Source: Doug Ford - X/Facebook

Rob Ford’s legacy is living on in Toronto.

As of Tuesday evening, Centennial Park’s football stadium will be known as Rob Ford Stadium in honour of the late former mayor.

Premier Doug Ford, the late mayor’s brother, invited anyone who is able to come and honour Rob’s legacy at an unveiling and barbecue Tuesday evening.

The decision to rename a football stadium in Etobicoke after former mayor Ford was made after a 17 to six Toronto city council vote in December. Mayor Olivia Chow supported the proposal.

A previous vote to name the stadium after the former mayor in 2017, who died of a rare cancer in 2016, didn’t pass despite support from then-mayor John Tory. Six councillors who voted against the name change in 2017 changed their minds and supported it in 2023.

One of the councillors who changed their mind was Paul Ainslie, who brought forward the motion.

“All of those who served with Rob Ford on council knew that he had two passions — representing his constituents not only across the city but in particular in his home community of Etobicoke, and football,” said Ainslie.

Councillors who initially voted against naming the stadium after Ford cited his controversies, such as racial slurs and skipping some Pride celebrations.

Despite these, the late Rob Ford earned Chow’s support.

“I do know the pain of losing a loved one. I understand that,” said Chow in December. “That is why I supported Councillor Ainslie’s motion to name a football stadium, because I understood what that meant for the Ford family. I certainly understood how painful it was for a young person to die prematurely. That’s why it’s in front of the agenda today.”

Chow was married to Jack Layton from 1988 until his death from prostate cancer in Aug. 2011. Chow had undergone cancer treatment herself. 

“My family and I are deeply moved by Toronto City Council’s decision to honour Rob’s service to his community by renaming Centennial Stadium after him,” wrote Doug Ford in a post to X.

Rob Ford dreamed of becoming a professional football player during his youth. He made the football team while studying political science at Carleton University but never played any games. He left Carleton after studying for a year and did not complete his degree.

He volunteered as a high school football coach and donated $20,000 to the Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School football team, which he once coached. Additionally, he established the Rob Ford Football Foundation to support underprivileged schools struggling to maintain football teams.

Rob Ford served as Toronto’s 64th mayor between 2010 and 2014. He will now be remembered whenever someone visits the formerly known Centennial Park football stadium.