Saying that "this man must be stopped," George Smitherman vowed on Thursday to lead an anybody-but-Ford movement to stop Etobicoke councillor Rob Ford from becoming mayor.
"I am the only one who can stop Rob Ford," he said.
A recent poll for The Globe and Mail, CTV and CP24 gave Mr. Ford a commanding 24-percentage-point lead over second-place Mr. Smitherman in the campaign for the Oct. 25 vote.
"The results of the poll call for an anybody-but-Ford camp," he said, adding that voters should "coalesce around a candidate who can win."
He said that only he had the "intellect, love, energy and passion," as well as the "furious determination," to prevent a Ford victory.
Mr Smitherman, a former deputy premier, made his remarks at Sugar Beach, a recently opened park and sun bathing area opposite the Redpath sugar factory on the central waterfront.
He said the attraction showed that long-delayed plans to spruce up the waterfront are finally gaining momentum and that Mr. Ford would stop that progress.
In a handout distributed to reporters by the Smitherman team, Mr. Ford is quoted as saying this week: "The waterfront. We can't afford it."
That statement shows that Mr. Ford has "thrown in the towel on Toronto," Mr. Smitherman said.
He promised to press ahead with waterfront development by extending the waterfront light rapid transit line into the Portlands and Donlands districts and by working to redevelop Ontario Place.