Cartoon by Duncan Macpherson, Toronto Star, December 5, 1972. Clockwise from left: Dan Heap, Joe Piccininni, David Crombie, possibly Fred Beavis, John Sewell, William Kilbourn.
Victory took a while to sink in for David Crombie. As returns flowed into his campaign headquarters at 887 Yonge Street on December 4, 1972, he sat in a back room for several hours watching television coverage. His company was a box rapidly filled with slips showing the night’s results. Though the polls were favourable, he didn’t want to jump to any premature conclusions. For much of the campaign he endured naysayers among supposed friends, earned only one newspaper endorsement, and fought two strong opponents who were previously allies. Six weeks earlier, he had nearly thrown in the towel.
An hour after polls closed, half an hour after the booze starting flowing, and with each slip showing an increased lead, Crombie still wasn’t convinced he had won. He urged campaign manager Bill Marshall to avoid issuing any statements until victory was confirmed, even if that meant missing the Globe and Mail’s deadline. Meanwhile, Crombie HQ filled with prominent supporters: artist Harold Town, architect Jack Diamond, and MPP Morton Shulman, who had decided not to run for mayor when Crombie made his intentions known.
When CBC flashed “CROMBIE ELECTED” onscreen at 9:40 p.m., reality set in. Headquarters erupted. Crombie, his wife Shirley, and his daughter Carrie locked together in a group hug. News floated in of victories from pro-community, anti-development reform candidates across the city. “For the first time,” Town proclaimed, “all the hairies won.”
When the night ended, City Hall was turned upside down.
There are two Ari Goldkinds: the one before the gunshot, and the one after.
“Sometimes talking about it overwhelms me,” he says over lunch in Forest Hill in mid-September. “It’s every day.”
It is the only time in six weeks Goldkind cries. During those six weeks, he forced his way into the public conversation as a candidate for mayor of Toronto. In many ways, he symbolizes the Rob Ford effect: an average citizen, upset by the mayor’s buffoonery, becomes more engaged in municipal politics. He’s like the hundreds who went to City Hall to protest potential library closures or decry Ford’s refusal to step down after the crack scandal broke.
Except Goldkind decided to run for mayor. He offers no political experience, no party affiliation, and, in his own words, no bullshit.
But it took him a while to agree to tell the story about the day the gun went off. He told the National Post’s Natalie Alcoba a few weeks later, but he also told her he didn’t want that part printed. “So why should I let you, or Natalie, tell that story?” he asks. “Convince me.”
But negotiating is a hallmark Goldkind trait. He ended up convincing himself.
Happy birthday, Drake! Yes, the holiday that will (hopefully) one day surpass Christmas in Canada has arrived: our own Aubrey Graham is one year older. It hardly seems worthwhile, but there's also other news to look at today: Doug Ford denies calling a reporter a bitch, parents in East York protest the conditions of their kids' school, and there's no armed security in Queen's Park.