this year.