Mayor Ford not in attendance at Pride Week flag-raising
Published Monday, June 25, 2012 9:00AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 25, 2012 10:14PM EDT
A crowd of Pride Week revelers jeered Mayor Rob Ford’s name at city hall on Monday, after he failed to appear at a rainbow flag-raising to kick off Toronto's internationally-renowned Pride festival.
Twenty-six of the city’s 44 councillors were in attendance, however, and received a rousing applause by the hundreds-large crowd at Nathan Phillips Square there to celebrate Pride Week.
Coun. Shelley Carroll read the mayor’s Pride Week Proclamation, welcoming the beginning of the internationally-renowned festival of tolerance.
Ford had warned last week that he would not attend the official flag-raising, and on Monday his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, also announced he would not attend.
The flag-raising is just one of many events over the 10-day festival, which celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited and transsexual community in Toronto.
The event also pumps an estimated $136 million into the city's economy and attracts tourists from around the world.
Ford's lack of attendance at Pride Week events made headlines last year when he became the first mayor in 16 years to miss the festival's premier event – a massive parade held on Yonge Street.
Former mayors David Miller, Mel Lastman and Barbara Hall all participated in the pride during their time in office. The last mayor to miss the event was June Rowlands in 1994.
Ford said his family's tradition of spending the Canada Day weekend at the cottage took precedence. He has said he will miss this year's Pride parade for the same reason.
On their Newstalk 1010 radio program on Sunday, the Fords suggested that Toronto needed a large, patriotic Canada Day parade.
Earlier this year, the mayor surprised organizers of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by appearing at their flag-raising after seemingly declining their invitation for weeks.