It very well may be the World’s Most Famous Elevator.
And not because it’s the elevator Toronto Mayor Rob Ford uses to go from his parking spot to his desk. Perhaps it’s such a famous elevator because the mayor yesterday admitted to smoking crack cocaine during a supposed “drunken stupor” about a year ago and the entire Southern Ontario news media today trained their lenses on the silver doors of this elevator waiting for Ford to appear and walk the four metre-long gauntlet of television camera lights and still camera flashes to his office reception doors.
All this for the world to see and, with a little help from U.S. late night television hosts, chuckle at – at our expense.
Ford unwittingly gave new meaning to Toronto’s nickname “The Big Smoke.”
It’s no wonder the second floor mezzanine outside Ford’s office was saturated with Hitachis, Sonys, Nikons and Canons.
But the 44-year-old mayor this morning avoided the inevitable media scrum and did the political equivalent of a naked bootleg, sneaking in safely behind the media’s backs using a back entrance.
He may have smoked crack cocaine once while mayor, but he isn’t stupid.
It was interesting to watch.
Anticipating the mayor’s arrival this morning, cameras watched and microphones listened intently as the elevator dipped down to lower floors. And as the car rose and stopped at the second floor, everyone took another half step forward, silently congealing into a single mass of digital imaging recording devices.
A security guard appeared as the doors opened and the mass simultaneously relaxed and exhaled. False alarm.
Five, six, seven times the doors opened to reveal nobody – well, not Rob Ford, anyway.
An anonymous individual exits the elevator one time and is surprised by the throng of cameras, but recognizes a photographer and flash bulbs blast as everyone has a laugh at the man’s 15 seconds of fame.
At least the mood is jovial even if the reason for being there was serious as heck.
The walls of the city hall access ramp have been chalked up before – most recently with condolences for the passing of NDP MP Jack Layton. But today, the messages were mostly negative and clearly directed toward Ford.