‘We are here for the Rob Ford party’: Toronto mayor laid to rest – USA TODAY
Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, loved by many but loathed by others, was laid to rest Wednesday following a public funeral in downtown Toronto that gathered hundreds of mourners.
Ford died March 22 after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 46.
Ford’s casket, which laid in repose in City Hall since Monday, was transferred to St. James Cathedral in Toronto in a public procession marked with honor guard and ceremonial bagpipes. Only two sitting mayors have been given a public memorial at City Hall, according to the Toronto Star, and Ford was the first former mayor to receive such an honor.
Hundreds joined the procession to pay their respects to Ford, holding pictures of him, singing and chanting “mayor for life” and “best mayor ever.”
Ford’s mayoral term from 2010 to 2014 was marked with bizarre behavior and controversies, including a 2013 scandal that involved viral videos of Ford smoking crack cocaine and threatening to murder someone. The videos received national and international fame and led to the City Council stripping Ford of most of his powers.
The funeral at St. James was attended by several notable figures, including incumbent Mayor John Tory and Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. Remarks were made by former Ontario premier Mike Harris, Ford’s daughter Stephanie, brother Doug and a player from Don Bosco Eagles, the football team Ford coached.
“Rob has inspired them (the people), to care about their city and to get involved with it,” Harris said.
Stephanie Ford called him “an amazing dad,” adding that “he’s the mayor of heaven now”.
Doug Ford thanked everyone in attendance for joining the ceremony despite having their differences with Ford’s political views.
“Today, we’re putting our political differences aside. We are here for the Rob Ford party, the party of the people. Rob was truly the party of the people,” he said.
“Rob truly believed he was the mayor of Canada, not the mayor of Toronto,” he added.
Outside the cathedral, tents with large screens were set up for people who could not fit inside. A large Canadian flag was also hoisted by firetrucks outside the steps.
A private burial followed the funeral. In the evening, Ford’s family planned a public celebration of his life, which was open to the public.