Before it became known as the home territory of Ford Nation, Etobicoke North was simply known as "Ward 2." But among Rob Ford's most ardent supporters there, news that the former Toronto mayor is in hospital hit hard on Friday.

While not everyone in the ward is a fan of the man who remains its city councillor, most residents agree his presence made a major mark on the area, and on the city as a whole.

Mayor Rob Ford releases statement

While opinions on Ford's legacy as mayor run the gamut, most in his home neighbourhood say he has left a mark there. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

"There's a lot of people here, thousands and thousands of people … who respect him and will always like him," said long-time supporter Christina, who did not want her last name used.

"He's a person who really has a genuine love for the people of Toronto."

Ford — who made international headlines after admitting to smoking crack cocaine while in a "drunken stupor" — was no stranger to controversy, blaming homophobic and misogynistic comments made in the past on his drug and alcohol use.

But in Ward 2, many don't hold those incidents against him, especially as his battle with cancer goes on.

Clifton Campbell, who says he voted for Ford in his mayoral bid, said he's attended every public barbecue the former mayor hosted.

Beatrice-Jacinto

Etobicoke resident Beatrice Jacinto says despite any mistakes, Ward 2 Coun. Rob Ford ultimately 'did good things for the city.' (CBC)

"Regardless of what people think, Rob is a genuine guy," Campbell said. "People make mistakes, but … as far as I know, when he was doing his job, he never screwed up on the job."

"He made mistakes. We all do," said Beatrice Jacinto, who lives just outside of Ward 2.

Clifton-Campbell

Clifton Campbell, who says he voted for Ford in his mayoral bid, said he's attended every public barbecue the former mayor hosted. (CBC)

Even those less keen about Ford's stint as mayor wished him well.

"I think he's put a smear on Toronto politics that will take a decade to recover from," said Mel Arthur. Nevertheless, he said, "I hope he defeats it. I know he's a fighter."

Mel-Arthur

Mel Arthur did not lend his political support to Rob Ford, but he's firmly behind the former mayor as his battle against cancer continues. (CBC)

And while opinions on Ford's legacy as mayor run the gamut, most in his home neighbourhood say he has made a mark there.

"He [has] a bad reputation for what he might have done. But, personally, I think he did a good job as a mayor. He had a great impact, especially in the Etobicoke area," said resident Jamal Ali.

Jamal-Ali

Ward 2 resident Jamal Ali said he frequently saw Ford in the area and that the former mayor 'would always respond to anyone who said hello.' (CBC)

"Kind. Friendly. He would always respond to anyone who said hello."