TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford was “in a meeting”.
But several other Toronto city councillors had no problem Thursday accepting an invitation to Proud of Toronto’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia reception next week.
While City Hall typically can be a drag on the best of days, the trio of drag queens leading the group from one councillor’s office to another managed to spice things up.
Councillor Josh Matlow ran into them as they wandered the halls of municipal power.
Matlow accepted the invitation to Monday’s reception in the City Hall rotunda and then posed for some photos with the group.
A surprised Councillor Vince Crisanti also thanked them for the invite.
Councillor Gord Perks had no problem hamming it up.
“I’ve been asked so nicely, how can I say no,” he said.
Not everyone was as welcoming.
When the group tried to meet with Mayor Rob Ford, or “the big cookie” as they called him, Ford’s staff said he was in a meeting.
“Tell him Tina Turner is here,” someone whispered — one of the drag queens did look quite similar to the singer during her “simply the best” years.
A mayor’s office staffer apologized that he was unavailable and offered to book a time when the group could come back to meet Ford and pose for a photo together.
The group said they’d love to meet with him on Monday — at their event, just a few steps from his office.
Proud of Toronto’s event is aimed at educating city councillors about the importance of programs and services that serve the city’s gay community.
Volunteer Doug Kerr said the Proud of Toronto campaign is aimed at showcasing the city’s success in building organizations and creating services that help “build community, create jobs and save lives,” while the Pride festival pumps millions into the city’s economy.
“We’re from Scarborough, North York, Toronto, East York, York, we’re gay, we’re straight, we’re bisexual, we’re trans, we’re queer, and we’re very proud Toronto supports programs and services that make this city one of the most accepting and diverse in the world,” Kerr said.
Organizers estimate they’ll have hundreds on hand at City Hall on Monday.
The educational endeavour comes as the executive committee will be debating the city’s Pride parade funding later this month.
Later this year council will be looking at a strategic review of all its services and programs.
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