Toronto News ~ Toronto Focus

The Problem With Rob Ford and His Camp: Kevin Donovan Speaks

The Problem With Rob Ford and His Camp: Kevin Donovan SpeaksKevin Donovan is an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star. He has won three Canadian Association of Journalists Awards, one Michener Award and three National Newspaper Awards and you might know him as the guy who broke the ORNGE story.

Kevin Donovan co-wrote the Star story that Rob Ford was asked to leave a gala event celebrating the Canadian armed forces last month, because organizers were concerned he was impaired.

It’s an open secret at city hall that the mayor has battled alcohol abuse. Those closest to him are concerned for his health and the impact it has on his job as mayor of Canada’s largest city. Current and former staff have told the Star of repeated attempts to persuade the mayor to get help for more than two years and as recently as November. All attempts have been rebuffed.

Kevin Donovan appeared on Humble and Fred's podcast this morning. Listen to what he had to say and then meet me after the jump.

In response to this story, Rob Ford has called it "an outright lie". His brother and unofficial spokesperson, Doug Ford, has also denied the allegations. Doug and Rob both believe the Toronto Star is out to get them and anything the Star writes that puts Rob Ford in a negative light is a lie.

Make no mistake, I don't take delight in the fact our mayor has a substance abuse problem. I sincerely hope he gets help, and my issues have always been with his flawed logic and regressive approach to city planning. He's a leader who won't raise a flag for the Pride Parade, but won't miss a photo opportunity with the pandas. He's a leader who will scream "subways, subways, subways" but won't tell you how we'll pay for the subways. And when an investigative journalist presents overwhelming evidence about our mayor being asked to leave a gala event, even confirming it with councillor Paul Ainslie, chair of the government management committee and a strong ally of Ford, Rob Ford, his brother and his camp stick with plan A: deny, deny, deny.

In this instance, it's a true shame. Rob Ford needs help, and step one is acknowledging he has a problem. Until Rob Ford accomplishes that, my fear is this will only get worse.

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Why I Hate The Latest Rob Ford Scandal Most Of All

Why I Hate The Latest Rob Ford Scandal Most Of AllAs a proud Torontonian, I've had to endure several Rob Ford scandals since he was elected to city council. Here's a list of Rob Ford controversies if you require a refresher. Of all the Rob Ford controversies, the one that's disturbed me the most is this latest one involving Sarah Thomson.

The news broke Friday morning and I refused to rush to judgement. I watched the story unfold, listened to all sides and stayed quiet until now. I hate how many Rob Ford supporters, many I consider friends, have politicized Sarah Thomson's claims and have painted Ford as the victim once more. Earlier today, Ford even used his 1010 radio show to wonder aloud if Thomson is "playing with a full deck". A comment on this very blog seconds ago gloated "from all the media response this weekend it is fairly clear that the story is a hoax".

Whenever Rob Ford is called out for something he's guilty of, his first move is to lie to us. He's a notorious and proven liar. Remember that Leafs game when an inebriated Rob Ford went off on that Durham couple? He denied that ever happened until the evidence was so overwhelming he had to come clean.

Remember when Rob Ford was asked if he was arrested for pot possession in Florida? He denied that ever happened until the evidence was so overwhelming he had to come clean.

The man has absolutely no integrity, and when a woman came forward on Friday to accuse him of inappropriate behavior, instead of supporting her people seem to exert great energy dismissing and discrediting her. I agree 100% with Sarah Thomson's statement below.

I am not the kind of woman who sees chauvinism everywhere or believes in reckless denunciations. But Mayor Ford was behaving inappropriately, and there was clearly something wrong with him during the CJPAC event.

He must be discouraged from over indulging to the point where he is groping or making lewd comments, and women should not put up with it when it happens. The Mayor was outrageous, he acted horribly, and I won't be intimidated by the whitewashing he has tried so hard to generate.

Decades ago powerful men who sexually assaulted women would call them "hysterical," or "crazy" to debase their credibility. It pushed many assaulted women into silence. Today Mayor Ford stated that he wondered if I was "playing with a full deck" try to discredit me. He will not push me into silence and I hope his accusations do not re-ignite the old fears that once silenced women.

We need an ongoing dialogue to ensure respect for women in the workplace and to create an inclusive and safe society for all.

Feel free to dismiss my opinion as well, because I've had many issues with our mayor over the years. This is undeniably true. I don't trust Rob Ford, I don't agree with his politics, I don't like his personality and I wouldn't want him leading my condo board, let alone my beloved city. When I see people labeling Thompson as a whack job and sympathizing with Rob Ford over this issue, it angers me.

In fact, I hate it.

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Not the Top 10 One-Hit Wonder Bands from Toronto

Not the Top 10 One-Hit Wonder Bands from TorontoPerusing Twitter, I caught this tweet from my buddy Marc.

I had to click over to the article to see for myself. Here's their list of the top 10 one-hit wonder bands from Toronto.

  1. Len - "Steal My Sunshine"
  2. Snow - "Informer"
  3. Alannah Myles - "Black Velvet"
  4. jackSOUL - "Can't Stop"
  5. Choclair - "Let's Ride"
  6. Love Inc. - "You're A Superstar"
  7. Toronto - "Your Daddy Don't Know"
  8. The Pursuit of Happiness - "I'm An Adult Now"
  9. Platinum Blonde - "Crying Over You"
  10. Boys Brigade - "Melody"

Right off the bat, having listened to radio in this city for over 30 years, I can tell you this is an awful list. Many of these artists are not one-hit wonders by any definition, and as we've discussed, the standards for one-hit wonders keep dropping.

