Former Toronto mayor's funeral draws thousands

  • 31/03/2016
Former Toronto mayor's funeral draws thousands

By Andrea Hopkins

Thousands of people have turned out for the funeral of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, whose tumultuous four years as the leader of Canada's largest city included an admission that he smoked crack cocaine and a history of erratic behaviour.

Supporters lined the streets of downtown Toronto on Wednesday to watch the funeral procession from city hall, where some 5000 people had passed Ford's casket during a two-day public visitation, to the church where he was remembered for his populist appeal.

Ford died on March 22 at age 46.

At the time of his death, he was a city councillor and undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of cancer that came back, despite surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy.

While he gained global notoriety for his drug addiction, controversial public statements and a string of videos showing him behaving badly, supporters and political adversaries alike remembered him as a man with huge appeal among ordinary voters.

Thousands of supporters walked behind the hearse carrying Ford's casket through downtown Toronto, while others lined up at dawn in the hope of getting a seat in the cathedral where the funeral was to be held.

Television screens were set up in tents outside to allow the overflow crowd could watch the service.