Toronto's mayor Rob Ford is a polarizing figure in the city's politics. Since his election in 2010, the conservative, deficit-reducing and brash but folksy politician has made the headlines.
For good, bad and the ugly, Ford's pubilc stunts, gaffes and near-removal from office have given him wide press beyond the borders of Canada's biggest city of 2.6 million.
U.S. website Gawker and The Toronto Star thrust the mayor into the spotlight again on Thursday night with some bombshell reports of a video a man was trying to sell the media organizations.
For our HuffPost international readers, and for those Canadians still unfamiliar with Rob Ford, we present a brief history of Rob Ford.
A History Of Rob Ford
Rob Ford is Toronto's mayor. He was elected to office on October, 25, 2010.
Ford won with 47.1 per cent of the vote, a conservative candidate who followed up a left leaning mayor. His big campaign focus was on cutting costs at city hall. He said he wanted to " end the gravy train."
Rob is not only the mayor, but comes from political roots. His brother, Doug, is his right-hand man and a member of the city council. Rob was first elected to council in 2000 in Etobicoke, a more suburban part of Toronto. Rob's father, Doug Ford Sr., was also a politician.
Toronto was merged with suburbs in 1998. In the 2010 election, the centre of the city -- made up of more urban areas -- voted for Ford's rival. The suburbs voted more strongly for Ford - in many ways, this explains why he's pro cars and anti-cycling.
With less than eight months into his mandate, Ford started to look at cutting the city's budget. At the time, in the summer of 2011, Toronto was on track for a 4 million budget deficit in 2012. It was Toronto's version of austerity.
Ford held marathon sessions asking residents or "taxpayers" to come out to say what they would cut.
“I’ve never looked at services that could be cut. I’m looking at services that definitely have to be saved,” Wallace Simpson, a 67-year-old community housing tenant, told The Huffington Post in July, 2011. “I think we should save it all.”
Famously, two city transit buses were emptied of their rush-hour passengers in order to pick up Ford's team.
Caught on camera reading while driving.
Deciding to skip the city's massively popular Pride Parade.
Making him a target on social media..
It's arguable that Rob Ford is becoming world famous for his exploits.How's this for one?
So much that we had to put this together a while back.
Time For His Close-Up
Rob Ford proves you can run <em>from</em> the media, you can run <em>into</em> the media, and sometimes, you can do both at the same time. <a href="http://imgur.com/r/funny/nATPNJb" target="_blank">GIF from Imgur</a>
He's got the moves like Jagger.. He's got the moves like Jagger. <a href="http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/November-2012/In-tribute-of-GIF-being-the-word-of-the-year-heres-our-favourite-Toronto-GIFs/" target="_blank">From PostCity</a>
'Wrecking Ball' Ford
Check out <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfXPPjCMLOI" target="_blank">the soundtrack</a>. <a href="http://imgur.com/pDO1anT" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Drinking And Driving
We saw that, Rob. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/let-wrecking-ball-show-you-the-true-beauty-of-rob-ford" target="_blank">From Buzzfeed</a>
Ford blows us a kiss. <a href="http://twitchy.com/2013/11/08/the-gif-that-keeps-on-gifing-15-hilarious-must-see-rob-ford-moments/" target="_blank">From Twitchy</a>
Ford vs. Hulk Hogan
We still can't believe he won, either. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/let-wrecking-ball-show-you-the-true-beauty-of-rob-ford" target="_blank">From Buzzfeed</a>
<a href="http://o.canada.com/news/rob-ford-toronto-summer-of-ford/" target="_blank">Best summer ever</a>. <a href="http://i.imgur.com/AiflEHJ.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Invisible defenders take down the mayor with an invisible tackle.
