By Sean Fitz-Gerald
I’m not sure what kind of coffee Barbara Hall drinks in the morning, but I know it’s a hell of a lot stronger than mine.
Hall started her Saturday at 9 a.m. While many of use were still sleeping off out Halloween hangovers, she was shaking hands at Knob Hill Farms at Parliament and Dundas Streets.
I caught up with her around noon at her rally at the Metropolitan Hotel. It was held in the huge ballroom, and was packed to the rafters with people waving placards.
I was still wiping sleep from my eyes when Atom Egoyan, Paul Gross, John Ralston Saul and Margaret Atwood walked across the main stage, in support of Hall.
“Our mayor will be the face we are known by provincially, nationally and internationally. Our mayor will also be the mouth we are known by,” said Atwood, famous author and city resident, to a crowd of 600. “To represent us, we want a person whose foot will not always be in that mouth.”
“We’ve run out of campaign ideas,” Hall said. “Of compassion. Of inclusiveness and substance,” Hall said. “My opponent has also released many sounds and original ideas. But none of the original ideas were sound, and none of the sound ideas have been original.”
At 2 p.m., Hall was at the Christ Church Deer Park. She was not there praying, though many of the people there took her words as gospel.
She was with four lesser-known mayoral candidates debating in front of the Federation of Metro Tenants.
Hall was whisked away from a meeting in Rexdale to an appearance at a downtown hotel before crashing an 8 p.m. Sri Lankan celebration of Diwali at Bloor and Dufferin.
At 9:15 p.m., Hall was at the Metro Convention Centre for Cathay Ball, handing out awards to super students.
At 10:30 p.m., she was in North York at Goulding Park Community Centre for a Filipino Costume Ball. Barb and her hubby Max Beck danced in the middle of a circle formed by 100 people.
While tooling around Saturday, Hall said she will continue the hectic pace of speaking across the city, but said: “I’ll relax on Monday and I might go and get a manicure or a facial.”
By Owen Furgeson
Who can start an article about Mel Lastman without the inevitable Noooo-body joke? Noooo-body.
It’s impossible. These ads are the essence of what Lastman is — the self-promoting little guy from North York who just refuses to lose.
I tailed Lastman for a day to find out what he’s trying to do and how he hopes to do it.
For Lastman, the week consisted of being slammed, lambasted and falling dramatically in the polls as well as being fiercely attacked in the Toronto Star for his foot-in-mouth disease.
But despite all of this, he was raring to go, and making jokes as usual when I caught up with him at “The Canadiana,” an Etobicoke restaurant in the Six Points Plaza.
Dwarfed behind a large, wooden podium he was addressing a group of his Etobicoke volunteers. With the skill of a true salesman Lastman included humour with his pitch.
“[The media] talk about my hair a lot. That’s good. This hair cost me a fortune. They take little plugs from your back and they put them in your head and they grow there. It’s amazing,” he said.
But behind Lastman’s humour lies a man who is willing to fight for his beliefs. Lastman hates taxes. He sees outrageously high municipal taxes as Toronto’s greatest problem.
He believes if taxes are cut, businesses will prosper and all of society will prosper along with them. He wants to cut taxes so there will be jobs available for you and me when we get out of Ryerson.
Lastman seems to really like people. After his speech, he waded into the crowd to discuss his policies with the audience. He got so involved in one discussion that his press people had to drag him away. After all, one must keep to one’s schedule.
Lastman then took off for another event, and I realized I was way the hell out in the middle of Etobicoke with no ride. Figuring it would be futile to pursue him on foot, I caught the subway home.
Mel’s mayhem-filled day continued as he visited Villa Columbo, ON-TV, Ming Pao Newspaper, Parkway Mall, Woodside and the Cathay Ball.