A year to the day after his beloved and berated brother died from a rare form of cancer, Doug Ford is questioning why the city hasn’t taken steps to honour the legacy of long-time councillor and former mayor Rob Ford.
“There’s never been a politician like Rob, good or bad,” Ford told Breakfast Television on Wednesday morning. “There’s never been a mayor that answers his phone at 11 p.m. at night and shows up to people’s doors.”
“Rob had the most diverse group of people supporting him that I’ve ever seen in my life. He was passionate about the people.”
Doug pointed out that when NDP leader and former Toronto councillor Jack Layton passed away, it was Rob, despite his political differences with Layton, who urged city council to quickly honour him.
A bronze statue was subsequently erected near the Harbourfront, and the ferry docks were renamed after Layton.
Ford says he doesn’t expect anything over the top for Rob, but suggested what he considers an appropriate commemoration.
“There’s a stadium in Etobicoke — a small one that doesn’t have a name — in Centennial Park,” he said. “We’d like it to possibly be named the Rob Ford stadium. He coached there … he played himself there and it’s local. It’s a pretty modest ask.”
He also expressed disappointment that Mayor John Tory hasn’t acted on behalf of his predecessor. “Tory has known our family for 25 years,” he said. “We haven’t heard a word from John Tory and that’s not a slag against John, it’s just we haven’t heard anything from him.”
Mayor Tory, speaking with CityNews via Skype from India, said he only recently became aware of the family’s wish to have the stadium named after Rob Ford.
“The first I heard of the desire they have to have a football stadium named after him, I heard it through a Toronto radio station,” Tory said. “The family hadn’t communicated to me a wish they had to have a proposal considering (his name) for this football stadium, but now I know about it …”
Tory also noted that the family rejected a previous proposal to rename a Toronto park after Rob.
Video: John Tory responds to Doug Ford on stadium named after Rob Ford. Click here to view on mobile.
But now that the family’s desires are clear, Tory said the process of honouring the late mayor can begin.
“What we are going to do is find a way … to have a suitable memorial to Mr. Ford’s life and his public work, and we will do that in orderly fashion as quickly as it allows us to get in done properly.”
“I think something that does relate to football and his passionate love for sports might be quite appropriate,” he added.
A celebration of Rob Ford’s life will take place on Wednesday night at Woodbine Banquet Hall near Highway 27 and Rexdale Boulevard.
Doug says “everyone is welcome” to join the celebration, which will include free food and drinks, as well as dancing. The event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.