Rocco Rossi’s Toronto: lots more vuvuzelas. Photo of fans on College Street during Sunday’s World Cup celebrations by Remi Carreiro/Torontoist.
Since early June, Toronto’s mayoral candidates have been desperately trying to tap into World Cup mania by showing up at bars during games, and by handing out branded schedules and swag. Sunday marked the culmination of these efforts, as four of the five major candidates stopped by the School Bakery & Café in Liberty Village—Netherlands fan central—under the guise of a charity raffle to try to win over the sea of orange voters with short half-time stump speeches.
Unfortunately, if what we heard is any indication of the calibre of our city’s future leadership, then we’re all about to feel as low as the Dutch.
First up was a mumbling Joe Pantalone, whose near-inaudible message to the crowd can be best summarized as: Toronto is fantastic, soccer is fantastic, and err…Toronto is fantastic! Pantalone’s solid pro-Toronto, pro-soccer platform might have earned him some crowd support if anyone could hear him.
Next, the always peppy Sarah Thomson promised to stop “spending and waste,” and then, in the same sentence, committed to building “subways, subways, subways.”
“Don’t those things cost billions of dollars?” we heard one gentlemen retort. “That doesn’t make any fuckin’ sense.”
Rocco Rossi followed up by proving just how out of touch he is with Torontonians—and almost everyone, for that matter—by promising vuvuzelas for all. The ill-conceived attempt to score points with the by-now-very-bored soccer crowd was met with boos, as it turns out that some people don’t like the sound of a bee attached to a megaphone.
George Smitherman also tried to work the crowd by telling them that they deserve a government that’s as good as they are. Smitherman’s vague platitude earned him a point in our books, as his delivery was very loud, and it’s important to be heard in politics.
The only absent candidate was Rob Ford, who was apparently stuck in traffic. In his stead, one of his volunteers took to the stage and delivered a simple but elegant statement: “Go Holland!”
If we had to pick a winner from yesterday’s showdown, we’d pick Rob Ford’s volunteer, as his message was short, venue appropriate, and demonstrated a deeper connection with his audience. He even got a few cheers.