Hundreds of mourners at city hall to greet Ford family
Codi Wilson, CTV Toronto
Published Sunday, March 27, 2016 6:56PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 28, 2016 5:19PM EDT
Torontonians are getting a chance to pay their final respects to former mayor Rob Ford as his body lies in repose at City Hall.
“Rob and I were good friends. We weren’t always on the same political side but we were good friends throughout,” Brad Duguid, Ontario's minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure said, adding that Ford was a “generous guy.”
Duguid was one of several dignitaries who passed by. Others include Toronto Mayor John Tory, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Ford’s 2010 mayoral rival George Smitherman.
Former students from Don Bosco high school also stopped by to pay their respects. Several of them were wearing Don Bosco jackets – gifts from Ford when he coached their football team.
Christian Gallipoli told CTV Toronto about Ford’s coaching style.
"He was very passionate and very motivational," said Christian Gallipoli, wearing the Don Bosco jacket Ford bought him and the entire football team. "He knew about the game too."
The team from Don Bosco were part of hundreds of people who lined up to pay their respects to the late councillor and his family.
Elena Daniels told CTV Toronto that Ford was like family to her.
“He’s like a father or brother that I lost, I’ve been crying since I heard about it,” she said.
She explained how she met Ford at the 2013 New Year’s Levee. She took the opportunity to invite him to her wedding and sure enough, he showed up.
“For me there’s something that I saw in him that I will forever be grateful,” she said.
Despite the scandals that plagued Ford in his last years in office, a former campaign volunteer said that he will only have good memories of the Etobicoke politician.
“There’s a lot of good memories and a lot of good chuckles and that’s the only thing I can remember him by,” said Stephen Williams.
Ford’s family arrived at city hall around 8 a.m. Monday in a procession from the funeral home. They were greeted by a ceremonial guard who then carried the politician’s body inside as his widow Renata, their children Stephanie and Doug Jr. and other members of his family followed closely behind. Renata brushed away tears as his casket was lifted and carried in city hall.
The Ford family made one final stop in the now-empty office space that Councillor Ford once occupied.
Several floral tributes now sit by his casket as Ford’s body lies in repose, including one from his mother Diane which read, "To my darling son, Rest In Peace. Love, Mom."
Ford’s family announced plans for a funeral and “celebration of life” last week.
The former mayor’s body will lie in repose at City Hall on Monday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Tuesday, between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. followed by a funeral service Wednesday.
A procession is expected to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday as Ford is taken from city hall to St. James Cathedral for the service, which is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m.
Ford will be laid to rest during a private ceremony following the funeral.
The Ford family is asking that people make donations to the Ford-Panov research panel at Mount Sinai Hospital in lieu of flowers.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson