Doug Ford greets supporters at visitation for the late Rob Ford.

Large crowds show up to visitation for Rob Ford

Some reflect on what the former mayor meant to his base

On Tuesday night, a line wrapped around Toronto City Hall as many turned out to pay their respects to former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Many people could be seen holding Ford Nation signs as they signed funeral guest books and took a few moments at the casket.

“This is a snapshot of Toronto,” former councillor Doug Ford said, looking at the crowds of people in the Toronto City Hall lobby.  “This is no Conservative party, Liberal party, NDP or Green. This represents a multicultural group that has been here from yesterday from all the way till today.

“You just got to look around,” Ford said. “That’s the Rob Ford party.”

It was a sombre event. An honour guard stood watch over Ford’s casket while security kept a careful eye over the large crowd.

Honour guard surrounds the late Rob Ford as mourners pay their respects.
Honour guard surrounds the late Rob Ford as mourners pay their respects. (Raquel Russell // The Observer)

Sharon Williams was raised in Toronto and says that the former mayor loved the city and it’s citizens.

“He was for the people,” Williams said. “A lot of the people think it was a cash grab kind…he was more than that.”

Williams had met Ford a couple of times at campaigns.  He took pictures with her and her friends.

“He was caring,” Williams said. “He had an ear open … he listened.  I think that’s what a lot of people remember about him.”

Some, while there to pay their respects to the controversial former mayor, shared disappointment at how Ford was treated while living and in office.

“I didn’t like the way his powers were taken away from him,” Debbie Pappas, an East York resident shared. “He was like one of us, warts and all.”

Pappas’s friend Ann Silver, said she felt Ford was not respected enough while Nadine Stoiaoff implied the 2014 stripping of powers was wrong.

“He won by a landslide and they effectively highjacked our vote when they dethroned him,” Stoiaoff said.

Rob Ford sign in previous office.
Rob Ford sign in previous office. (Raquel Russell // The Observer)

Outside of the political history, Denyse Daws, another visitor at the repose spoke about cancer and being aware.

“It’s really important for us to get ourselves checked,” Daws said. “We’re here today and gone tomorrow…it just took him so quickly.”

Ford died on March 22 from a rare form of cancer.

The funeral took place at St. James Cathedral on March 29. Former premiere Mike Harris spoke as did Ford’s brother, Doug Ford.