After two failed attempts to deliver the Duke to Mayor Ford at his office Friday morning, we returned to the temporary TPM Toronto bureau in a hotel across from City Hall and plotted our next move. A Canadian politico sent us an email with a list of Mayor Ford's opponents in the Council. They suggested these rivals might be willing to present the award on the Council floor.
Armed with this information, ace videographer Yumi Araki and I returned to City Hall and began searching for the councillors our source recommended. Of course, when we passed Mayor Ford's office, we couldn't resist lingering and decided to try to make a final attempt to give him the Duke.
As we waited, we were cornered by a self-described Canadian supporter of Ross Perot, who regaled us with his unsolicited opinions about a variety of political topics including; the Kennedy assassination, Bill de Blasio, the deaths of Vince Foster and Ron Brown, and the Koch brothers. While we were being cornered, Mayor Ford strode off the elevator in front of his office and went inside. We rushed towards him, but it was too late.
Knowing Mayor Ford was mere feet away, we made the decision to wait for him to re-emerge. We were joined in front of the mayor's office by a young man wearing a t-shirt bearing one of Ford's best-known sayings, "I've got more than enough to eat at home." The young man, who said his name was Justin, said he took a train to City Hall from a town about 100 kilometers away in order to have the shirt signed by the mayor.
Before Ford exited his office, aides brought in two groups of schoolchildren who met the mayor inside. Soon after the second group of kids departed, Ford emerged drinking from a large plastic cup with an attached sippy straw.
"Go Argonauts!" I shouted in an attempt to appeal to Ford's well-known fondness for football.
This sports suckuppery didn't work. The mayor ignored our efforts to hand him the Duke as security led him onto the elevator. He seemingly mumbled an apology to Justin, who held out a sharpie and begged for an autograph. Then, Mayor Ford was gone. We were ready to give up.
With a heavy heart, I placed the Duke on the ground in front of the mayor's office. As I began to walk away, a security guard demanded I pick up the Duke. But just when it seemed Mayor Ford's award might not reach its rightful owner, we found our savior.
As we walked away from Ford's office, we spotted his brother Doug heading into the City Council chamber. I approached, shook his hand, told him we were attempting to give his sibling the trophy, and asked if he would deliver it for us. Doug laughed, took the award, and promised to pass it on to Mayor Ford.
"OK there you go. Not a problem," Doug said as he took the Duke. "Thank you."
Doug then proceeded into the Council where his brother and the rest of Toronto's leadership awaited. I trust that Doug Ford is a man of his word and expect the Golden Duke will become one of Mayor Ford's most cherished possessions.