Just off the top of my head, from my 680 CFTR days and Q107 Top Ten At Ten days, I can tell you Platinum Blonde had several big hits in Canada, The Pursuit of Happiness had a handful and Allannah Myles was all over the radio with "Love Is" before she even released her biggest hit "Black Velvet".

As I scratch my temple, I remember Snow making a comeback with the hit single "Everybody Wants to Be Like You". That means, just off the top of my head, I can confirm four of this top ten list had multiple hits in Canada.

What say you?

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Love Padlocks

Love PadlocksLove padlock are a custom by which padlocks are affixed to a fence, gate, bridge or similar public fixture by sweethearts at an increasing number of locations in the world to symbolize their everlasting love.

Last week, I saw love padlocks blossoming on the Eiserner Steg bridge.

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The most love padlocks I've ever seen were affixed to the Pont des Arts, Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor and the Pont de l'Archevêché bridges in Paris.

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Here in Toronto, love padlocks were removed from the Humber Bridge due to concerns over aesthetics and structural concerns if the bridge were to become a love padlock destination.

Heaven forbid.

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Things are Looking Up in Toronto Sports

Things are Looking Up in Toronto SportsToronto Sports fans, I have good news. It seems we bounced off the bottom in August and things are looking up.

At that time, the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Argos were all in pretty dire straits. You'll have to click back for details. I called it a "brand new low", but as I type this today I'm pleased to report the Argos are Grey Cup champs, the Blue Jays are entering the pre-season as World Series favourites and both the Leafs and Raptors are on four game winning streaks. Heck, the Leafs might even make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

And let me tell you as someone who is watching both the Leafs and Raptors these days, they're both entertaining and full of hope, something that's been sorely lacking the past few years. The Toronto professional sports scene is suddenly respectable again.

Go Jays Go! And go Leafs, Raptors and Argos, too! I'm not sure about TFC, but the other teams are headed in the right direction.

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It's a Snowstorm. I'm Calling it a Snowstorm.

It's a Snowstorm. I'm Calling it a Snowstorm.Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for much of southern and parts of eastern Ontario, extending from London to Peterborough, and including Toronto.

Between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow along with strong easterly winds are expected. It'll be the most snow we've seen since in Toronto since February 2009.

It's not the Snowpocalypse or Snowmaggeden, it's not even a Snowicane or Snowpalooza. It's just a snowstorm.

You might want to work from home tomorrow.

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Is Toronto a Walkable City?

Is Toronto a Walkable City?During recent trips to Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin, it was just me and a map and my two legs. I found each city to be very walkable, and was able to hit each destination without requiring public transportation.

Is Toronto (the old Toronto, not the megacity) as walkable? I'm thinking I'd need to visit my own city as if I were a tourist to learn the truth.


According to Walk Score, Toronto is Canada's 2nd most walkable city, behind Vancouver. Here are the top 10:

  1. Vancouver (Walk Score = 78)
  2. Toronto (Walk Score = 71)
  3. Montreal (Walk Score = 70)
  4. Mississauga (Walk Score = 59)
  5. Ottawa (Walk Score = 54)
  6. Winnipeg (Walk Score = 53)
  7. Edmonton (Walk Score = 51)
  8. Hamilton (Walk Score = 51)
  9. Brampton (Walk Score = 48)
  10. Calgary (Walk Score = 48)

Do you find Toronto to be a walkable city?

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Non-English Mother Tongues in Toronto

Non-English Mother Tongues in TorontoMy mother tongue is English. In fact, it's the only language I speak fluently. Boring, isn't it?

According to this treemap, many Torontonians grow up speaking a language other than English. If you want to read the smaller boxes, here's the very interesting source PDF.


Did you grow up speaking a language other than English? If so, which language?

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My Six Favourite Toronto Albums

cdA list of the top 50 Toronto albums is making the rounds, so I thought I'd chime in with my six favourite Toronto albums.

With apologies to the Rheostatics, Rush and Blue Rodeo, these are my top six.

Everything I Long ForHayden - Everything I Long For

Favourite Tracks:
"Bad As They Seem"
"In September"

Love JunkThe Pursuit of Happiness - Love Junk

Favourite Tracks:
"I'm an Adult Now"
"She's So Young"
"Hard to Laugh"

Shakespeare My ButtThe Lowest of the Low - Shakespeare My Butt

Favourite Tracks:
"Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes"
"Eternal Fatalist"
"Bleed a Little While Tonight"

YelowtapeBarenaked Ladies - The Yellow Tape

Favourite Tracks:
"Brian Wilson"
"If I Had $1000000"
"Be My Yoko Ono"

Symphony in EffectMaestro Fresh-Wes - Symphony in Effect

Favourite Tracks:
"Let Your Backbone Slide"
"Drop the Needle"
"Tear it Up"

FlukeRusty - Fluke

Favourite Tracks:
"Groovy Dead"
"Wake Me"

And Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 isn't on this list because although he spent his formative years in Toronto and recorded this masterpiece in Toronto, I'm having difficulty swallowing it as a Toronto album. And yes, some of you hate rap and will ridicule me for including the Maestro on this list. Go ahead, I have thick skin.

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Anthony Bourdain - The Layover: Toronto

Anthony Bourdain - The Layover: TorontoShared without comment, this is The Layover with Anthony Bourdain visiting Toronto.

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