Mayor Rob Ford plans to skip Monday’s raising of the rainbow flag launching Toronto’s huge celebration of gay pride and tolerance.
Ford, who has refused to attend a single Pride event since taking office, was asked Friday if he plans to go to the noon flag-raising on city hall’s rooftop podium, steps from his second-floor office.
“No, I won’t be able to,” he said. When asked why not, the mayor told reporters: “Because I’m already committed to something else.” Ford did not reveal the other commitment. His press secretary, George Christopolous, quickly moved to end the media scrum.
Ford’s decision to skip what would be his easiest Pride appearance makes it likely he will again avoid all events in the 10-day celebration that attracts an estimated 1.2 million people and pumps tens of millions of dollars into the local economy.
He said in April that, just like last year, he won’t attend the festival-ending July 1 parade because he will spend the Canada Day weekend at his cottage with family. Ford’s three predecessors all went to the parade to show support for Toronto’s once-maligned gay communities.