“I thought you were the likely bunch,” said one woman, as she approached a group of about 25 people gathered last Tuesday evening at the doors of City Hall. They were there for artist and activist Roy Mitchell’s second “Embarrassing Mayor Tour,” which he runs partly as a joke, and partly as a protest.
First stop was Henry Moore’s Three Way Piece No. 2: Archer, the bronze sculpture just outside the building’s front doors. There, Mitchell, a former ESL teacher who used to bring school groups to City Hall for field trips, told the story of then-mayor Philip Givens’ efforts to raise money to buy the piece of art. The subtext: Mayor Ford wouldn’t lead a similar campaign.
By the fourth stop in the 10-stop tour, Mitchell got a little less abstract. Standing beside the middle concrete arch spanning the square’s reflecting pond—the one that contains a piece of the Berlin Wall, he noted—he re-enacted Ford’s infamous 2010 As It Happens CBC interview to a round of applause from the tour-goers.
The group didn’t include any Rob Ford supporters. (Participant Dave Steinberg joked that he’d only read about Ford voters on the internet.) But for Mitchell, that hardly mattered. “There’s no logic,” he said. “There’s no sense you can talk to them to make them change their ideas about Rob Ford… I don’t have a lot of faith in [them].”
Mitchell shrugged off any suggestion that the tour was unfair to the mayor. “Am I mean to him?” he repeated when asked the question. “I give as good as I can get. I think he’s mean to the city. I don’t feel guilty about that.”