The city hall spectacle following Mayor Rob Ford's crack-smoking confession became an even more bizarre sideshow Wednesday, with the appearance of a 71-year-old WWE wrestler challenging the mayor to an arm wrestle, and Ford blowing kisses to media as he escorted children through the offices for Take Our Kids to Work Day.
Outside the municipal headquarters, protesters wrote chalk messages on a wall urging Ford to resign. Inside, an agitated Ford supporter wearing a red sweatshirt interrupted a councillor's media scrum to give a fiery defence of the mayor.
But the appearance of WWE hall-of-famer, The Iron Sheik, carted into the building by wheelchair, brought a truly circus-like atmosphere to city hall.
"I want to see Mr. Ford," The Sheik shouted during a media scrum, saying he had "no respect" for the mayor.
"I just want to know: Is he a real man, or no?"
Aided by an assistant, The Sheik said he would "absolutely" put Ford in his signature "Camel Clutch" chin-lock, given the opportunity.
'What kind of mayor is he?'
"The man eats the cheeseburger and smokes crack. What kind of mayor is he?" he went on.
The semi-retired wrestler, who is in town for a roast event, extended an invitation for the mayor to meet him for an arm wrestle in Ford's office.
"What kind of role model is he for the Toronto city?" he said.
The Iron Sheik was asked multiple times by city hall security to keep his voice down.
"That's my voice. You want me to change my voice. I can't change it," he replied, before being asked to leave because he was too loud.
The Iron Sheik isn't the first pro-wrestling legend to challenge the mayor to a physical feat of strength. In August, Hulk Hogan lost to Ford in an arm wrestling match.
Defence of Ford Nation
The strange day at city hall was compounded by the fact it was also Take Our Kids to Work Day. At one point, Ford walked by and blew a kiss to a throng of journalists as he took a group of youths on a tour of his offices.
Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon said Ford was setting a poor example.
"As a role model, I have some serious concerns with that. Hundreds of emails from residents, especially parents who have to explain to kids as young as six years old what crack is," she said.
The mayor, who refused on Tuesday to resign or take a leave of absence — even after admitting he used crack cocaine "probably in one of my drunken stupors" — continues to retain impassioned public support.
Speaking to media gathered outside the mayor's office, Tajinder Bains refuted the idea that Ford Nation was dead in the face of the mayor's scandals.
"Ford Nation is every single mother out there who is having a hard time paying their bills, every senior citizen who can’t afford groceries because inflation is too high. Every dad working two jobs to put his kids through a good school," he said.
"That’s who Ford Nation is and you’re saying you’re going to get rid of them? I doubt that, pal. I doubt that."