Sunday, October 23, 2016Clear 6°C

Thousands turn out for bizarre, tense Ford Fest

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 26, 2014

toronto ford fest"He's had his problems, but he's not the boogeyman," said Allie as we rode the bus up Brimley Road to Thomson Memorial Park. A woman in her sixties, she had traveled alone from her home near St. George station, and although she didn't know how she would vote, she wanted to witness the spectacle of Ford Fest first hand. She wouldn't be disappointed.

Several thousand people, some of them in white Ford Nation t-shirts, many of them fanatical in their support for the Ford family, descended on Scarborough last night, lured by the promise of free burgers and the chance to meet the city's incumbent mayor.

toronto ford festBefore Rob Ford arrived, a DJ played AC/DC and other classic rock songs at the wrong speed, making the vocals sound high-pitched. "Video Killed The Radio Star" thumped over the PA as Ford, shielded by security, entered the small white tent that contained, among others, his wife Renata and two children, brothers Doug and Randy, and former boxer George Chuvalo.

Near the head of the meet-and-greet line, which snaked for some distance across the park, was a nun in a habit. At least two convincing Rob Ford lookalikes worked the crowd outside the tent, content to catch a watch from afar rather than wait for a fleeting encounter.

toronto rob ford"I enjoy it, most people are really considerate," said Barry Neelin, who came dressed in a white shirt and sported a Ford-style hair cut. Another, Kevin Cearl, seemed shy about his resemblance. "I don't mind it most of the time, don't get me wrong. I have fun with it--they call me mayor at work."

toronto ford festAlso outside of the line-up, a hardcore band of Ford supporters, one of whom said she had named her young son "Rob" in tribute to the mayor, seemed bent on disrupting reporters interviewing the few people critical of the mayor. Some formed a circle and screamed in an attempt to drown out any dissent. One man clutched a hand-held video camera and appeared to be intent on stoking the palpable tension.

Later, a man with "Queeruption," a group of activists protesting Ford's recent vote against a LGBTQ homeless shelter, was allegedly assaulted and the group's protest signs smashed. "First it was just verbal harassment, 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' and chants for us to go home," said Poe Liberado with the group.

"One of our supporters got tackled and the sign in his hand was ripped up and then our friend got punched in the face ... we thought people would be unhappy with us being around but not physically attacking us. This says something about Ford Nation what Rob Ford stands for."


toronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festtoronto ford festford festford festford festChris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Photos: Christian Bobak, Chris Bateman



steve / July 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm
What will these people do when their bully pulpit goes away in October. They have no interest in politics, city building they just want a platform to spew their hatred and intolerance.
Do those that are visible minorities look in the mirror and hate themselves?
Jacob / July 26, 2014 at 01:02 pm
I went. It was... a strange event.

Lots of angry people, and all the volunteers looked, and acted, like people Rob met in rehab.
normalguy replying to a comment from steve / July 26, 2014 at 01:14 pm
Preach Steve!! In can't believe how ignorant these people obviously are! I always say it but it bears repeating. If Mayor Ford was Black/Brown/Yellow/Puerto Rican/Haitian he'd a been kicked out and a historical footnote loooong ago.
Joey / July 26, 2014 at 02:23 pm
"If Mayor Ford was Black/Brown/Yellow/Puerto Rican/Haitian he'd a been kicked out and a historical footnote loooong ago."

THIS. People only put up with this bullshit because Ford is white.
kn / July 26, 2014 at 02:45 pm
The more the left wingers try to pile on the Fords the more his supporters will dig in. It's unbelievable he is still in the race yet here we are with Big boy still hovering. Maybe it's because the "regular" Joe's of this city see Olivia as a political elitist who is more interested in pushing big political agendas than building a city that respects the needs of the real working class. (Advantage rich, pretentious Rob who pretends he knows what it's like to be working class.)

If Rob actually wins again, it will be because most voters are just sick of a city hall that is insular and out of touch. It's obvious this is why people vote for Rob. They are sick of being preached to. What a sad statement. People would rather vote for an idiot buffoon than vote for self righteous Leftists who will spend their hard earned tax dollars on million dollar public housing units for the TCHC. Stellar options.

