Ford barbecue attracts thousands to annual event

News Sep 06, 2011 by Noel Grzetic Etobicoke Guardian

In one corner of the massive backyard, a few young women with blindingly bright blond hair draw a crowd with their cheerleading moves. Around back the lead singer of a cover band shouts, "Bring us beer!" Fireworks culminate the night.

Just another party at the Ford's.

Last Friday, Sept. 2 Mayor Rob Ford hosted hundreds of guests - if not thousands by the end - at his mother Diane's home for his annual Ford Fest barbeque. The night was not only a celebration of his mayoral victory, it was a chance to meet the Torontonians who got him there.

"I'm very humbled by all the support and the people that came out," he said, calling the day "huge" for him.

Interacting with people in such an intimate environment like this is unusual for a politician but it's always been his style.

"It's what people feel comfortable with, right?" he said near the end of the night, visibly tired. "We've been doing this for a long time, since 1995. My dad started this when he first got elected and no matter what race, religion, what political stripe you are, everybody comes here, they enjoy themselves."

Prior to the barbeque, Ford held a private meeting with Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak who, along with other politicians (even one from Ontario's NDP party), later spoke on stage.

Radio personality and barbeque host John Oakley introduced Hudak to the crowd as "the next premier of the province of Ontario." Political colours were kept to a minimum, though Hudak did leave in a blue van and the porta-potties were orange.

Notable guests included Etobicoke Centre MPP Donna Cansfield, former mayoral race competitor and nascent PC candidate Rocco Rossi, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, among many others.

Allie Cadore, 38, attended out of curiosity.

"It's a different oasis away from reality, isn't it?" she asked, between burger bites. "You can see the big separation between us and them; who has and who does not."

Karel Hodgert showed up because of Ford's previous work as councillor for Etobicoke North's Ward 2. After a series of problems with fires in her neighbourhood, she contacted him "and Rob Ford turned up one day with the chief or the fire department trying to negotiate... and it was that day that he impressed me."

Family matriarch Diane barely had any time for herself; many guests were family friends and other acquaintances who wanted to catch up. Still, she was able to strut her dancing skills during hits such as "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

For her, the day meant more than just a barbeque.

"Do you want me to tell you honestly what today is? This is my 55th anniversary with my husband," she said. Her husband, former politician Douglas Ford, died five years earlier. "I just wish he'd be here but he was watching over us today. I know he was, I know he was."

She also said she's proud of her sons because of the reasons behind their political careers. "They're not here for a job, they're here to do a job. And they're doing it."

Not surprisingly, it was Rob who got the most attention. He stood for hours talking to anyone who stood in line.

In the sea of people waiting for food, someone said, "Whether you agree with him or not, he likes talking to you."

Ford barbecue attracts thousands to annual event

Mayor spends most of the night talking to residents

News Sep 06, 2011 by Noel Grzetic Etobicoke Guardian

In one corner of the massive backyard, a few young women with blindingly bright blond hair draw a crowd with their cheerleading moves. Around back the lead singer of a cover band shouts, "Bring us beer!" Fireworks culminate the night.

Just another party at the Ford's.

Last Friday, Sept. 2 Mayor Rob Ford hosted hundreds of guests - if not thousands by the end - at his mother Diane's home for his annual Ford Fest barbeque. The night was not only a celebration of his mayoral victory, it was a chance to meet the Torontonians who got him there.

"I'm very humbled by all the support and the people that came out," he said, calling the day "huge" for him.

Interacting with people in such an intimate environment like this is unusual for a politician but it's always been his style.

"It's what people feel comfortable with, right?" he said near the end of the night, visibly tired. "We've been doing this for a long time, since 1995. My dad started this when he first got elected and no matter what race, religion, what political stripe you are, everybody comes here, they enjoy themselves."

Prior to the barbeque, Ford held a private meeting with Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak who, along with other politicians (even one from Ontario's NDP party), later spoke on stage.

Radio personality and barbeque host John Oakley introduced Hudak to the crowd as "the next premier of the province of Ontario." Political colours were kept to a minimum, though Hudak did leave in a blue van and the porta-potties were orange.