Foiled By The Jedi
<a href="http://i.imgur.com/JrKal.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Falling Off The Scale
Did we mention this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/rob-ford-ballet-nutcracker-toronto_n_1143708.html" target="_blank">man once performed in a ballet</a>? From <a href="http://robfordfalls.tumblr.com/">Rob Ford Falls Tumblr</a>
That's one way to deal with reporters. <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>
Muhahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>
Maniacal Laugh II
Muhahahahahahahahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>
Robbie Boo Boo
<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videos/clips---season-20/robbie-boo-boo.html" target="_blank">"22 Minutes" strikes again</a>. From <a href="http://thishourhas22minutes.tumblr.com/post/34114355293/22-minutes-discovers-mayor-rob-fords-new-honey">This Hour Has 22 Minutes</a>
Who needs words when you can just <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/02/rob-ford-vomit-noise-video_n_3001086.html" target="_blank">pretend to vomit</a>? <a href="http://imgur.com/gwV7q2h" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Bonus image. Want. <a href="http://imgur.com/xtxz2" target="_blank">Thank you Imgur</a>
NEXT: The Many Faces Of Ford
Toronto Rob Ford, right, gestures to Councillor Paul Ainslee in the council chamber as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. Blasting what he called a "coup d'etat," Ford said voters should be able to pass judgment on him, not his fellow councillors.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (centre) dances with participants ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday July 30, 2011.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford, left, celebrates after defeating wrestler Hulk Hogan in an arm-wrestling match to promote Fan Expo in Toronto on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 .
Twenty-two month-old Micah MacMilan reacts as he is picked up by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford while Ford was signing bobblehead dolls in his likeness at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 12, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds up a replica Grey Cup as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laughs with fans as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Ford showed up at Sunday's Canadian Football League playoff game, despite a request by the league's commissioner that he stay away.
Canadian recording artist Drake, left, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laugh at a news conference announcing that Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford displays a milk moustache as he takes part in voting with city council members in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches from the sidelines near the Argos bench during a CFL football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders in Calgary on Saturday, August 18, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for photographs inside a giant shark mouth while attending the grand opening of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. After two years of construction, delays and (Canadian) 0 million in costs, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opened to the public Wednesday.
City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for a photo opportunity with other dignitaries in a shark's jaws at the opening of Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is hoisted into the air by his Don Bosco Eagles team after winning the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday Nov. 15, 2012. A civil trial hearing in which the mayor is accused of libel against a restaurant owner went on without him.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (center) smiles as he officially opens the refurbished Sunnydale rink with Toronto Maple Leafs' coach Ron Wilson (right) and other dignitaries who were on hand as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs who practiced on the outdoor rink in Toronto on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabs the Grey Cup by the handles during a parade celebrating the Toronto Argonauts victory in the Grey Cup final in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 .
Rob Ford Meets Butter Rob Ford
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/31/rob-ford-butter-sculpture-ex-cne_n_1846616.html" target="_hplink">Toronto Mayor Rob Ford comes face to face with a butter sculpture of himself at the Canadian National Exhibition</a>.
Butter Rob Ford
As part of an exhibition at the CNE, Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban has made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/butter-rob-ford-sculpture_n_1828527.html" target="_hplink">butter sculpture of Toronto's mayor</a>.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hoists the Grey Cup on stage with Toronto Argonauts players while celebrating the team's Grey Cup victory in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stands at the door to his office as he waits for an elevator in Toronto on Thursday November 14, 2013.
Mayor Rob Ford speaks at city council in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.
Nov. 13 2013. Toronto mayor Rob Ford during the afternoon session as councillors continued to debate a motion asking mayor Rob Ford to apologize to Torontonians for misleading therm about his use of crack cocaine.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to his Don Bosco Eagles team during the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.
In this Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds a bobblehead doll depicting him at Toronto City Hall. An electoral map of the 2010 mayoral election shows that Ford's voter base resides mainly in a more conservative constituency than the downtown electorate.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and city councillor Michelle Berardinetti (right) smile on stage during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford jumps on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Rob Ford's ballet debut
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acts on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media outside office in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, after the release of a video. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including "kill" and "murder."
