Toronto Star reporter enters forbidden territory — Mayor Rob Ford’s office
Robyn Doolittle Urban Affairs Reporter
For the first time in 18 months, a Toronto Star reporter set foot in the Mayor of Toronto’s office on Sunday.
Strictly speaking, I only managed a get a toe across the threshold. The door was barred with security rope, but I did get a good peek inside and what I discovered is going to totally shock you.
Rob Ford’s office is outstandingly dull.
Other than a seven-foot blue and white oriental vase, most of the decor in our chief magistrate’s private digs is unbefitting such a colourful character.
There were some leafy green plants. Two squishy black leather couches with blue and cream accent pillows. A red and gold rug. A water cooler. Two ceremonial groundbreaking shovels. And a bronze football statue.
A haphazard collage of family photos and mounted newspaper articles adorns the walls, but I couldn’t get a good look because, like I said, I could only poke my head through the door. Luckily, I’ve been covering this notoriously private guy for two years and I came prepared.
When I heard that Ford was again opening his office to the public as part of the city’s Doors Open Toronto event, I thought I’d better bring binoculars — just in case — even though the previous mayor let the public wander right up to his desk.
Through my trusty birdwatching lenses I could make out a tiny Stanley Cup figurine on the console behind Ford’s desk. There were family photos of Ford, his wife Renata, and two children at the CN Tower. Numerous articles and photos of his late father Doug Ford Sr., a Conservative MPP, covered the wall behind the mayors’s desk, including a gigantic shot of the elder Ford and former premier Mike Harris.
At 100 Queen St. W., the mayor’s office is positioned on the second floor of city hall overlooking Nathan Phillips Square. Outside the glass doors is the infamous antique scale where the Ford brothers do their bi-weekly “Cut the Waist” weigh-in. (Incidentally, while I was snooping around, the mayor was on his radio show announcing he was finished with his diet.)
For the record: while waiting in a long line to get into the mayor’s office, I decided to step on the scale. It’s clearly broken, showing me as at least six pounds too heavy.
Once you pass through the mayor’s main reception area, you’re in what’s called the protocol lounge, where official visitors and dignitaries are received and where the mayor will hold an occasional news conference. Previous mayors left this open to the public, but now it’s only accessible via restricted key passes.
Beyond this a set of doors I haven’t crossed since Nov. 2010, when former mayor David Miller granted me an exit interview. As you might have heard, the dialogue between the Ford administration and the Star has been strained from the get-go. We did not get an invite to the annual year-end interview circuit in his office last December.
But on Sunday afternoon, I finally walked into this forbidden territory alongside a dozen Japanese tourists and Mississaugan Nima Salman who brought his young daughter, Rose.
“I just love this guy! I love him! I came last year too,” he said, snapping photos of the ROBFORD licence plate. Ford removed the vanity plate from his beige van last year.
For Rose, the highlight of her trip to Fordland was taking a turn on the vintage scale, which she has seen on television several times.
Funny, it didn’t seem to be broken for her.