Having spent some time in Toronto, including visiting a Canadian National Exposition held there, I have always felt that city might be a candidate for the Most Boring in North America award. Not that there is anything much wrong with Toronto, but in relation to such fascinating Canadian cities as Montreal, Quebec, Halifax, or Vancouver, Toronto pales by comparison. Recently, however, Toronto has become considerably livelier, thanks to the bizarre antics of the Brothers Ford: Rob Ford, the more-or-less mayor, and Doug Ford, Rob's chief supporter on the Toronto City Council.
Perhaps all of Rob's antics are his own way of promoting Toronto's economy, as the city is now nearly overwhelmed with media people, not only from Canada but also from South of the Border, i.e. the United States, and even further away. Rob Ford's behavior includes his admitted smoking of crack cocaine, which he first justified by stating how drunk he was at the time, followed by several apologies, each of which apologized for the tone or content of the previous apology.
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According to news reports, Mayor Ford's approval rating went up during that period -- but more recently his unrestrained misconduct has lost whatever little charm it had at first. His language has gone from salty to gross; his behavior has gone from merely obnoxious to violent, as when he pushed a woman to the floor during a Toronto Council Meeting; his threats have gone from vague to probably criminal (assault, etc.) Meanwhile, though, Mayor Rob continues to have the full support of his brother and apologist-in-chief Doug Ford, as well as an offer of assistance from none other than Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen, a veteran of his own melt-downs, who offered the good Mayor his "steady hand."
Enter the new Canadian reality program, named Ford Nation, starring the good Mayor and his brother the good Councilor as they travel through life and through Toronto spreading discord wherever they go. Rob Ford has indeed announced his intention to consider running for Prime Minister of Canada. An so, life in Toronto seems no longer boring. For that, we have the Ford brothers to thank, with the complicity of all the news media which love to milk misconduct all the way to the Funny Farm, which may be the direction in which Mayor Rob is heading. Next time we visit Canada, Toronto is on our must-visit list -- no longer a boring city, unless the furor dies down before we can get there. Oh Canada!
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