Notable guests included Etobicoke Centre MPP Donna Cansfield, former mayoral race competitor and nascent PC candidate Rocco Rossi, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, among many others.

Allie Cadore, 38, attended out of curiosity.

"It's a different oasis away from reality, isn't it?" she asked, between burger bites. "You can see the big separation between us and them; who has and who does not."

Karel Hodgert showed up because of Ford's previous work as councillor for Etobicoke North's Ward 2. After a series of problems with fires in her neighbourhood, she contacted him "and Rob Ford turned up one day with the chief or the fire department trying to negotiate... and it was that day that he impressed me."

Family matriarch Diane barely had any time for herself; many guests were family friends and other acquaintances who wanted to catch up. Still, she was able to strut her dancing skills during hits such as "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

For her, the day meant more than just a barbeque.

"Do you want me to tell you honestly what today is? This is my 55th anniversary with my husband," she said. Her husband, former politician Douglas Ford, died five years earlier. "I just wish he'd be here but he was watching over us today. I know he was, I know he was."

She also said she's proud of her sons because of the reasons behind their political careers. "They're not here for a job, they're here to do a job. And they're doing it."

Not surprisingly, it was Rob who got the most attention. He stood for hours talking to anyone who stood in line.

In the sea of people waiting for food, someone said, "Whether you agree with him or not, he likes talking to you."

Ford barbecue attracts thousands to annual event

Mayor spends most of the night talking to residents

News Sep 06, 2011 by Noel Grzetic Etobicoke Guardian

In one corner of the massive backyard, a few young women with blindingly bright blond hair draw a crowd with their cheerleading moves. Around back the lead singer of a cover band shouts, "Bring us beer!" Fireworks culminate the night.

Just another party at the Ford's.

Last Friday, Sept. 2 Mayor Rob Ford hosted hundreds of guests - if not thousands by the end - at his mother Diane's home for his annual Ford Fest barbeque. The night was not only a celebration of his mayoral victory, it was a chance to meet the Torontonians who got him there.

"I'm very humbled by all the support and the people that came out," he said, calling the day "huge" for him.

Interacting with people in such an intimate environment like this is unusual for a politician but it's always been his style.

"It's what people feel comfortable with, right?" he said near the end of the night, visibly tired. "We've been doing this for a long time, since 1995. My dad started this when he first got elected and no matter what race, religion, what political stripe you are, everybody comes here, they enjoy themselves."

Prior to the barbeque, Ford held a private meeting with Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak who, along with other politicians (even one from Ontario's NDP party), later spoke on stage.

Radio personality and barbeque host John Oakley introduced Hudak to the crowd as "the next premier of the province of Ontario." Political colours were kept to a minimum, though Hudak did leave in a blue van and the porta-potties were orange.

Notable guests included Etobicoke Centre MPP Donna Cansfield, former mayoral race competitor and nascent PC candidate Rocco Rossi, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, among many others.

Allie Cadore, 38, attended out of curiosity.

"It's a different oasis away from reality, isn't it?" she asked, between burger bites. "You can see the big separation between us and them; who has and who does not."

Karel Hodgert showed up because of Ford's previous work as councillor for Etobicoke North's Ward 2. After a series of problems with fires in her neighbourhood, she contacted him "and Rob Ford turned up one day with the chief or the fire department trying to negotiate... and it was that day that he impressed me."

Family matriarch Diane barely had any time for herself; many guests were family friends and other acquaintances who wanted to catch up. Still, she was able to strut her dancing skills during hits such as "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

For her, the day meant more than just a barbeque.

"Do you want me to tell you honestly what today is? This is my 55th anniversary with my husband," she said. Her husband, former politician Douglas Ford, died five years earlier. "I just wish he'd be here but he was watching over us today. I know he was, I know he was."

She also said she's proud of her sons because of the reasons behind their political careers. "They're not here for a job, they're here to do a job. And they're doing it."

Not surprisingly, it was Rob who got the most attention. He stood for hours talking to anyone who stood in line.

In the sea of people waiting for food, someone said, "Whether you agree with him or not, he likes talking to you."