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Ford undecided about attending Canada Day celebrations

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attendeds a ribbon-cutting for the grand re-opening for Medichair in Etobicoke on June 23, 2011.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is skipping this year's Pride parade to spend the holiday weekend with family in cottage country, but Canada Day celebrations could be another matter.

A spokesman for the mayor's office says he has yet to decide if he will stay in the city on Friday to celebrate the national holiday, despite the mayor's earlier statements that he will spend the day with family.

"We received all sorts of invitations for Canada Day. There are events all across the city, so we haven't made a decision as to which events the mayor will attend," said Sunny Petrujkic, a spokesman in his office.

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Last year Mr. Ford, in the middle of a campaign to become mayor, took part in the Canada Day festivities at Stan Wadlow Park in the city's east end, along with other front-running candidates.

Don Duvall, a long-time organizer of that event, says he isn't expecting the mayor to show up on Friday. "He did attend last year, but I hear he is spending the weekend with family," he said.

Mr. Ford has said he plans to keep a long family tradition of going north on the long weekend. "As long as I can remember, since I was a little boy we always used to go up north to our cottage and I am carrying on the tradition that my father had," he said last week. "We are there every year and we are going to continue there and we are going to be up in Huntsville on Canada Day."

Canada Day fell on a Thursday last year and Mr. Petrujkic said Mr. Ford stayed in town for the east Toronto event and went to the cottage later. Something similar could happen this year, he said. "He would prefer to spend most of his time with his family, but he understands that Canada Day is an important event for people in Toronto," he said. "He can perhaps visit one of them."

This year's Pride Parade takes place on the Sunday of the long weekend. Mr. Ford's decision not to march in the annual event breaks a long-standing tradition of support from the mayor's office and has generated a huge reaction - for and against - as has his refusal to commit so far to attending any Pride Week events.

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Toronto City Hall bureau chief


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