Two prime examples of a City hall that is incapable of working together. Our TTC is completely out dated. They could have been building subway/LRT lines for decades, instead they have been debating the subject endlessly. Most recently, a subway line out to Liberty village and beyond to Humber river seemed to be a no brainer. It was basically an empty field. Now, why not build a subway you may ask? Well, it's because councillors like Adam Vaughan think that the streetcars were sufficient to service these areas. I call this near sited stupidity. This is a prime example of the incompetence of our council. Not planning for the future. IE plan for 50 yrs from now not 5.

The Toronto Community Housing proposal to address the short comings of it's own systematic ghettoization of affordable housing is criminal. There has been over 4 decades of gang violence re: TCHC properties and city council won't even acknowledge that there is a potential relationship between high density public housing and gang activity. Simply idiotic. Councillors and planning dept and TCHC reps who are pushing political agendas and not committing to proper due diligence.

So what's the difference between Olivia and Rob? Rob is at the TCHC properties hanging with drug dealers and Olivia doesn't think there is anything wrong with housing all the poor in publicly run ghettos.. Subways or LRT? How about we need both and we needed them yesterday!!!!
W. K. Lis / July 26, 2014 at 02:52 pm
FordFest is the gathering of the narrow-minded.
steve replying to a comment from kn / July 26, 2014 at 03:12 pm
A typical Ford Voter out of touch with what goes on at city hall and knows not the city they live in.
steve replying to a comment from kn / July 26, 2014 at 03:28 pm
Your speech is four years late. It may explain his win in 2010, four years on it rings hollow. His record at city hall, his personal problems that have effected his judgment while in office is part of history now. To continue with the rhetoric is pointless. The problems you outline still exist he has made no effort to correct them He has torn down more then built up things are in worse now.
Que replying to a comment from Cretins Nation / July 26, 2014 at 04:42 pm
Because voter suppression, even if it results in your desired outcome, is illegal.
aDawg / July 26, 2014 at 05:05 pm
I was there! It was better than the Gathering of the Juggalos!
linden / July 26, 2014 at 06:20 pm
I had no idea people of Toronto like burgers so much
NickR replying to a comment from kn / July 26, 2014 at 06:21 pm
You're a prime example of the ignorance in Toronto.

Transit City under Mayor Miller did have a dedicated line that served the Lakeshore and Liberty Village neighbourhoods. Rob Ford killed that. We have new subways with higher capacity, we are undergoing a multi-year signalling system upgrade to support single driver and maybe driverless subways to decrease cost and increase capacity. We have new capacity at Union station for trains and subway riders. A new rail line to the Airport. A new crosstown Eglington LRT that would have been completed already had it not be for Rob Ford. 4 years late thanks to his idiocy. New Euro style street cars built in Ontario will help alleviate crowded streetcars while allowing for fewer streetcars on the roads. The number of stops are being reduced to speed up traffic and transit. Presto cards will allow convenient purchasing of fare and transfers to other systems using credit cards or your mobile wallet via a tap...all cutting edge. Every mayoral candidate is for the Downtown Relief line subway that would provide new Subway access to people in east york, leslieville, north york and etobicoke. The Province is also onboard for the line.

Regent Park is now on phase 3. What an incredible new community and a reshaping of how low income housing is approached in Toronto. Just announced, the 10 year development of the housing projects at Dundas and Bathurst. ANother Regent Park transformation in the making. Yeah TCHC has problems with management and funding but don't criticize Chow for her plan. She's for more money in TCHC.

If you want subways to places where not enough people live, then you better be willing to up the amount of hard earned tax dollars you're willing to commit to a money losing venture. It's like using a Greyhound bus to transport a family of four out for a short trip. The economics just don't work for subways with our current population and it will take 40 more years for it to make any sense.

