It’s a summer day of absolute fun that 80 Toronto kids will never forget.
Doug Ford says he won’t either.
“There is no question it is my favourite day of the year,” he said.
It’s the second time he’s hosted the Fordfest Camp Day with Trust 15 and Toronto Police’s 23 Division.
There he was Thursday up at his cottage near Port Sydney with busloads of kids ranging in age from ten to 20.
For many of the youngsters it was their first ever time going to a summer cottage.
They may have witnessed a shooting or murder but not the pleasures of being Canadian.
“Some of them said they had never swam in a lake or taken a Seadoo ride or had a campfire,” said Ford.
All of that changed Thursday.
“It’s just been incredible,” he said “The laughter is amazing to hear. The joy. They feel right at home.”
It was a perfect Canadian summer day — started it by singing O Canada.
Hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn and roasted marshmallows to go with games and songs were all part of the cottage day.
“It sure is special,” said the former city councillor and mayoral candidate. “A lot of these kids didn’t even know where Muskoka is.”
Now it’s a place where they went to in the summer in their youth.
Toronto Police 23 Division Supt. Ron Taverner went up for the day to support the youth and the “unbelievable volunteers from Trust 15 who are the people behind both the Women on the Rise and Men of Distinction programs.”
They set an example of what people can do to help. Ford and Taverner are always doing stuff like this — most of the time without press coverage.
Many of these kids live in TCHC projects or other priority neighbourhoods. We all know what a violent year 2016 has been but that was not talked about or thought about on this day.
The day is available for kids to come of all races but Doug said he noticed most of the children were black.
“Just wonderful young people,” he said. “We need to work with them and give them opportunities and encourage them. We all need to be engaged.”
He’s pretty sure they got something out of the day at the cottage but admits probably not as much as he and Taverner.
“We really enjoy this,” said Ford. “It’s very special.”
When he looks back on all the amazing things he’s been involved in, Ford said he won’t forget this August day in 2016.
For Doug Ford the 2016 race to the White House brings back memories of his brother Rob’s quest for mayor in 2010.
It was a day of no politics for Doug, who may run provincially for the PCs or for mayor in 2018. But I decided to drag him into some anyway.
Since there is so much talk about Donald Trump and his presidential bid going a little sideways in the last week, I asked Doug, who worked so closely with former mayor Rob Ford’s campaign, for his opinion and advice to Trump.
“My advice is for Donald to focus on his competition — that’s two people. Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Don’t don’t get sidetracked. Instead keep it on Hillary’s lies and the e-mails and stuff like that,” said Ford, who has met Trump. “Focus on getting rid of the Washington elite which she is part of.”
All about loyalty, Ford also scolded Republicans who have not been loyal to Trump.
“It makes my stomach turn to see Republicans jumping ship,” he said. “They are used to having their buddies running Washington no matter who is in power. Pork barrel funding and all that. Trump is going to put an end of that. He needs to tell people how sick and tired they are with back room deals and tonnes of money for their buddies.”
It worked for his brother.