Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Announcing the #RobFordIn140 finalists! Vote for your favourite today!

Here are the #RobFordIn140 contest finalists! Be sure to pick your favourite and vote using the sidebar tool. The winner will be selected at midnight on Sunday, August 31st. Good luck!

Mobile users click here to see the poll.

1. Our first finalist goes straight for the emotional heartstrings:
2. Entry #2 takes the rhyming approach:

3. Our third finalist takes a brief-but-direct approach:

4. Finalist #4 crams in the facts:

5. And finally, our final finalist takes a decidedly unique approach:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fact #32: Doug Ford Sr. did not, as his family claims, swim Lake Ontario with Marilyn Bell

Editor's Note: There's a school of thought that says every family has their tall tales, and this isn't newsworthy. To an extent that's true - it's certainly no $85M LRT cancellation fee boondoggle. However, the swim story provides some important context on the Fords: 1. It shows how they will lie about anything, even when it doesn't matter; 2. It shows how they are happy to promote their fictionalized history in official government documents; and 3. It's yet another reminder that the whole concept of Fordian Exceptionalism that stretches from Doug Sr. all the way down to 'lil Mikey in Ward 2 is based on high grade, uncut BS.

Of course, there is perhaps a 1% chance that we've got this all wrong. If the Fords can provide evidence that the Marilyn Bell swim happened like they claim we'll print a full retraction. Until then, we can't comment on a swim that we have never seen or does not exist.


It's true. Much of the Ford Family myth comes from stories about their larger-than life father, who single-handedly founded Deco (he didn't), was a major player in provincial politics (he was a one-term backbencher) and who served as an honoured Rotarion (he got his award for donating $1,000, just like Doug Jr.). The impact of Doug Sr. on the Ford clan is profound. "My dad’s my political hero," Rob said in 2012, "my business hero—he’s my hero overall. End of story."

One of the anchors of the Doug Ford Sr. legend is that he was a champion swimmer who set out with Marilyn Bell the night she conquered Lake Ontario. As the nomination for renaming a park in his honour states:
"He was a championship swimmer and, at the age of 16, became the youngest person ever to attempt the annual CNE marathon swim across Lake Ontario."
Toronto Life expands the story:
A talented athlete, he played football for the East York Argonauts and attempted to swim Lake Ontario in the same crossing that turned Marilyn Bell into the nation’s darling, but it was a job as a lifeguard that changed his fortunes.
And in Crazy Town, Robyn Doolittle writes:
"Standing six feet tall, with his chiselled jaw, thick golden hair, and dashing smile, he looked like a movie star," Robyn Doolittle Robyn Doolittle writes in her book Crazy Town. He loved long distance swimming, and when 16-year-old Marilyn Bell attempted to cross Lake Ontario on Sept. 10, 1954, Ford attempted to swim by her side. "He didn't make it," Doolittle writes. "[He] kept training, and on the side worked as a lifeguard. It was at the local pool that he first caught sight of a beautiful, blond Diane Campbell [Rob, Doug, Randy, and Diane's mother.]" 
And Mayor Ford's official YouTube channel posted a video with similar text:
"As a youth, Mr. Ford was a championship swimmer and in 1954, at the age of 16, attempted the CNE marathon swim across Lake Ontario, alongside Marilyn Bell, who completed the distance."

There's only one problem with the story - it never happened. Here's why:

Announcing the #RobFordIn140 Challenge: Tweet your summary of Rob Ford's first term and win!

It's contest time!

Downtown Elites - drop your half-caf non-fat soy lattes and fold up your bikes! Ford Nationistas - get ready to stash your spears and clubs! Rob Ford Facts is holding the #RobFordIn140 challenge, so get your submissions in today!

Here are some examples to get you started:

How does it work?

The contest is simple: just find the best way to summarize Rob Ford's first (and/or last) term as mayor in a single tweet. You can be pro-Ford, anti-Ford or bi-Fordian. You can be funy, scathing or coolly ironic in a detached sort of way. Tag it with #RobFordIn140 and submit by August 25th. We'll take the best entries (including both pros and cons) and open it up to an online vote.