Mel Tolaston, Toronto’s youngest political champion, has died at the age of 88.
Lastman served as mayor of North York for 31 years, first in Toronto and then for the last six years, before ending his colorful political career in 2003.
The big, small showman helped turn North York into an office tower known for its budget conservatism, regular sales, and millionaire ownership of the Bad Boy furniture chain.
As the Chief Justice for Forced Marriages in the former suburbs and the former city of Toronto, his victories, insults, and personal scandals during his mad reign did not dim his eyes.
When Lastman turned 80 in 2013, Star actor Royson James said: “For many years, Mel was the craziest game in town and a fast media circus.
“He insulted the prime minister and the prime minister. He kept his most chosen and rude names for his board members. As his tail slashed between his legs at sunset, many forgot that he was the mayor of North York, who built the city center with so much fervor and determination. “
Toronto Mayor John Tori said in a statement on Saturday: “On behalf of all Toronto residents, I extend my condolences to Mel Lastman’s family and friends.”
As the first mayor of the United States, Tori said Lastman was “loyal to his city and worked during his tenure to make Toronto a united city in the 21st century.”
Tori co-chaired Lastman’s Toronto mayoral election campaign, noting that Lastman was part of a group of informal “kitchen cabinets” of advisers.
He called Lastman “a man who always wanted to do the right thing for people, was kind and kind,” and was honored with a square named after him in his beloved city of North York.
“As we mourn his death, I would like to thank Mel Lastman again for his service to North York and Toronto,” Tori wrote, waving the flags of the city hall and other civilian buildings in half, marking January 18, 2018. The book of condolence will be available for residents to sign.
Rod Phillips, a member of the Progressive Conservative MPP and Ontario’s long-term welfare minister, was the head of Lastman’s office in Toronto.
“Mel Lastman was a respected city leader of his generation. In many ways, he was the founder of North York City and the founder of the new city of Toronto,” Phillips told Star magazine in 2016 when he was in business leadership.
“Mel Lastman was a difficult man, but he was the happiest when he fought for his city. He never stopped fighting and sometimes looked for them. He always kept his city in his heart.”
Phillips recalled traveling with Lastman from North York to Metro Hall, where the general council met for the first time, and the new mayor told him he wanted to visit all of the city’s facilities in North York and do the same for Toronto.
“He” So you need to find out how many facilities there are in New Toronto. I looked at the large folder of the brief and said it was over 6,000. He looked at me and said, “It’s a big job.”
Lastman announced a series of tax freezes, and although he was conservative, he was able to work with members of various political councils, including Jack Leighton and Olivia Chow, who chose to address the city’s homelessness.
Melvin Douglas Lastman was born on March 9, 1933 and grew up in the suburbs of Kensington. He dropped out of high school in 1955 to work at a home appliance store on Weston Road.
A native salesman, he soon opened 40 chain stores across Ontario.
The millionaire businessman, who married Marilyn Bornstein in 1953, was elected to the North York Supervisory Board, and then in 1972 was elected mayor of North York.
As mayor of North York, Lastman supported the Sheppard subway under construction and the center of North York as a “second city center.”
Known for his sleek style, warm-heartedness and open-mindedness, he was elected the first mega-mayor in 1997, even by his best rival, Metro Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall.
The mega city has been drawn to the old districts of Toronto by Mike Harris County, and has been opposed by local mayors such as Lastman. But the North York lawyer threw himself into the ring to lead the mega-city, but it wasn’t without controversy.
He said he did not see any homeless people in North York the day the body of a homeless woman was found in the bathroom of a North York gas station at the end of his election campaign.
“I think the windows on his limousine should be too dark,” said Jack Leighton, a member of the Metro board.
“It’s going to be hard work, but I’m sure it will work,” Lastman said as the vote counted that day in November.
As mayor, Lastman has been embroiled in a series of controversies.
Like Ford, Lastman was criticized for opposing Pride, but in 1998 a consensus was reached.
“I didn’t know how to treat me, but everyone was very receptive, everyone had a great time, and there were people here who were proud of who you were,” Lastman said in 2011 when faced with questions about Ford’s lack of attendance. “I said to one child, ‘Who’s better than you?’ No body! You have to feel that way about yourself. This is about Canada. ‘ That’s pride. “
He also encouraged Ford to participate, and his son Dale reminded him, “You are the ruler of all peoples.”
In 1999, during a heavy snowstorm, he was ridiculed for calling the army to bury the city in a 50-centimeter fluffy white object.
But he was not worried among the protesters.
“Shall I do it again? You’re right, I’ll do it!” he said in 2009.
Count. Mike Colle Lastman, who co-chaired the two with the mayor of Lastman, said he “couldn’t hide his feelings.”
“People on downtown streets like Manning Avenue were calling the mayor’s office. Mel was worried … ambulances and fire trucks couldn’t get out on the streets because of the snow,” Colle recalls. discussion. “That’s what persuaded him to enlist.”
He said the memory of Lastman left tears in his eyes.
Lastman took a hot bath in the summer of 2001 as he talked about his upcoming trip to Kenya, where he wanted to compete in the city’s 2008 Olympics.
“Why would I want to go to a place like Mombasa? … I just see him dancing around me in a pot of boiling water. “
In the days before the populist mayor, Rob Ford, Lastman received a call that Scarborough would not be littering, and there was no mention of a hell of a fight with city officials.
“What was most important to Mel at the time was the inspiration, the passion, and the ability to connect with people that there was someone who could lead a city that people could come close to,” Colle said.
He said he would never forget this magnetic force.
“I’ve never seen a politician, or wherever you’ve been with him, people from all walks of life come across the street to talk to him,” he said. They all seemed to be able to get close to you. “
He said his success in college was partly due to his ability to delegate to others, pointing to Phillips, who was tasked with solving many of the unresolved issues of the new mega-city.
“It was a huge job and he never appreciated it,” Colle Lastman said of the show.
On his 80th birthday in 2011, he met Royson James, a longtime New York City reporter and Lastman City Hall reviewer, and said he was glad to be in the spotlight.
“I could have left earlier; It would be better to have. Many issues that I didn’t want to discuss would be avoided. They are best forgotten. I’m having fun with my six grandchildren. “