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford emerges from his office holding slices of a birthday cake to offer to members of the media at city hall in Toronto on Tuesday May 28, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto amid allegations of crack cocaine use on Friday May 17, 2013, in Toronto. Published reports say a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. Ford called the allegations ridiculous.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford watches players from Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, warm up before they compete against the Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 Those whose antics threaten to besmirch the party name normally don't get a second chance with Canada's federal Conservatives. Not so, it would seem, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford carries the Pan American games flag in Omnilife Stadium during the closing ceremonies of the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Toronto will host the games in 2015.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford reacts after Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, lost 28-14 to Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks to a staff member at city hall in Toronto on Wednesday November 6, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses reporters at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford briefly takes the stage to greet the crowd as part of the New Years Eve celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on Monday, December 31, 2012.
A popular Canadian comedy show "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" sent an actor to 'ambush' Ford.
Really didn't end up too well, as Ford called 911, not recognizing the well-known actress. He reportedly called the dispatcher, reportedly saying "You … bitches! Don't you f--king know? I'm Rob f--king Ford, the mayor of this city!"
There's also no love lost between the mayor and one of Toronto's newspapers The Toronto Star. The mayor called police alleging a reporter had trespassed on his property.
Rob and his Brother Doug kicked off a weight-loss campaign in January, 2012 in a very public manner.
He started the year weighing 330 pounds. In the following months, the campaign to lose 50 pounds (he lost 16 by June) got plenty of media coverage.
Lynn B. Miedzik
John Michael McGrath
son of grambo
Youth In Solidarity
gregory alan elliott
oliver the olive
Luke Gordon Field
In late 2012, Ford was ordered to be removed from office for violating conflict of interest laws -- he voted on a matter in which he had a financial interest.
The vote -- whether Ford was to reply ,150 he asked from lobbyists for his football foundation using city letterhead.
But the mayor was able keep his job, also avoiding being prosecuted for allegedly overspending during his 2010 campaign.
In the end, his appeal of his removal from office was granted by court. "This has been a very, very humbling experience," Ford said hours after the decision was released. But the hearings had produced stunning accounts of who exactly is Rob Ford?
But not before crazy happens. Like former baseball pro Jose Canseco saying he'd run for Toronto mayor.
Like in late November, when Ford, the football fan, was welcoming the Canadian Football League's final game in Toronto. The mayor takes a tumble in a moment captured by a GIF maker.
In March 2013, Sarah Thomson, former Toronto mayoral candidate, accused Ford of hitting on her and grabbing her "ass" in a Facebook post that went viral. Ford has said the allegations are not true. Thomson, who ran for mayor in 2010 and is currently the chair of the Toronto Transit Alliance, posted a photo of herself with the Ford at a party held by the Canadian Jewish Public Affairs Committee. Ford looks disheveled in the image, a large stain clearly visible on the front of his shirt.
Ford responded, "I don't even want to waste my time anymore on this. This was not true."
And in another report about a separate incident, Ford was alleged to be drunk at an annual event held for the Canadian Armed Forces. The report said that the mayor spoke in a "rambling, incoherent manner" in the Feb. 23, 2013 event.
An angry Ford denied the report Tuesday as "lies after lies and lies."
Like Jimmy Kimmel, who in April showcased a clip of Ford colliding with a TV camera.
“It’s alright, he has free health care, it'll be fine,” Kimmel joked before showing the clip again in slow-motion.
And then Thursday, May 17, 2013 this: A potentially damaging video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been shopped around to a number of media outlets, including the website Gawker and The Toronto Star, both of which published details about the footage Thursday.
Gawker's John Cook describes travelling to Toronto to see that video and what he thinks he sees in it.
Hours later, The Toronto Star went live with their story, saying its reporters have viewed a video with a person they say is Ford smoking a pipe.