So seriously get your Sh&@ together because you have no clue what you're talking about.
Steve replying to a comment from NickR / July 26, 2014 at 07:38 pm
Something I have noticed this summer is the lack of upkeep and maintenance of boulevard trees.
Mel Lastman neglected them with his fiscal policy's. We ended up with streets lined with dead and weed choked trees. David Miller spent more money then he should have to bring things back to state of good.
The same thing is happening under Ford. He saves let say 50k a year by not up keeping the trees. Causing a $1.5 million investment to bring them back to state were it costs $50k a year. A waste of $1.5 million
#FordMoreYears / July 26, 2014 at 08:37 pm
AWESOME. Had a great time. Loved it Ford Bros. Feel Good Party of the Summer.
nicdees / July 26, 2014 at 08:58 pm
On election day we should make our vote count.

Until then everything else is just a distraction.
Moniinto / July 26, 2014 at 09:55 pm
I'm sorry, since when have people in their 60s been unable to travel on their own???
Gary / July 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm
I was at this thing and this was the biggest freak show I have ever seen. All I heard all around me were people complaining and talking shit. Seriously, this was the biggest group of whiners, complainers and malcontents I have ever seen in my life. Let's face it, how low do you have to be, to stand in line over 2 hours for a bloody hamburger, when Burger King was just a few blocks away on Lawrence? Everybody there just seemed joyless, disgruntled and miserable. It sucks to be them. This was my first Ford Fest and it will be my last. There was nothing here to do, except stand in long lines and hear people whine about David Miller stealing their money. David Miller is old news, get over your obsession already. It was truly pathetic! The homophobic bull-shit, was the nail in the coffin. Who can feel good standing around while people are degraded by a mob of crazy old men? For christ's sake Toronto, what are we becoming? I hate what I saw and experienced last night.
Jacob replying to a comment from Gary / July 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm
I was there, and I was laughing and joking quite a bit... but I'm not a Ford supporter.

Even being stuck in the 2 hour burger line, I found entertainment in being amazed by the lunacy around me.
BH / July 26, 2014 at 10:31 pm
Is anyone really surprised?

Republicans in the U.S. prey on both the reactionary and the disenfranchised, getting them to support a combination of hare-brained economics and hypocritical family-first policies. Ford's just trying to ride a morally bankrupt gravy train.
#FordMoreYears replying to a comment from Jacob / July 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm
FORD gave back to the community today.He dug deep in his heart and dug deep in his pockets to make sure everyone was taken care of. Great guy, good time. 2014. FORD more years.
Jacob replying to a comment from #FordMoreYears / July 27, 2014 at 12:15 am
He dug shallowly into his pockets, including money donated to his campaign, in order to buy votes from Scarborough.

The Scarborough I live in.

It was shameful.
The Three Ford Stooges Run For Office / July 27, 2014 at 02:25 am
...nyuck, nyuck, nyuck. Pie in the face, Toronto. Two fingers in your eyes. Laugh it up, nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.
Jamie / July 27, 2014 at 10:04 am
Scarborough loves you Rob!! Had a great time, your the only candidate that recognizes Scarborough and has a vision for us! We love you, don't listen to the naysayers we don't need them to win.
Sue / July 27, 2014 at 10:39 am
You have to give it to Rob for running a non traditional campaign which sets him apart from the rest of the candidates. Obama also won on a nontraditional campaign and has turned out to be a political failure once in office.
#FordGravyTrain / July 27, 2014 at 10:40 am
We apologize and take back every derogatory comment about Ford. We didn't realize that in return for Mayor Fordzilla.s existence that we would get free hamburgers! WOW!WOW!WOW! Definitely worth it! The sight of Irwin Mimico's greasy face post-scarfing THREEHAMBURGERS gladdened my heart$
Irwin Mimico's Mommy / July 27, 2014 at 10:45 am
Mayor Ford has done it again! He broke through Irwin's Berlin Wall of Constipation with his greasy burgers! Irwin exploded last night and plugged up our toilet-courtesy flushes next time, Irwin-but it was worth it!
Shane / July 27, 2014 at 11:42 am
Looks like a very diverse turnout, a true representation of Toronto. Very inclusive of Mayor Ford to invite everyone.
Drew / July 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm
Yes does look like a very diverse crowd.

Some elitists on here love to judge others in the photos by the way the look or the area of the city they live in like they don't count at all. Some very small minds on here. If Rob Ford isn't you're choice for mayor that's understood, but putting down others and resorting to toilet humour shows how childish you really are.

