A mayor who knew how to get things done, though not without an array of gaffes and personal scandals.
Former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman has died.
Lastman wore Toronto’s heart on his sleeve as mayor for six years; prior to amalgamation, he was mayor of North York for 25 years (1973 – 1997).
Premier Doug Ford described Lastman as a “true leader and builder” for Toronto.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, who served in Lastman’s “kitchen cabinet,” paid tribute to his former boss, calling him a kind, good-hearted man, noting Lastman had a larger-than-life personality “who always wanted to do the right thing for people.”
Councillor Michael Colle, who worked on Lastman’s 1998 mayoral run, said that was evident when Lastman called in the army in 1999 to help clear snow from city streets. Roundly criticized for doing so, Colle remembers Lastman being upset that ambulances and fire trucks could not get down streets; that people could not get to the doctor. Colle said Lastman reacted with his gut.
A businessman long before he turned to politics, Lastman borrowed $2000 to open his first Bad Bay store in 1955.
Lastman not only sold furniture and appliances, he sold Toronto to the world.
A funeral will be held Monday at 10:00 a.m. at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel on Steeles Avenue in North York.