What Ford Nation has to say about former mayor's legacy
Thousands in Rob Ford's home territory express respect, best wishes as cancer battles continues
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.
- Ford's cancer not responding to latest chemo treatment
- Ford tributes pile up as ailing former Toronto mayor battles cancer
- Ford's cancer battle continues 'with his family beside him'
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.
"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.
"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.
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."
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.
"Kind. Friendly. He would always respond to anyone who said hello."