The anti ford crowd are the first to throw stones at others. Say it with your vote on October 27th.
Reggie / July 27, 2014 at 03:44 pm
Rob has proven to be a changed man. This is a much different Rob than we saw before he went to rehab. The man before rehab was clearly struggling on a downhill spiral and the Rob we've seen since his return is happy, confident, addressing the issues at hand, and wanting a better future for all.
Anton / July 27, 2014 at 04:07 pm
This has definitely been one of the 2014 election high points/talking points. A definite positive point winner for Rob Ford campaign. No other candidate has been seen with the public in such a positive manner as this party. All the candidates have been focused on the issues and TALK about helping communities, this one is actually Rob helping and meeting communities whether he's re-elected or not. He's not just about helping communities only if re-elected. Where's Mrs. Chow this weekend?
See and be Seen replying to a comment from Anton / July 27, 2014 at 04:55 pm
Umm Hello Mrs. Chow is probably rubbing elbows with the beaches rich and elite this weekend at the Beaches Jazz Fest promising them event funding if elected. Great Photo Op.
Diverse Crowd/New Rob / July 27, 2014 at 05:13 pm
"Anton", "Drew", "Shane" and "Reggie"...what about Jughead? Archie? Veronica? Moose? Now Moose as a Ford supporter would be more believable than the drivel you (Irwin-do you really have 4 names?) 4 are writing. But good try. Unsophisticated, but at least you Ford plants are growing a few leaves. Shmeckadildoes!
Amy replying to a comment from Diverse Crowd/New Rob / July 27, 2014 at 05:20 pm
Don't bring Archie into this he is a solid dude. Archie was killed in the comic book while saving a gay friend.
Irwin Mimico (so to speak) / July 27, 2014 at 05:25 pm
Mommy, is Rob my real father? Is it you in the sex tape with Rob?
Doug / July 27, 2014 at 05:26 pm
You have to admit Rob Ford makes Torontonians think more than any other candidate. Even if he's not always on the right side of the issue he often raises questions that haven't been thought of or addressed yet.
Apologies to Amy / July 27, 2014 at 05:27 pm
Meant to write "Mr. Lodge", not "Archie". Of course, no Ford supporter/homophobe would type the name "Archie".
No, Doug / July 27, 2014 at 05:34 pm
Not true. Scum like Rob always leads to talk: "Don't be like Rob when you grow up"; "What a degenerate"; "When does he go to jail"; "How can a mayor be a criminal?"...etc.
Here they go again, just like the gas plants replying to a comment from Apologies to Amy / July 27, 2014 at 05:40 pm
Meant to do this, meant to do that. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, The Liberals are back peddling again. Meant to show up to the polls on October 27th but it was a little inconvenient.
Rhinocerous Party / July 27, 2014 at 07:11 pm
Here they go again, trying to change the Fordfucker channel to anything else. Won't work Doug...we will be there to THROW ROB IN THE TRASH OCT.27!
Irwin Mimico's Mommy / July 27, 2014 at 07:14 pm
Yes dear, that's. Rob was lying when he said he had enough to eat at home. Rob's errant sperm connected because I missed a spot with the spermicide.
Sandman / July 27, 2014 at 07:38 pm
smh ... smh ... smh ...
Mr. Cold / July 27, 2014 at 08:44 pm
Don't shake it too hard, you may strain yourself.
Stash / July 27, 2014 at 08:50 pm
Liberals and NDP just popped up to point fingers at others because there's no posts or threads talking about their candidate this weekend. Ohh well, keep on wishing for Olivia or Sarah Thompson to start making sense. Olivia keeps me hangin on.
Rob replying to a comment from kn / July 27, 2014 at 08:50 pm
Kn / July 27, 2014 at 09:10 pm
Dear Nick R, where to start? You clearly have no comprehension of the issues of public housing or public transportation. Regent park and Atkinson coop are being rebuilt, only after 30-40 yrs, because they were miserable failures on almost every level. Crime has been rampant in these communities and the TCHC has had decades to prove that they could provide safe and sustainable communities for these areas. Again they failed miserably. In fact, they categorically denied me statistics regarding crime and gang activity when I directly asked for this information. They refused to query the surrounding communities or study economic impact. When I asked city planning to present answers or a plan it took over 4 months to respond. This is incompetence or a full on cover up. Adam Vaughan is complicit with TCHC Reps who refused to divulge information regarding crime. U of T criminologist have been studying the Regent park revitalization and have expressed serious concerns that it is simply an exercise in superficial window dressing. They too have been muzzled by city officials. I know because I actually asked. Where have you been clown? In a cafe spouting ignorance about how the "man" is responsible for these gangs?

