Illustration by Kyra Kendall/Torontoist.
Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—Toronto’s very best and very worst people, places, and things over the past twelve months. From December 13–17: the Villains! From December 20–24, the Heroes! And, from December 27–30, you can vote for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
This year started out so promising for Adam Giambrone. He was ready, ready to run, jump, and climb his way to the mayor’s office. The young TTC Chair and then-city councillor (Ward 18, Davenport), was on every list of potential candidates, touted as the man to continue David Miller’s legacy and engage with a more youthful Toronto audience. This boy was so golden, NOW Magazine predicted his win weeks before he even announced he was running.
In February, though, NOW‘s prediction was proven to be very, very wrong when University of Toronto student Kristen Lucas leaked intimate texts and emails between herself and the young councillor to the Star, revealing their affair, his alleged ploy to use girlfriend Sarah McQuarrie as a campaign prop, and his inappropriate use of City Hall furniture. Initially claiming his relationship with Lucas was purely textual, amid the ensuing public uproar Giambrone later admitted to committing multiple sexual indiscretions, resigned from the mayoral race, and decided against a bid for reelection as a councillor too.
Between this and the outrage over TTZZZzzzzgate, TTC fare hikes, and where he went in those cabs, there were weeks when Torontonians couldn’t turn a page or click a mouse without seeing those sad baby-blues on the receiving end of somebody’s shaming finger.
No one’s insinuating that Giambrone was the first politician to have his career short-turn for the worse because of a scandal. He wasn’t, he won’t be the last, and that has no bearing on how spectacular or spectacularly miserable he may have been as mayor had he won. He’s a human being after all, and we humans are notorious for making bad decisions and acting half our ages.
Except when most of us make mistakes, they don’t set the city back millions in tax dollars, miles on the political spectrum, and years of social progress. With the Miller-endorsed, TTC-wise candidate’s place on the ballot left empty, so were the options for downtown commuters and progressive voters. Without a streetcar strong enough to counter Rob Ford’s gravy train…well, we all know what happened next⎯Ford was elected mayor, meaning more cops (that even the cops don’t want), slashed taxes, and the attempt to axe Giambrone and Miller’s baby, the perhaps-soon-to-be-departed Transit City, while members of our own city are cleanly divided into honest, hardworking taxpayers and left-wing pinkos.
Giambrone had the potential to be a hero this year: for the TTC, for the city, and perhaps even for this list. We had hope when his early critics saw him as immature, but unfortunately he proved them right. At thirty-three, he still has time to get his career back on track. Meanwhile, Torontonians will be waiting…and waiting…and waiting…for proper service again.