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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a declaration while participating in the official flag raising of Toronto Pride week June 24, 2013. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a declaration while participating in the official flag raising of Toronto Pride week June 24, 2013. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail)

For first time, Rob Ford marks start of Pride week in Toronto Add to ...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford joined Premier Kathleen Wynne to mark the official start of Toronto’s Pride week Monday.

For the first time since taking office, Mr. Ford helped to raise the rainbow flag at a lunchtime event at city hall and read the Pride week proclamation.

“Pride week is an opportunity to celebrate the harmony in which we co-exist and raise awareness about the barriers some individuals still face,” Mr. Ford said reading the proclamation.

Mr. Ford, who has declined previous invitations to the flag raising and annual Pride parade, would not talk to reporters or explain his change of heart. This year and last he did take part in a spring event hosted by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG. Mr. Ford has said he does not take part in the annual parade because he has a tradition of spending the long weekend with family.

“Anybody who can come and support Pride is a good thing,” said Ms. Wynne, Ontario’s first openly gay premier, when asked about Mr. Ford.

Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, played down the presence of his brother at the event, which was greeting mostly with applause by the crowd.

“If he can make it, he makes it, if he doesn’t, he doesn’t,” he said of his brother’s attendance at the event.

Asked if the mayor also will be a surprise guest at this weekend’s parade, he said: “Honestly, we are going up to the cottage.”

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