Re: subway lines to Liberty village and beyond. Again, I am talking from personal experiences. Rob the idiot Ford didn't quash a subway line in this district. City council as a whole allowed this to happen. Who approved dozens of condos along this corridor without a proper subway? I asked Adam, 8 yr councillor for this ward, and he said the streetcars where a sufficient solution. Stop being a cafe spouting clown and start asking direct questions of your councillors.

Coincidentally, a family member has been working on that presto system for the city for years. They gave told me that the city is lost continually changing the requirements. This aunt Rob Ford per se, it's the whole council not having half a brain to make a definitive decision.

Cindy / July 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm
Ford fest errupts 30 mins of political prowress.
Kn¿ / July 27, 2014 at 10:30 pm
You are half-crazed. I wouldn't answer you either, you nutbar.
OhMy / July 27, 2014 at 10:34 pm
Know I understand why the NDP lost support in Toronto, and why Chow will not be elected. You "supporters" are selling what the rest of the City doesn't want.

The uglier you get the more popular he will become. Just watch.
NutBar / July 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm
I wanna see yo wiggle it just a little bit
Donna / July 27, 2014 at 10:58 pm
Clearly Ford Fest was the event of the weekend!!! Fordfest got its own post. No post about the jazz fest or the bellwoods classic bike showl What gives? You slippin? Straight up trippin?
Dan / July 27, 2014 at 11:05 pm
Forget this. I'm gonna grill up a striploin for myself.
roy / July 28, 2014 at 12:18 am
40 years ago, Jimmy Jones persuaded his Palace-type followers to drink Kool-Aid, AFTER giving it to their children. 30 years ago the only TV I watched was side show Brother Love during fake wrestling matches (check youtube). Today I got Ford. Just like the Globe editorialized that Wynne and Hoodak were tied just before the provincial election we note another poll has chow,tory and ford tied!! I wonder how the questions were worded. If the voters can be conned into voting wrong so be it.
hi / July 28, 2014 at 10:31 am
is he wearing makeup or is that an instagram filter
Sam replying to a comment from Arch Stanton / July 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Its a gathering of voters. Quit drawing lines between yourself and the 905 or your candidate will loose AGAIN.
James replying to a comment from Drew / July 28, 2014 at 02:08 pm
Yes, exactly. Fuck policy. Politics is about voting for the person you'd feel the most comfortable with in a social setting.
fraudies / July 28, 2014 at 10:24 pm
Most Ford Nation supporters I know are unhappy with their own lives and looking for a miracle. Ford should start a new church and make a fortune, because there appears to be a sucker born every minute.
Fordfucker hits new low / July 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm
He incites anti-gay action & sentiment...then weakly & half-heartedly, apologizes. SorrySorrySorry
#FordLiesDaily / July 29, 2014 at 09:29 pm
Today's Lie: "I'll sue the Globe for using confidential Deco info." to show TheFordStooges are lying about Donnelly & Apollo Health. Won't sue - never does - because IT'S TRUE! #MOREFORDLIES!
#FordLiesDaily2 / July 30, 2014 at 05:40 pm
Today's Lie: I didn't vote against the new playgrounds funded 90% by the private sector.
steverator / July 31, 2014 at 09:49 am
I don't know about you but All-you-can-eat poutine seems a bit overly aggressive. I mean, the majority of the after-hours "club-scene" crowd will usually just go to smoke's poutine or poutini to get a quick greasy fix before heading back to their condos. All you can eat for $15 might just be "too much" in the grand scheme of things. Just my $0.02.
Other Cities: Montreal