Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford could have a stadium in Etobicoke named after him if a local councillor has his way.
A motion set to go before Toronto City Council next week from Councillor Paul Ainslie is suggesting that the stadium at Centennial Park be named the “Rob Ford stadium.“
"Historically, the City of Toronto has recognized former mayors with commemorative renamings which honour their service and spirit. For example, Mel Lastman Square at the North York Civic Centre, Barbara Hall Park, and June Rowlands Park," the motion says. "All of those who served with Rob Ford on Council knew that he had two passions – representing his constituents not only across the city but in particular in his home community of Etobicoke, and football."
The motion, which was seconded by Councillor Shelly Carroll, asks that the stadium be renamed, despite the City Of Toronto property naming policy, which lays out a narrow set of criteria for naming city property.
Rob Ford Served three terms as a city councillor for Ward 2 before successfully running for mayor in 2010. He served a single tumultuous term in office, where he made it his mission to rein in city spending and bring a customer service focus to city services. However his personal behaviour often overshadowed city business, particularly a scandal where he was caught on video smoking crack.
He was running for re-election in 2014, when he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. He dropped his bid for re-election, successfully running instead for his old council seat. His brother, Doug Ford, ran in his place in a race that included John Tory and Olivia Chow. Tory ultimately won the mayoralty that year.
Rob Ford died in March 2016 at the age of 46.
Despite support from Tory, a similar motion to rename the stadium for Rob Ford failed by a vote of 24 - 11 back in 2017.
In his motion, Ainslie said now is the perfect time to revisit the proposal, with changes poised for the park.
"As Centennial Park undergoes a significant reimagining through the Centennial Park Master Plan, approved by City Council in 2021, the time is appropriate to consider renaming the Centennial Park Stadium the 'Rob Ford Stadium' in recognition of his decade and a half of public service," the motion reads.
A spokesperson for Mayor Olivia Chow confirmed Friday that she plans to support the latest motion to rename the stadium after Ford as well.
Chow and Premier Doug Ford, the brother of the late mayor, have recently highlighted their family ties as they buried the hatchet with regards to comments the premier made while she was running for the mayor's office.
Chow's late husband, Jack Layton, was seatmates with Rob Ford when the two were city councillors together and the two men shared a friendship.
In a statement, Premier Ford thanked councillors Ainslie and Carroll and Mayor Chow for honouring his late brother this way.
“Rob loved his community, and he loved football – especially giving young people an opportunity to play the sport. I can’t think of a better way to honour his memory and legacy. It means the world to me and our family, including Stephanie and Doug Jr.," Ford said.
"I know Rob would be incredibly touched by this recognition.”
A recent deal hammered out between Chow and the premier is seeing Toronto give up its fight over the Ontario Place redevelopment in exchange for an upload of the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway to the province, a move that will save the financially troubled city billions of dollars over the coming years.
The motion to rename the stadium for Rob Ford is set to go before council on Dec. 13.