Rob Ford: 10 unforgettable moments
From the crack cocaine scandal to simpler times playing football at city hall
There was rarely a dull moment when Rob Ford was Toronto's mayor.
Ford, who died today after a battle with cancer, turned daily city hall life into must-watch television, with people from around the world tuning in to see what the controversial mayor would say or do next.
Here's a look back at the highs and the lows of his tenure, as well as some of the wilder moments.
Stop the gravy train
Ford, a longtime Toronto councillor, swept to power in 2010 by winning 47 per cent of the votes. The win was celebrated loudest by Ford Nation, ardent supporters who had backed Ford's family and their political goals for years.
"We're going to put an end to the gravy train," Ford said after his victory, reiterating his famous campaign slogan.
His win shocked many in the city, but few could predict what would happen next.
Ford, who volunteered as a high school football coach, enjoyed several political wins at city hall in his first year but often seemed more proud of his team's success on the field.
He also got to celebrate with the Toronto Argos when they captured the CFL's Grey Cup in 2012.
His own skills, however, were a bit dubious.
Crack cocaine scandal
Everything changed for Ford when news broke that the mayor had been captured smoking crack cocaine on a video.
Ford repeatedly denied the allegations, then shocked the world by admitting it in a press scrum.
The Ford family is well known for being tight-knit, but perhaps no bond was closer than that of Rob and his brother Doug, who remained by his side throughout the scandal.
"I want to thank my best friend, and I love him dearly, my brother Doug," the mayor said after his first denial of smoking crack.
Doug, who took over as Ward 2 councillor when Rob became mayor, would later take up Rob's mayoral run when he was diagnosed with cancer, but eventually lost to John Tory.
Ford vs. reporters
Rob Ford had an adversarial relationship with many of the reporters who covered him and often lashed out at those he perceived to be against him.
"It's just lies after lies and lies. And I've called you pathological liars, and you are, so why don't you take me to court? Let the courts decide," Ford barked at reporters in March of 2013, as rumours of his drug abuse swirled.
While Ford was frosty with local reporters, he was a favourite topic on late-night American TV. He even flew to Los Angeles to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! amid the crack scandal.
Even late night comedians, however, eventually urged Ford to seek treatment. "You need help," Jon Stewart said on an episode of The Daily Show.
Alcohol issues — from getting drunk at the Taste of the Danforth Festival to a St. Paddy's Day celebration that ended at his office — also dogged the mayor.
"That was pure stupidity. I shouldn't have got hammered down at the Danforth. If you're going to have a couple drinks you stay home, and that's it. You don't make a public spectacle of yourself," Ford said in November 2013.
After being stripped of his powers, Ford went to rehab.
Ford vs. police
After news of the crack video surfaced, Toronto police launched an investigation called Project Brazen 2, which involved officers tailing Ford in police planes and also interviewing staffers close to him.
Ford, furious with the investigation, went after then police chief Bill Blair.
"If I've done something illegal, I've told the police to arrest me," Ford told reporters, as details of his alleged illicit behaviour — including drinking and driving — were made public in police documents.
Ford vs. councillors
Ford was close with some councillors and a sworn enemy of others. His behaviour in council chambers will always be remembered, including the time he bowled over Coun. Pam McConnell — an incident the city's auditor general later called "unnecessarily reckless."
Some fun, in office
Reporters covering Ford were always prepared for drama. But sometimes, the mayor just wanted to have some fun.
And there's always this moment.
Ford had begun campaigning for a second term as mayor, warning his rivals: "Keep your head up and make sure your chin strap is done up pretty tight."
But after being diagnosed with cancer, he abandoned his run, but was easily re-elected as a councillor in his Etobicoke riding.
Even though he wasn't mayor, he managed to generate headlines and irk those in power. Need an example? How about his admission that he drove by himself in the Pan Am Games HOV lanes.
Increasingly, however, it was Ford's health that kept him in the news. He underwent major surgery to remove a tumour in his abdomen as well as several rounds of chemotherapy, but then doctors found more tumours on his bladder.
Ford admitted the news of the cancer caught him off guard, but told reporters: "All I can do is fight, and I'll keep fighting until the day I die."