Rob Ford

10 lowlights from the Rob Ford mayoralty

Has it been four years already? It seems like only yesterday we were outraged that Rob Ford had been photographed reading while driving at highway speeds on the Gardiner (folks, he was "busy," OK.) That was before the Garrison Ball, the crack cocaine scandal, and the conflict of interest trial. It was a simpler time.

Now that Ford is headed out of the mayor's office (but not city hall,) it's worth a look back on some of the most shocking moments of the most surreal mayoralty in the history of Toronto. If one thing's for certain, John Tory won't be anywhere near as entertaining.

Here are some of the most noteworthy lowlights from the Ford years.

Ford is seen talking on his cellphone while driving, flips off another driver
How innocent we were in 2011. When Ford was reported for talking on his cellphone while driving and allegedly making an obscene gesture to a fellow motorist, it seemed like a reasonably serious scandal. Ford admitted to using his phone at the wheel but denied making the gesture. Police decided they weren't able to pursue a fine or demerit points.

Marg Delahunty doorsteps Ford and chaos ensues
Mary Walsh's This Hour has 22 Minutes character certainly caused a stir when she dropped by the Ford household in Oct. 2011. Ford repeatedly called 911 and allegedly verbally assaulted the dispatcher: "You ... bitches! Don't you f--king know? I'm Rob f--king Ford, the mayor of this city!" he said. Ford accused Walsh of scaring his children, though she later denied seeing any kids around the mayor when she pounced.

The St. Patrick's Day incident
It's hard to briefly summarize the events of St. Patrick's Day 2011, but here goes. According to police documents, a drunk Ford uttered a racial slur towards a taxi driver and visited McVeigh's Pub on Church St. before arriving at the Bier Markt. There, according to the Toronto Star, he snorted cocaine, drank vodka, took OxyContin and "partied with a prostitute." Back at City Hall, Ford abused his staff, pushed another, then later made his famous remarks about policy advisor Olivia Gondek. Jeepers.

The Daniel Dale altercation
What should have been a routine exploration of a piece of public parkland behind Ford's house turned into a bizarre confrontation between the mayor and a newspaper reporter. Ford initially accused Dale of standing on cinder blocks to look over his fence in the moments before he "charged." The ensuing confrontation led to the mayor confiscating Dale's phone and demanding he be dropped from the City Hall beat. Oh, and then there was the libel suit.

Ford commandeers two TTC buses to transport his football team
When a Don Bosco Eagles match ended early, Ford asked the TTC to provide a shelter bus for his team, since their ride was still over an hour away. The TTC obliged by pulling a 36 Finch bus out of service, stranding fare-paying riders in the rain, so that the Eagles could be returned to their school. Respect for taxpayers!

Ford falls while posing for cameras outside City Hall
Ford, preparing to toss a football during CFL Grey Cup celebrations, appears to somehow propel himself backwards onto a makeshift field outside City Hall. GIF gold.

A judge tentatively removes the mayor over a conflict of interest
Remember that time Ford was almost booted from office for breaching the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act? The reign of Ford was almost cut short in 2012 when a judge decided the mayor had broken provincial rules by voting on an item in which he had a financial interest. In his ruling, Justice Hackland said Ford has a "wilful blindness" to the rules. The mayor successfully appealed the ruling.

The mayor is ejected from the Garrison Ball
The roots of the Rob Ford crack scandal (more on that in a second) can be traced to a night in Feb. 2013 when an intoxicated Rob Ford was asked to leave the Garrison Ball, a gala celebrating the Canadian armed forces. Weeks after being accused of groping Sarah Thomson, Ford appeared "rambling" and "incoherent" before being ushered out of the black tie event. In her book, Robyn Doolittle said she was tipped off to the crack video after co-writing the Garrison Ball story.

The crack scandal
Impossible to sum up in a paragraph, the forever unfolding crack cocaine scandal was the defining moment of Ford's mayoralty. The Toronto Star and Gawker broke the story on May 16, 2013, triggering vehement public denials, accusations of vendettas, a successful crowdfunded attempt to recover the video--a maelstrom of chaos. The ensuing slow release of police documents sketched a sordid portrait of violence, drug use, and other alleged criminality. Amazingly, Ford has faced no charges related to to any of the damning accusations, despite admitting smoking crack.

That quote...
"Oh, and the last thing was Olivia Gondek. It says that I wanted to eat her pussy. Olivia Gondek. I've never said that in my life to her. I would never do that, I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home. Thank you very much." Fine words from one of history's great orators.

Ford goes on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Sorry to remind you, but this actually happened. A sitting Toronto mayor who had only recently scandalized the city by admitting to smoking crack cocaine flew to Los Angeles to be publicly mocked by a high-profile comedian. The TV appearance could have gone worse, but it was still excruciating. Ford made a half-hearted attempt to promote the city but spent most of his time in LA being lampooned as a buffoonish drug user.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: /blogTO Flickr pool.

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