The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rob Ford's 'Ford Fest' draws crowd of supporters, few protesters

  • Print
Mayor Rob Ford is escorted by security through a party thrown by his family called Ford Fest in Toronto on Friday, July 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Enlarge Image

Mayor Rob Ford is escorted by security through a party thrown by his family called Ford Fest in Toronto on Friday, July 25, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

TORONTO - A beaming Rob Ford shook hands, posed for pictures and signed autographs as his annual "Ford Fest" drew hundreds of supporters and a handful of protesters Friday night.

The Toronto mayor's annual public party took over the lawns of a park in the city's east-end, with ardent Ford fans turning out to catch a glimpse of the controversial politician.

The event was supposed to be a campaigning-free zone, due to its location in a public park, but that didn't prevent strong pro and anti Ford sentiments from emerging.

There were a few tense moments when six demonstrators protesting what they termed Ford's homophobia turned up. They held up signs and called for the mayor's departure from office.

"He needs to be held accountable," said Poe Liberado, who faced loud jeers from Ford fans.

"His buffoonery is dangerous, his positions are dangerous and he needs to be taken seriously."

Ford raised eyebrows in recent weeks when he remained seated while city council gave a standing ovation to organizers of Toronto's World Pride festival.

He did not answer questions from reporters outside his office about why he didn't stand along with fellow councillors, but said he's not homophobic.

"He's a disgrace," said protester Kevin Speight. "He's embarrassing our city."

The mayor's supporters, however, weren't pleased with the anti-Ford sentiment, with a number of individuals getting into verbal confrontations with the protesters.

At one point, a few Ford fans grabbed the signs being held by the protesters, tore them up, and threw them on the ground, stamping on them in the process.

"Go home," they yelled. "This is Ford Nation!"

The ruckus took place out of the mayor's sight, although a man who appeared to be on the mayor's team insisted that everyone was welcome to attend Ford Fest.

The event, which featured free food and live entertainment, also gave residents a chance to briefly meet Ford, an activity which many of those who lined up waited for hours to do.

"He tells it like it is, he doesn't waste taxpayers money, he's a people's person," said Bob Hampton, who was waiting to meet the mayor.

"I supported him the last time and so long as he remains clean, I'll support him this time."

Ford recently got help for substance abuse issues, spending two months in rehab before returning to office just four weeks ago. He has said he can't guarantee that he won't relapse, but has asked his supporters to trust him.

Some of those supporters have made it clear they don't care about the mayor's personal issues.

"We're all got skeletons,"said Rick Faulkner. "The only difference between him and the other politicians is he got caught."

Ford's role as mayor has been largely symbolic since November, when city council stripped him of most of his power following his admissions of alcohol abuse and drug use during "drunken stupors.''

Those admissions came after months of denials and were followed by the surfacing of videos that appeared to show the mayor making offensive and profane comments.

Despite the rocky year he's had, Ford is running for office again in Toronto's municipal election this October.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief Clunis denies link between internal sexual-harassment investigation and Tina Fontaine case

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google