I'm curious why you think Miller was so focused on the Core to the detriment of the suburbs. It was under Miller that started the priority neighborhoods and his transit plans were focused on improving transit services in Scarborough and NW Toronto. Ford tore them up, pushed a nonsensical subway "plan" which set transit back at least a decade, had no plan for anything for the NW. And the core grew increasingly more prosperous relative to the rest of the city under his watch.This political slap was never a dig at any middle class or poor who reside in Downtown. Its a direct dig a the growing wealthy minority in the City who have a greater financial political power advantage and a vested interest in seeing greater investment in the Downtown (and the Core) as opposed to outer areas of the City. Surely many of them live in posh areas of Downtown, and as you mention many live in the attractive central (bloor to finch) which happed to be mostly in reasonable proximity to the subway investment of the past. Inevitably they don't give a crap about focusing on the key detail to revitalize our neglected suburbs of the City. Whether genuine or not Ford has put a political label on it and tapped into the apathy from the lack of focus from a previous pro "Core" administration.
Like most political statements Its not a black and white, and I get how some are offended but voter apathy does exists in large number and the cat is out of the bag. Until steps are taken by all political groups to make serious attempts in diluting this issue were going to see this type of politics continue at the forefront for some time to come.