Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was expected to deliver a speech at Tuesday morning's Remembrance Day ceremony, will not attend the event after all.
Mr. Ford, whose controversial term as Toronto mayor officially ends at the beginning of December, was expected to make one of his last official appearances at the Old City Hall ceremony.
But on Monday afternoon, Mr. Ford's chief of staff, Dan Jacobs, said the mayor, who underwent his third round of chemotherapy last week for a rare and aggressive form of cancer, will not be able to attend.
"He's still not 100 per cent sure if he's up for it," Mr. Jacobs said in an interview.
"But he understands it's a very important ceremony, it's close to his heart, so he doesn't want to leave it as a last-minute decision."
Instead, Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, who represents the downtown ward where the ceremony will take place, will speak on the mayor's behalf.
Toronto's mayor-elect John Tory, who will be sworn in next month, will attend the Remembrance Day ceremony as a guest.
City spokesman David Clark said event organizers are expecting more people than usual for this year's ceremony, in light of last month's shooting death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa.
He would not comment specifically on security precautions, but he said the presence of Toronto police officers will probably be heightened near Old City Hall.
Tuesday's ceremony will include a moment of silence, a flypast by the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association and remarks delivered in English, French and Ojibway.
Last year, Mr. Ford's presence at the Remembrance Day ceremony – wearing his chain of office just one week after admitting he had smoked crack cocaine – drew mixed reactions. Still, he said late last month that he was determined to attend again this year.
"I hope I'm here if I'm not in the hospital," he told reporters during a visit to City Hall.
"Remembrance Day is a big event for me."