Rob Ford: 10 unforgettable moments

There was rarely a dull moment when Rob Ford was Toronto's mayor. Here's a look back at some of the more memorable moments during his mayoralty.

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

Rob Ford celebrates his mayoral election win alongside his wife Renata, right, and mother Diane, left, on Oct. 25, 2010. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

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.

Football champion

Ford celebrates a big win with his Don Bosco Eagles team in 2012. (Christopher Drost/Canadian Press)

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.

RAW: Rob Ford takes a fall


9 years ago
How the Toronto mayor’s Grey Cup football demo went wrong 0:19

Crack cocaine scandal

Ford admits he smoked crack

The National

8 years ago
After months of denial, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking crack cocaine, but says he has no plans to step aside from his job 6:38

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.

Family support

Doug Ford, left, was frequently by Rob's side, both at city hall and at other political events like this Stephen Harper rally. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

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

Ford charges through a pack of reporters outside his city hall office. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

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. 

Hollywood Rob

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel wipes some sweat from Rob Ford's brow during an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," in Los Angeles. (Randy Holmes/ABC/AP/Canadian Press)

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.

Drinking issues

Another Rob Ford controversy


8 years ago
Videos posted online are fuelling speculation about Toronto mayor's behaviour at the Taste of the Danforth festival 1:31

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

Toronto Police Service released documents that show surveillance photos of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, left, and his friend and occasional driver, Sandro Lisi. ( Toronto Police Service/Canadian Press)

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

Rob Ford knocks over councillor


8 years ago
Toronto mayor runs into Coun. Pam McConnell during a raucous city council meeting 0:41

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.

RAW Mayor gets playful


9 years ago
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford scales children's climbing apparatus at a media event on Thursday 1:00

And there's always this moment.

Toronto's Chief Budget Officer Councillor Frank Di Giorgio shares a laugh with Ford in council chambers. (Aaron Harris/Reuters)

Bowing out

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford did several rounds of chemotherapy after having a tumour removed from his abdomen, but last fall doctors found more tumours on his bladder. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

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."