‘He didn’t let anyone push him around’

Torontonians remember Rob Ford in person and online

On a day that featured news about the Canadian federal budget, a baseball game in Cuba with presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro in attendance, and the devastating terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium, the death of controversial former Toronto mayor Rob Ford yesterday trended on Twitter throughout the day,

The reaction to Ford’s death, at age 46 after a long fight with cancer, appeared to be divided on Toronto streets and on social media.

Rita Campbell remembered Ford as person who wanted what was best for Toronto.

“I respect the way [Ford] did what he wanted to do,” Campbell said. “He didn’t let anyone push him around. If he didn’t believe in something, he didn’t go along with anyone else.

“He made it (Toronto) better. We didn’t lose jobs. Taxes didn’t go up when he was mayor, so he really did work for the people.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jeff Braendle thought differently of Ford.

“I’m kind of divided on it in the sense that it’s sad that someone died of course, but the mockery he’s made of our city is finally over,” Braendie said. “Which is probably the only positive you can take out of someone’s death.”

Campbell said of such criticism of Ford, “He had his own little thing on the side but that was his personal life that no one should have interfered with or judged…. He stood his ground and he did what was best for the city.”

In a statement on Twitter, Mayor John Tory said Ford’s time in City Hall included, “Moments of kindness, of generosity to his council colleagues, and real efforts to do what he thought was best for Toronto.”

Family members, celebrities and politicians paid their respects to Rob Ford on Twitter shortly after his death was announced. Here are some of the reactions: