Toronto, I Love You Blog

Rebel Mayor, I Love You

by Stephanie Malek

I originally was going to write this post about parody twitter accounts of Toronto politicians. I started reading through the accounts and quickly realized that I really didn't want to relive the embarrassment of our previous mayor, who single-handedly made me embarrassed to be Torontonian more times than I can count. 

What a happy looking gentleman. 

What a happy looking gentleman. 

Instead of dwelling on the (painful) recent past, I will instead dwell on the distant past - back to the first mayor of Toronto, William Lyon MacKenzie.

To give you a brief background on this handsome gentleman, William Lyon MacKenzie was a journalist, then a Member of the Legislative Assembly, our first mayor, and a leader of the Rebellions of 1837. Born in Scotland, he came to Canada in 1820 and moved to York (Toronto) in 1824. In his political career he was, um ... how to put it ... really good at pissing people off - so much so that he was often threatened, assaulted and attacked (they destroyed his printing press and threw parts of it into Lake Ontario!) They kept booting him out of the Assembly, and his constituents kept bringing him back! In 1834 he became mayor, but his term was short as he was elected to the provincial Parliament again. He was defeated in the polls in 1836 and got so upset that he decided on an armed revolt (it didn't go particularly well due to lack of planning and leadership and probably lots of alcohol so he fled to the US where he kept trying to rebel from Navy Island. They beat him there too so he moved to New York). If you want the full story, you can find more here

There is no denying he was a scrappy fellow. In this day and age, modern-day scrappers like to spend their time giving hell to each other on the internet, so it makes perfect sense that William Lyon MacKenzie is back - in twitter form.

I knew as soon as I decided to start this blogging project that the rebel mayor would be included on my list of things I love about Toronto. From his ongoing feud with former Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, to his ongoing threats to the public peace, to his hatred of Toronto, its history, and it's Tory politics, here are a few of my favourite tweets from our first mayor:

Trying to help local MPPs

Trying to help local MPPs

A sassy repartee with the former Deputy Mayor.

A sassy repartee with the former Deputy Mayor.

Reaching out to the media to keep them in the loop.

Reaching out to the media to keep them in the loop.

   Showing his city pride.

   Showing his city pride.

I reached out to our former mayor, once I'd decided to include him, to let him know he would be included in my list of things I loved about this city. I figured he may want to weigh in on the inclusion. I assure you, he did not disappoint. I also asked him what he loved about the city, which he also shared with me. I am sad to say that I have since challenged him to a duel to honour the good name of our fair city. I will let you know how it goes lest I perish by musket-fire!

Unlike the former mayor, we love Toronto and want to share it with you! Toronto, I Love You opens tonight at Bad Dog Comedy Theatre and runs at 8pm Wed-Sat until January 31st!