Mayor Rob Ford kept his promise to avoid the Pride parade on Sunday, but several of his doppelgangers showed up.
Rumours had been circulating early in the day that Ford would show up at either the PFLAG Pride Brunch or march in the parade along with PFLAG, but neither turned out to be the case.
The cardboard cutout Ford faces turned up in some unlikely places: with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Catholic Students for GSAs, the York Federation of Students, the Canadian Auto Workers, the passenger side of the truck carrying the NDP float, and inside one man’s pants.
But not all the messages to Ford were friendly. Several marchers and spectators carried signs saying “Stop the Ford Cuts” or simply “Fuck Ford.” One pair of marchers carried a banner saying “We found Waldo, Where’s Rob Ford?”
Darcy Higgins, marching with Food Forward, wore a towel around his waist and carried a sign that explained he had forgotten his bikini at Ford’s family cottage.
Despite Ford’s absence, many other city councillors marched in the parade, including Kristyn Wong-Tam, Pam McConnell, Shelley Carroll, Josh Matlow, Paula Fletcher, Mike Layton, Gord Perks, Sarah Doucette, Adam Vaughan, Michael Thompson, Mary Fragedakis, Joe Mihevc, Gary Crawford and Cesar Palacio.
Former mayor David Miller marched in the parade and was greeted with thunderous applause the length of the route as he shook hands and wished spectators “Happy Pride!”
Ford ally Giorgio Mammoliti, who spent part of Saturday videotaping the Dyke March to collect evidence in his campaign against Pride funding, was not spotted at the Pride parade.
Also unusual during the parade was the absence of any Conservative or Progressive Conservative party contingent. This shocked some observers who noted that the federal Conservatives had elected a number of MPs from Toronto in the most recent election.
The Liberal, NDP and Green Parties each had contingents fronted by their national party leaders. Another notable absence was Premier Dalton McGuinty, who nonetheless attended at least one earlier Pride event and sent a number of his ministers to march, including openly gay MPPs Glen Murray and Kathleen Wynne.