In the midst of an often-tumultuous mayoralty, Rob Ford’s ability to draw a crowd never seems to falter.
Mr. Ford appeared on stage at the opening night of the Taste of the Danforth festival Friday, reading from a proclamation in front of a crowd gathered on Logan Avenue in the city’s east end, before posing for photos with throngs of festival-goers.
“I’m back and fighting,” Mr. Ford said to the crowd after taking to the stage, drawing cheers and some heckling. “I had a little throat infection there.”
It was Mr. Ford’s first public appearance since he left the hospital on Thursday.
Mr. Ford lauded the popular festival’s economic and social impacts. His appearance on-stage came shortly after 10 p.m. and lasted about two minutes.
Speaking on AM640 Thursday, Mr. Ford said a throat infection had him wondering if he was “meeting [his] maker.”
Mr. Ford said he planned to attend the festival and joked, “I'm doing everything the doctors told me not to do.”
After leaving the stage, Mr. Ford fielded reporters’ questions about food at the festival and his health, saying he is taking anti-biotics.
Mr. Ford declined to answer a question about imposing fines on Green for Life, the company that began collecting waste between the Humber River and Yonge Street this week. The company has since been dogged by complaints of late collections.
Mr. Ford then made his way along Danforth Avenue, trailed by police, staff, and his brother Councillor Doug Ford, stopping near the corner of Ferrier Avenue to pose for photos.
Mr. Ford stood in the middle of a large circle of people waiting to have their photo taken.
Upon realizing who was in the middle of the circle, several passersby joined the crowd, pulling out cameras and smart phones.
Since taking office, Mr. Ford has remained faithful to the retail politics that helped make him notorious as a city councillor. Earlier this year, he embarked on a series of strolls through local malls, dubbed “Mayor’s Walks,” with the aim of promoting health and fitness as part of his public weight-loss campaign.
Mr. Ford left the festival around 11 p.m.