Rob Ford re-ignites his election campaign at the biggest Ford Fest ever

Rob Ford re-ignites his election campaign at the biggest Ford Fest ever

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Forget TIFF: The biggest party this weekend was Rob Ford’s annual barbecue. No, seriously—Ford Fest attracted more than 6,000 people to his mom Diane Ford’s backyard in Etobicoke, where they lined up for charred meat, listened to councillor Gary Crawford’s cover band and duly gave their names, addresses and phone numbers for “security purposes.” We’ve rounded up the highlights of this year’s event:

• The crowd contained plenty of citizens of Ford Nation, but also neighbourhood families, councillors (including Mark Grimes, Paul Ainslie and Frances Nunziata), reporters and people from the other side of the political spectrum who came to observe/gripe/eat hot dogs. (In the spirit of hospitality, even the Toronto Star was allowed to attend).

• Not at the party: any “shenanigans,” to use Doug Ford’s word, from the group that planned on Facebook to hold an unofficial Pride parade at the event. There was, however, a small group sporting rainbow clothing who peacefully mixed with the rest of the guests.

• The evening built to a speech by the mayor, who used the chance to kick off (or, rather re-kick off) his 2014 campaign. He listed off his accomplishments, both tangible (“We have a four-year deal with the unions”) and vague (“Well, folks, the gravy train is over!”), and thanked his family for their support. He then said:

I have to tell you one thing: the campaign for the next election has started today. The next election is two years away, we have to get out there, bang on the doors. As you saw this week, they’re coming after us every which way. They want to continue the high taxes, the big spending, the out-of-control waste at city hall.

• Before Ford could start peppering the lawn with election signs, he was presented with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by York Centre MP Mark Adler. All in all, we’d say his week ended much better than it started.

• Fun, food at Ford Fest [Toronto Sun]
Open hospitality at Mayor Rob Ford’s family barbecue: DiManno [Toronto Star]
• Feasting on Ford Fest [Torontoist]
• Read the full transcript of mayor’s “Ford Fest” speech that launched his 2014 campaign [National Post]