Mayor Tory supports renaming Etobicoke stadium after Rob Ford

Calls for a permanent memorial to former mayor Rob Ford cropped up immediately after he died in March 2016. Now, Mayor John Tory has come out in favour of renaming an Etobicoke stadium in his honour.

Mayor also recommends renaming public property after councillors Pam McConnell, Ron Moeser

Rob Ford speaking to supporters during the launch of his second mayoral campaign in 2014. He later pulled out of the race due to health problems, and instead ran as a councillor in Ward 2, which he won. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Toronto Mayor John Tory has come out in support of renaming Centennial Park Stadium in Etobicoke after former mayor Rob Ford. 

Ford, who became mayor in 2010, died after a battle with cancer in March 2016 at age 46. 

He rose to prominence as a city councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North, quickly gaining a reputation as a cost-cutting crusader with everyman appeal. 

In his 2010 mayoral campaign, his calls to "stop the gravy train" and slash spending resonated with voters, propelling him to victory.

Ford became an international celebrity in 2013, after reports of a video of him smoking crack cocaine emerged. He later confessed to smoking crack cocaine but did not step down as mayor. 

In 2014, a cancer diagnosis forced him to bow out of his second mayoral race, with the disease ultimately taking his life two years later.  

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, a long-time supporter of football in high schools, founded the Newtonbrook North Stars football team and established the Rob Ford Football Foundation. (Canadian Press)

Calls for a permanent Ford memorial cropped up in the days after his death, with Tory responding at the time that he wasn't going to rush any plans.

Centennial Park was quickly raised as a possible memorial, with duelling petitions springing up in favour and against of the Ward 3 park being renamed "Rob Ford Memorial Park."

In March 2017, brother Doug Ford — who recently announced his intention to run for mayor in the 2018 election — issued calls for the stadium inside the park to be renamed.

"In light of his many years of work on football programs in Etobicoke," wrote Tory in a letter outlining his recommendation, "it is fitting that city council should rename the football stadium at Centennial Park."

Public property sought for McConnell, Moeser

Tory also voiced his support in the letter for finding ways to publicly recognize late councillors Ron Moeser and Pam McConnell, who both died in 2017.

He wrote that he plans to convene a panel of interested councillors and community members and work with each councillor's family to locate two "suitable piece of public property" for renaming.